Negative sentences in English

How to constructing a negative sentence in English?

The rules for constructing negative sentences were partially considered in the article “Interrogative sentences in English“, where the negative participle not was considered. Let’s recall the writing of auxiliary words and the particle not:

do notdon’t
does notdoesn’t
will notwon’t
shall notshan’t
have nothaven’t
has nothasn’t
is notisn’t
are notaren’t
am notain’t
was notwasn’t
were notweren’t
can not/cannotcan’t

Here, attention is drawn to some features of their formation, which have not been considered before. After a negative sentence to confirm the expressed opinion of the interlocutor in English, neither is used:

  • I haven’t eaten. Neither have I

The structure of such a short negative sentence: neither + auxiliary or modal verb + subject.

  • David can’t drive, and neither can Melanie
  • This phone doesn’t work. Neither does that one

Instead of neither, you can use nor:

  • Emma isn’t here tonight. Neither/Nor is Matthew

In a negative sentence, the conjunctions neither … nor combine any homogeneous members, but the predicate will never be in the negative form:

  • Neither my friends, nor I liked the concert

To express an objection, you can use sentences like I hope not:

  • Is it raining? — I hope not

It should be noted that there are no auxiliary verbs in this negative sentence. Such sentences are formed with the verbs be afraid, guess, hope, believe, suppose.

  • Have we won a prize? — I’m afraid not

A sentence with the word either is used to agree with the previous negative sentence. Sentences with either can only contain an auxiliary verb with the particle not:

  • I can’t remember his name — I can’t either

They can also contain an auxiliary verb with the particle not and a main verb:

  • I don’t like pepper — I don’t like it either

The word either always comes at the end of a sentence. The word order in such a sentence is direct.

Simple Present Tense – 03 – Negative Sentences – English Grammar Lessons

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