Negative structures

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We make negative forms by putting not after an auxiliary verb.

Basic rules

1. Do is used if there is no other auxiliary verb. After do, we use the infinitive without to.

2. When be (is, am, are, was, were) is the main verb, we make negative forms by putting not after be.

3. When have is the main verb, we make negative forms by putting do not before have.

4. We use not before infinitives and -ing forms. Do is not used.

5. Besides not, there are also other words that can make a clause negative.

Compare:

Negative questions

Contracted and uncontracted negative questions have different word order.

Compare:

Contracted negative questions are less formal than uncontracted negative questions.

Sections in this article

Modal Auxiliary Verbs
Can
May and Can: differences
Could
May
Might
Will
Would
Shall
Should
Should: other uses
Must
Must: uses
Must and have to: The Difference
Ought to
Need
Had better
Should, Ought and Must: The difference