English grammar

Module 3, Verbs: Types, Tenses, and Moods, Lesson 9:

Negative Statements

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English grammar

Definition: In the last lesson you learned how to use different tenses to make affirmative statements, which tell us that something is true.

Karen swims every morning before school.
I ate ten donuts yesterday.

Definition: Negative statements tell us that something is not true.

She does not like broccoli.
He did not come to school today.

Present and Past Tense Negative Statements

In negative present and past statements, you use different forms of the helping verb to do to indicate tense instead of changing the main verb. Just add do, does, or did plus not before the base of the main verb.

Present
(do/does + not + base)
Past
(did + not + base)

My brothers do not fight much.
Elizabeth does not sleep well.

My brothers did not fight at all yesterday.
Elizabeth did not sleep well last night.

You can combine to do with not to form the contractions don't, doesn't, and didn't.

My brothers don't fight much.
Elizabeth doesn't sleep well.
My brothers didn't fight at all yesterday.
Hint:
It's easy to make mistakes when forming negative statements. A common error is to change both the helping verb to do and the main verb. Always remember that you only need to change the helping verb to indicate tense.
Error Correction
Present She doesn't drives very far for work. She doesn't drive very far for work.
Past They didn't came to the baseball game. They didn't come to the baseball game.

The Exception: Negative Present and Past Tense Statements with To Be

With the verb to be, you don't use the helping verb to do. Just use the same present and past tense forms you normally do, and add the word not.

I am not at school today.
Alyssa is not in school today.
The twins are not in school today.
Alyssa was not in school today.
The twins were not in school yesterday.

You can also use the contractions isn't, aren't, wasn't, and weren't. For the first person present, use I'm not.

Negative Statements in Tenses with Helping Verbs

In tenses with helping verbs, add the word not after the helping verb. If there are two helping verbs, place not after the first one. You can also use any of the contractions you learned earlier, plus several others you'll see in the chart below.

Present Past Future
Simple Without Contraction

My little brother will not eat fish.

With Contraction (won't)

My little brother won't eat fish.

Progressive Without Contraction

Jesse is not sleeping well.

Without Contraction

Jesse was not sleeping well last week.

Without Contraction

Jesse will not be sleeping well tonight.

With Contraction (isn't or aren't)

Jesse isn't sleeping well.

With Contraction (wasn't or weren't)

Jesse wasn't sleeping well last week.

With Contraction (won't)

Jesse won't be sleeping well tonight.

Perfect Without Contraction

They have not completed the assignment yet.

Without Contraction

They had not completed the assignment yet.

Without Contraction

They will not have completed the assignment yet.

With Contraction (hasn't or haven't)

They haven't completed the assignment yet.

With Contraction (hadn't)

They hadn't completed the assignment yet.

With Contraction (won't)

They won't have completed the assignment yet.

Hint:
Negative statements in the simple future tense don't always refer to the future. Often, they mean that someone refuses to do something. Let's revisit one of the examples above.

My little brother will not eat fish.

This statement doesn't mean that my little brother won't eat fish tomorrow, next week, or next month; it really means he refuses to eat fish anytime. Using the future tense is a stronger way to say that someone doesn't do something.

Practice What You've Learned

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Directions:
For each positive statement, click the two correct negative statements. Each question has two correct answers, so be sure to select both of them. Pay special attention to the tense of the original sentence, and make sure you select answers that use the same tense.
1.
I walked the dog yesterday.
a. I didn't walk the dog yesterday.
b. I did not walked the dog yesterday.
c. I did not walk the dog yesterday.
d. I didn't walked the dog yesterday.
2.
My friends and I go to the movies every weekend.
a. My friends and I won't go to the movies every weekend.
b. My friends and I do not go to the movies every weekend.
c. My friends and I don't go to the movies every weekend.
d. My friends and I will not go to the movies every weekend.
3.
The office has confirmed the appointment.
a. The office hasn't confirmed the appointment.
b. The office haven't confirmed the appointment.
c. The office has not confirmed the appointment.
d. The office have not confirmed the appointment.
4.
The egg cracked when it fell on the floor.
a. The egg did not cracked when it fell on the floor.
b. The egg didn't cracked when it fell on the floor.
c. The egg didn't crack when it fell on the floor.
d. The egg did not crack when it fell on the floor.
5.
We will be having a test on Wednesday.
a. We wouldn't be having a test on Wednesday.
b. We will not be having a test on Wednesday.
c. We won't be having a test on Wednesday.
d. We would not be having a test on Wednesday.
6.
This cell phone belongs to Jerry.
a. This cell phone do not belong to Jerry.
b. This cell phone doesn't belongs to Jerry.
c. This cell phone does not belong to Jerry.
d. This cell phone doesn't belong to Jerry.
7.
Lily's grandparents are visiting for the summer.
a. Lily's grandparents isn't visiting for the summer.
b. Lily's grandparents are not visiting for the summer.
c. Lily's grandparents is not visiting for the summer.
d. Lily's grandparents aren't visiting for the summer.
8.
The kids had eaten all the cupcakes already.
a. The kids had not eaten all the cupcakes yet.
b. The kids haven't eaten all the cupcakes yet.
c. The kids have not eaten all the cupcakes yet.
d. The kids hadn't eaten all the cupcakes yet.
9.
The lawyer will cross-examine the key witness today.
a. The lawyer would not cross-examine the key witness today.
b. The lawyer will not cross-examine the key witness today.
c. The lawyer wouldn't cross-examine the key witness today.
d. The lawyer won't cross-examine the key witness today.
10.
The mail carrier was bringing the mail at the same time every day.
a. The mail carrier wasn't bringing the mail at the same time every day.
b. The mail carrier was not bringing the mail at the same time every day.
c. The mail carrier isn't bringing the mail at the same time every day.
d. The mail carrier is not bringing the mail at the same time every day.
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