There are a number of negative forms in English. The most common negative structure is the conjugation of the verb in the negative.

1. Verbs can be used in the negative by placing 'not' directly after the auxiliary verb, as: auxiliary verb + not + main verb


a) I am not sleeping.
b) Susan does not play tennis.
c) He did not admit that he was wrong.
d) They were not interested in politics.
e) We have not finished our project.
f) She has not written to us yet.

Basic Rules:

1) 'Do' is normally used if there is no other auxiliary verb.


a) Money does not bring you happiness.
b) My father did not want her to become a doctor.
c) They do not know the answer.

After 'do', we use the infinitive without 'to'.


a) We do not enter that part of the building.(Not We do not to enter.....)
b) They did not inspect the luggage well.
C) Susie does not speak French.

'Do' is not used with another auxiliary verb:

a) You must not think that way. (Not You don't must think that way.)
b) She can't take the exam today. (Not She doesn't can take ....)

'Do' is not normally used with 'be'( even when 'be' is not an auxiliary verb):

a) The pottery projects are not displayed yet.
(Not The pottery projects don't be displayed yet.)
b) Our spelling contestant is not prepared.

2. When 'be' is the main verb, we make the negative forms by putting 'not'
AFTER 'be', as in the following structure: s + main verb 'be' + 'not'


a) We were not at home when she came.
b) You are not late. We just came in for the meeting.
c) She was not here today.
d) He is not strong enough to do that task.
e) I am not a good painter.

3. When 'have' is the main verb, we make the negative forms by putting
'do not'/ 'don't' BEFORE 'have', as in the structure: s + don't + 'have'


a) They don't have enough books.
b) Tommy doesn't have a nutritional diet.
c) We did not have supper last night.
d) I don't have enough money to buy that.
e) You don't have to go along now.

4. imperatives:

Imperatives are made with 'do not'/ 'don't' + infinitive. No subject is
required for the use of the imperative form.


a) Don't waste your time watching television.
b) Don't be too inquisitive. Sometimes it puts you at risk.
c) Do not expect quick results when you start learning a new language.

5. infinitives and -ing forms:

We put 'not' before infinitives and -ing forms to form the negative forms;
'Do' is not used.


a) It's very important not to be late for school.
b) It's advisable not to go there today.
c) It's wise of you not to buy that house.

A negative sentence in the present continuous tense has the
following structure: s + is/am/are/was/were + not + -ing form


a) She is not swimming enough to win.
b) Mary wasn't sulking.
c) The ants aren't biting me.
d) They weren't eating their cake.
e) Mom isn't doing the laundry today.

NOTE: In informal speech and writing, the contracted forms 'isn't' and 'aren't'
are more common than the uncontracted forms ' is not' and 'are not'.

Negative sentences in the present perfect tense have the ff. structure:

s + has/have + not + past participle form of the verb


a) Tom has not finished his homework.
b) I have not seen her before.
c) Peter hasn't done anything this week.
d) The children haven't eaten their breakfast.
e) He hasn't given her any payment yet.

6. other parts of a clause:

We can put 'not' with other parts of a clause, not only a verb.


a) It's moving, but not fast enough.
b) Tell that to the children, not to me.
c) Come tomorrow, but not before ten.

We do not usually begin a sentence with 'not' + subject; instead, we use a structure with it.


a) We weren't the infiltrators, but the robots.
b) That isn't the pail I wanted, it's the flower pot .

7. other negative words: never, rarely, seldom, etc....

Other words besides 'not' cam also make negative a clause:


a) She isn't at home. She's seldom at home.
b) Timmy doesn't complain. Timmy never complains.
c) We don't eat durian. We hardly ever eat durian.

However, 'do' can be used for emphasis or contrast.

Example: a) We never did maltreat our children.
b) They do get disciplined at times.

8. question tags:

They're not really questions, but are a way of asking the other person to make a comment or confirmation of a statement or opinion.
In a negative question tag, 'yes' suggests a positive answer; 'no' suggests a negative answer.


a) It's beautiful, isn't it?
b) You can do it, can't you?
c) This is not the book you're looking for, is it?
d) We're going to get over this crisis, aren't we?
e) You're coming with us, aren't you?
f) You don't take your pills in the morning, do you?
g) She never shouted at you, did she?

9. non-affirmative words: any, anybody

We don't usually use 'some', 'somebody', etc, in negative sentences. Instead, the non-affirmative words 'any', 'anybody', etc.:

a)I have not some ideas. I don't have any ideas.
b)Do you not have some ideas? Don't you have any ideas?
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