How To Make Negatives In English
We make negative forms by putting not after an auxiliary verb.
- I do not smoke.
- He did not come.
- They are not expected to come.
- They have not been invited.
- She has not come.
- I cannot go.
1. Do is used if there is no other auxiliary verb. After do, we use the infinitive without to.
- Money brings you happiness. (assertive)
- Money does not bring you happiness. (negative)
- She came. (assertive)
- She did not come. (negative)
2. When be (is, am, are, was, were) is the main verb, we make negative forms by putting not after be.
- She is not ready.
- You are not late.
- I was not surprised.
3. When have is the main verb, we make negative forms by putting do not before have.
- They have a car. (assertive)
- They do not have a car. (negative)
- He has a good job. (assertive)
- He does not have a good job. (negative)
4. We use not before infinitives and -ing forms. Do is not used.
- It is important not to be late.
- The best thing about a computer is not complaining.
5. Besides not, there are also other words that can make a clause negative.
- He is not at home.
- He is never at home.
- He is seldom/rarely/hardly ever at home.
Contracted and uncontracted negative questions have different word order.
- Can’t we wait? (auxiliary verb + n’t + subject – contracted)
- Won’t she come? (auxiliary verb + n’t + subject – contracted)
- Can we not wait? (auxiliary verb + subject + not – uncontracted)
- Will she not come? (auxiliary verb + subject + not – uncontracted)
Contracted negative questions are less formal than uncontracted negative questions.