Negative Statements

May 21, 2021

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.
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 dodoes, 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’tdoesn’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.

ErrorCorrection
PresentShe doesn’t drives very far for work.She doesn’t drive very far for work.
PastThey 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.

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’taren’twasn’t, and weren’t. For the first person present, use I’m not.


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