A negative sentence (or statement) states that something is not true or incorrect. A negative adverb has to be added in order to negate or “cancel” the validity of the sentence. This “negation” element is created according to the following general rule.
The Negation Rule: In English, in order to claim that something is not true, you form a negative sentence by adding the word not after the first auxiliary verb in the positive sentence. If there is no auxiliary verb in the positive sentence, as in the Present Simple and Past Simple tenses, then you add one (in both these cases, the auxiliary verb do).
- • When an auxiliary verb (including modals) is used, the main verb is not inflected (no s or ed ending), meaning that either the base form or past participle is used.
- • The verb to be uses a different negation pattern.
Review the following table for examples of negation in English. Some examples use the contracted forms more used in informal writing and speech, and some others use the full forms.
|Tense||Negative Element + Contracted Forms||Examples|
|Present Simple||do+not = don’t
does+not = doesn’t
|I do not play.
She doesn’t play.
|Past Simple||did+not = didn’t||I didn’t play.|
|Present Progressive||am + not (*no amn’t)
is+not = isn’t
are+not = aren't
|I am not playing.|
- He is not playing.
- We aren’t playing.
was+not = wasn’t
were+not = weren’t I wasn’t playing.
They were not playing.
Present Perfect have+not = haven’t
has+not = hasn’t You haven’t played.
She has not played.
Progressive have+not+been= haven’t been
has+not+been = hasn’t been I have not been playing.
She hasn’t been playing.
Past Perfect had+not = hadn’t You hadn’t played.
Progressive had+not+been = hadn’t been She hadn’t been playing.
Future Simple will+not = won’t I won’t play.
Future Perfect will+not+have = won’t have He will not have played.
Conditional would+not She wouldn’t play.
Conditional perfect would+not+have She wouldn’t have played.
Modals can + not = can’t or cannot (formal)
should+not = shouldn’t I can’t play.
I cannot play.
We shouldn’t play.
In informal writing settings, you can contract the auxiliary verb with either the sentence subject or the word not. In formal writing settings, refrain from contracting any words.
- She is not playing. [formal]
- She isn’t playing. = She’s not playing. [informal]
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