Negative questions are of two kinds: contracted and uncontracted. They have different word order.
Contracted negative question
Word order: auxiliary verb + n't + subject
- Why don't you listen to me?
- Don't you understand?
- Hasn't she any friends to help her?
- Aren't they ready?
Uncontracted negative questions
Uncontracted negative questions are more formal than contracted negative questions.
Word order: auxiliary verb + subject + not
- Why do you not listen to me?
- Do you not understand?
- Has she not any friends to help her?
- Are they not ready?
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.
- Wouldn't you like a cup of coffee?
- Why don't you come and stay with us?
In a reply to a negative question, yes suggests a positive answer, and no suggests a negative answer.
- 'Haven't you written to her?' 'Yes.' (= I have written to her.)
- 'Haven't you told her about us?' 'No.' (= I haven't told her about you.)
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Sections in this article
Modal Auxiliary Verbs
May and Can: differences
Should: other uses
Must and have to: The Difference
Should, Ought and Must: The difference