Negation: Verbs & Clauses for intermediate learners
Negation is the process that turns an affirmative statement into a negative one. In this lesson, we will learn about ways of creating negative sentences.
What Is Negation for Verbs and Clauses?
Negation with 'Not'
One of the most common ways to change sentences and clauses to negative forms is to use 'not'. Take a quick look at the following examples:
I want to study English Literature. → I do
Lamia is at the office right now. → Lamia is
The contracted form of 'not' is 'n't' and it comes directly after the verb. Take a look at the following examples:
Now, let us see how we can change some common verbs to the negative form:
As you already know, 'be' is both the main verb and an auxiliary verb and is the most common verb in the English language. By adding 'not' to it, we can easily change it to the negative form. Look at the examples below:
I am in the university. → I'm
Halsey is my cousin. → Halsey is
They are eating dinner. → They are
As you can see, we can use either the negative marker or the contracted form.
Please note that the only case in which we cannot use the contracted form 'n't' is when we are using the 'be' verb with the first person. Take a look:
I am at school. → I am not at school.
The second most common verb in the English language is 'do'. Just like the previous one, 'do' can also be used as both the main verb and the auxiliary verb. Let us see how we can change it to the negative form:
I write in English. → I do
Reera wants to quit her job. → Reera does
As you can see, 'does' changes into the negative form just like 'do'.
Those lawyers enjoy what they do. → Those lawyers do
Another common verb in the English language is 'have'. Just like the previous two verbs, 'have' can also function as both the main verb and the auxiliary verb. Let us learn about negating it below:
I have gone to the theatre before. → I have
Lily has been to New York. → Lily has
Please note that we can only negate 'have' directly when it is as an auxiliary verb in perfect tenses. When the verb 'have' is used as the main verb, we can negate it using 'do/does'. Compare the following examples:
I have a glass of water. → I do
She has sung that song. → She has
We use the same 'not' to form negative questions. Study the following examples carefully:
Are you on the phone? → Are
Is she really saying all this? → Is
Do you like to play the piano? → Do
Does your father shout at you? → Doesn't your father shout at you?
It might be useful to know how to change imperative sentences into negative ones. We simply add 'not' or its contraction 'n't' to the verb at the beginning of the sentence. Check out the following examples:
Close the door. → Do
Sit here. → Do