Negative Questions

Negative questions are of two kinds: contracted and uncontracted. They have different word order.

Contracted negative question

Word order: auxiliary verb + n't + subject

Uncontracted negative questions

Uncontracted negative questions are more formal than contracted negative questions.

Word order: auxiliary verb + subject + not

Contracted negative questions beginning with Won't you ...? Wouldn't you...? or Why don't you ...? are very common in polite requests, invitations, offers, complaints and criticisms.

In a reply to a negative question, yes suggests a positive answer, and no suggests a negative answer.

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Sections in this article

Modal Auxiliary Verbs
May and Can: differences
Should: other uses
Must: uses
Must and have to: The Difference
Ought to
Had better
Should, Ought and Must: The difference

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