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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 IndefiniteDo=do not,  does = does not
Present ContinuousAm = am not, is = is not, are = are not,
Present PerfectHave = have not, has = has not.
Present Perfect ContinuousHas been = has not been, have been = have not been
Past IndefiniteDid = did not
Past ContinuousWas = was not, were = were not
Past PerfectHad = had not
Past Perfect ContinuousHad been = had not been
Future IndefiniteShall = shall not, will = will not
Future ContinuousShall be = shall not be, will be = will not
Future PerfectShall have = shall not have

will have = will not have

Future Perfect ContinuousShall 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:

ModalNegation
May May not
CanCan not
CouldCould not
MightMight not
MustMust Not
ShallShall not
ShouldShould not
WillWill not
WouldWould 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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