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(Thank you. I corrected them. Does 'something' in Sentence 1 mean 'an important thing'? More explanation, please. Thank you.)

1. Volunteer work is not something that you must do.

2. Volunteer work is not anything that you must do.

3. Volunteer work is not a thing that you must do.

4. Volunteer work is not the thing that you must do.

5. Volunteer work is not an important thing that you must do.

(What is the difference between #1 and #2? Does # 1 mean #3, 4 or 5? Thank you.)

English - Writeacher, Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 7:40pm
Rather than using "Volunteer" in each of those sentences, you need to use the gerund form: "Volunteering."

The sentences' meanings are similar. #2 has a slightly more negative tone to it.

  • English -

    Since these sentences are already in the negative (they have the word "not" in them), all these sentences mean about the same thing. There's almost no difference among them. The only one that might be different from the others is #4 -- implying that there is something you must do, but volunteer work is not it.

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