How to make negative structures in English

In English, we make negative structures by putting ‘not’ after an auxiliary verb. Study the example sentences given below. You can find more English grammar lessons here.

  • I am an architect. (Affirmative statement)
  • I am not an architect. (Negative statement)
  • She is my best friend.
  • She is not my best friend.
  • He has been invited. (Affirmative)
  • He has not been invited. (Negative)
  • She has forgotten him. (Affirmative)
  • She has not forgotten him. (Negative)

If there is no auxiliary verb, we use a form of do (do, does or did).

  • She works at a restaurant. (Affirmative)
  • She does not work at a restaurant. (Negative)
  • They invited all of their friends to their party. (Affirmative)
  • They did not invite all of their friends to their party. (Negative)
  • I trust him. (Affirmative)
  • I do not trust him. (Negative)

Note that the auxiliary verbs ‘do’ and ‘does’ are used in the present tense. The auxiliary ‘did’ is used in the past tense.

Do is used with plural nouns and plural pronouns. The first person singular pronoun ‘I’ also takes do. Does is used with singular nouns and singular pronouns. 

After do, does and did, we use the infinitive without to.

I do not know the answer. (NOT I do not to know the answer.)

If there is another auxiliary verb, do is not used.

You should go. (Affirmative)

You should not go. (Negative) (NOT You do not should go.)

Exercise

Change the following affirmative sentences into negative sentences.

1. She recognized him.

2. I pity you.

3. You are a traitor.

4. She has fallen in love with him.

5. We can trust them.

6. You must make another attempt.

7. She sings well.

8. Rahul grows a variety of fruits and vegetables.

9. Meena asked a question.

Answers

1. She did not recognize him.

2. I do not pity you.

3. You are not a traitor.

4. She has not fallen in love with him.

5. We cannot trust them. (Note that ‘cannot’ is written as one word.)

6. You must not make another attempt.

7. She does not sing well.

8. Rahul does not grow a variety of fruits and vegetables.

9. Meena did not ask a question.

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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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