How to make a simple negative sentences in English
Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.
Study the following examples and see the difference:
- I like vegetables.
- I do not like vegetables.
I like vegetables is an affirmative sentence, I do not like vegetables is a negative sentence.
How to make a negative sentence in English?
There are three ways:
1 – In a sentence with the verb ‘to be‘ conjugated to the present tense, just add ‘not‘ after ‘to be‘:
- I am from Japan.
- I am not from Japan.
- You are a student.
- You are not a student.
- He is a teacher.
- He is not a teacher.
It’s possible to shorten all forms in the present tense of the verb to be (except I am): she/he/it is not becomes isn’t, and you/we/they are not becomes aren’t:
- You are not a student. = You aren’t a student.
- He is not a teacher. = He isn’t a teacher.
2 – In a sentence with an auxiliary verb:
An auxiliary verb or modal helps the main verb to make a complete sentence. It can be can, must, may, have, should, could, will and would:
- I can play the guitar.
- She will go to school.
- We have eaten a lot.
To transform these sentences to the negative form, simply add not after the auxiliary and before the verb:
- I can not play the guitar.
- She will not go to school.
- We have not eaten a lot.
It’s possible to shorten all auxiliaries and modals except may:
- I can not play the guitar. = I can’t play the guitar.
- She will not go to school. = She won’t go to school.
- We have not eaten a lot. = We haven’t eaten a lot.
3 – In the sentences with all the other verbs:
You must use ‘do not’ just after the subject when it is I, we, you, you, they or ‘does not’ just after the subject when it is he, she, or it:
- I speak Spanish.
- I do not speak Spanish.
- She wants an ice cream.
- She does not wants an ice cream.
- We live in Germany.
- We do not live in Germany.
Do not and Does not can be shortened: do not becomes don’t, and does not becomes doesn’t:
- I do not speak Spanish. = I don’t speak Spanish.
- She does not wants an ice cream. = She doesn’t wants an ice cream.
- We do not live in Germany. = We don’t live in Germany.
👉 Contractions (isn’t, aren’t, doesn’t…) are mainly used orally. They do not change the meaning of the sentence.