Negation in English Grammar

Negation is simply an opposition to the affirmation of a sentence, it refutes a sentence. Or we can say the falsity of a true sentence is known as negation.

Example:

  • I will complete my work on time.
  • Negation: I cannot complete my work on time.

Rules of Negation:

We can apply negation to a sentence by changing its auxiliary verb.

Negation in Tenses:

Present Indefinite Do=do not,  does = does not
Present Continuous Am = am not, is = is not, are = are not,
Present Perfect Have = have not, has = has not.
Present Perfect Continuous Has been = has not been, have been = have not been
Past Indefinite Did = did not
Past Continuous Was = was not, were = were not
Past Perfect Had = had not
Past Perfect Continuous Had been = had not been
Future Indefinite Shall = shall not, will = will not
Future Continuous Shall be = shall not be, will be = will not
Future Perfect Shall have = shall not have

will have = will not have

Future Perfect Continuous Shall have been = shall not have been,

will have been = will not have been

 

Examples:

Erica writes blogposts

Negation: Erica does not write blog posts.

 

My aunt would visit this week.

Negation: My aunt would not visit this week.

 

Negation in Modal and auxiliaries:

Modal Negation
May             May not
Can Can not
Could Could not
Might Might not
Must Must Not
Shall Shall not
Should Should not
Will Will not
Would Would not

 

Negation in words:

Usage of words such as ever, anybody, somebody, etc. along with the auxiliary verbs will also create a negation.

Example:

  • They thought anybody would never figure out the secret.

 

Uses of Double Negation:

At times, there are also words used along with negations that form double negations. These negations are considered grammatically incorrect and only used in informal communication.

There are two uses of double negation:

Using negative words:

Negative words like, never, nobody, nothing, etc.

Example:

He could not believe that nobody in his house knew it was his birthday.

 

Using Prefix:

Prefixes such as ir, il, im, un, etc.

Example:

It is not impossible to go to the moon anymore.

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