It's no secret that every language has its own characteristics. A Russian-speaking person forms negation using the particle “not”. But negation is expressed in other ways in English.
Of course, many people who study this foreign language are interested in additional information. What grammar rules should be followed? What does the word neither (translation) mean, and when is a similar form used? How to build imperative and interrogative sentences? The answers to these questions will be interesting.
The difference between Russian and English
Certainly, there is a huge difference between the two languages. This also applies to the formation of the negative form of a sentence. Here are a few key differences.
- In Russian, one negative particle "not" is used. At the same time, in English, the negation particle not, as a rule, is supplemented by various auxiliary verbs. To build a negative form, the corresponding pronouns, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, etc. are used.
- For a Russian-speaking person is norm althe use of a large number of negatives in the same sentence (the more there are, the brighter the negative coloring of the sentence). In English, double negation is not used (only occasionally in colloquial speech or some dialects).
- If in Russian different members of a sentence can take a negative form, then in English this form is possible only for a predicate. For example, She does not visit her grandmother every week (She does not visit her grandmother every week).
Of course, English learners experience difficulties at first. However, for normal communication, it is enough to learn only some basic patterns.
Negation in English is formed with the particle not and the auxiliary verb to do. When constructing such a sentence, it is worth remembering that the auxiliary verb is placed at the beginning of the sentence, and immediately after it follows the particle not. By the way, they are often combined into an abbreviated form: don’t, doesn’t (for the third person, singular).
- I don't/do not eat meat. - I don't eat meat.
- They don't/do not go out on Sundays. - They don't go out on Sundays.
- She does not/ doesn't know the answer. - She doesn't know the answer.
- He doesn't/ does not go to school. - He doesn't go to school.
- You don't/do not like to read. - You don't like reading.
Negative past tense in English
As you know, verbs sound differently in the past tense. The negation in this case is formed by the particle not and the same verb to do, but already in the past tense - it sounds like did not or didn’t.
- I didn't/did not hear it. - I didn't hear that.
- They didn't/did not plan to buy a car. - They didn't plan to buy a car.
- He didn't/did not watch this movie. - He didn't watch this movie.
- We didn't/ did not go to that shop. - They didn't go to this store.
Negation in English in the future tense is formed using the modal verb will and particle not (these parts are also placed at the beginning of the sentence). An abbreviated form often used is won't.
- I won't/will not listen to it. - I won't listen to this.
- They won't/will not go to the store. - They won't go to the store.
- He won't/will not travel around India. - He will not be traveling in India.
- You won't/will not watch this movie. - You will not watch this movie.
Features of constructing sentences with the verb to be
The rules for constructing negation in English change if the main verb of the sentence is to be. In this case, the auxiliary verb to do is not used, only the particle not is used. This rule is valid for both present and past tenses, as well as for Continuous tenses.
- I am not a singer. - I do notsinger/singer.
- She is not dangerous. - She's not dangerous.
- I was not happy. - I wasn't/was happy.
- He wasn't reading that. - He didn't read it.
If we are talking about the future tense, then the particle not is placed after the modal verb will, and not after the corresponding form to be.
I will not/won't be a student. - I won't be a student
As you know, perfect tenses are formed due to the inclusion of the auxiliary verb to have (or had, when it comes to the past tense) in the sentence. Negation in English in this case is formed by adding the particle not or merging it with the verb have, for example, haven't, hadn't, hasn't.
- He hasn't read that yet. - He hasn't read it yet.
- I haven't watched that movie. - I haven't seen this movie.
- She hasn't called him. - She didn't call him.
- We hadn't eaten when he came. - We hadn't eaten yet when he came.
Note that this rule only applies if have is an auxiliary verb.
- I haven't listen to it yet. - I haven't heard it yet.
- I don't have a computer. - I don't have a computer.
Is double negation allowed?
We are used to the fact that in one sentence there can be several negative particles. But in English, double negation is not used, in a sentence there can be no more than one element with a negativevalue.
Nobody will tell anyone anything. - No one will tell anyone anything
In this sentence, you can see that one word nobody with a negative meaning is enough for the sentence to become negative.
It should be said that sometimes the double negative is still used.
We don't want to go nowhere. - We don't want to go anywhere
Nevertheless, such a construction is possible only in informal speech. Only the sentence We don’t want to go anywhere is correct.
In order to build a correct negative sentence, the second (and all subsequent) negative words are replaced with positive ones:
- nowhere - anywhere;
- nothing - anything;
- nobody - anybody.
Interrogative and imperative sentences
If you need to ask a question, then for negation it is worth using the particle not (more often in the abbreviated form –n’t), as well as the auxiliary verb to do, which is placed at the beginning of the sentence.
Don't you have a pencil? - Don't you have a pencil?
The imperative mood is formed using the same particle and auxiliary verb.
- Don't make noise! - Don't make noise!
- Don't touch it! - Don't touch it!
Negative with particle no
The negative form in English can be formed using the pronoun no.
He wants no more candies. - He doesn't want more candy
Worth itnote that most often this pronoun is used in constructions with to have and there is/are.
- She has no money. - She has no money.
- There are no kids around. - There are no children around.
Other ways to form the negative form
There are other ways to form sentences like this. For example, the negative adverb never is often used, as well as nowhere.
She will never do that. - She will never do that
Negative pronouns are often used, in particular, nothing and nobody.
- Nobody can give an answer. - No one can answer.
- I have nothing to lose. - I have nothing to lose.
Interesting and widely used is the compound union nor/neither (the translation sounds like “neither…neither”)
Neither she nor her husband answered the question. - Neither she nor her husband answered the question
Negation can also be expressed using the preposition without.
He entered the house without saying hello. - He entered the house without saying hello
Special prefixes are also used quite often, in and un in particular.
- He was incapable of doing this work. - He was unable to do the job.
- I am unable to deal with that situation. - I am unable to handle that situation.
Some and already are not negated
It's worth knowing that words like some and any are not used to create negative sentences. In this case, it is better to replace them with others:
- some -any;
- already - yet;
- something - anything;
- someone - anyone;
- somebody - anybody.
This rule can be better understood by examples
- I see some apples on the ground. - I see some apples on the floor.
- I don't see any apples on the table. - I don't see any apples on the table.
- I bought something special for you. - I bought/bought something special for you.
- I didn't buy anything special. - I didn't buy/bought anything special.
- We have already chosen a gift on your birthday. - We have already chosen a present for your birthday.
- We haven't choosen a girt for you yet. - We haven't chosen a gift yet.
English is very diverse. There are a huge number of ways to make a negative sentence, and not all of them are listed above. But this knowledge will be quite enough for you to communicate freely with native speakers.