Love it or hate it, English grammar has its quirks. Learning the details of English grammar can be interesting, but it can also leave you with some questions, especially if you’re learning English as a second language.
One of the questions that we get asked a lot is “what are negations?” So, we’re going to explain! In this article, we’ll tell you what negations are and give you lots of examples.
What are negations in grammar?
A negation is a word, phrase, or clause that denies or contradicts that something is true, has happened, or is the case. It’s common for negations to stem from the word not or its contracted form, n’t. These are often called “negative words.”
Examples of negative words used as negations include no, none, nothing, no one, never, nobody, nowhere, haven’t, and doesn’t. Here’s how you can use them in a sentence:
I haven’t been to see that play yet.
No, you can’t come inside.
Nothing happened last night – I just went to bed.
I tried to host a party, but no one showed up.
Nobody can get through the gates.
Nowhere is open to get a coffee before 9 am on a Sunday.
Jon doesn’t like lemonade.
Prefixes and Suffixes Can Form Negations
Prefixes and suffixes can be used to create negations. Prefixes are letters that come before a root word to change its meaning (untidy, deicer). And suffixes are letters that are added to the end of a root word to change its meaning (tonsillitis, quickly).
Here are a few prefixes and suffixes that can be used to form negations:
Here are some examples:
What you’re saying is unclear.
The fabric disintegrated.
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What Sarah did was heartless.
Penny made a deconstructed ice cream sundae.
You have insufficient funds in your bank account.
The information is misleading.
Questions, Statements, and Instructions
Negations also appear in questions, statements, and instructions. They feature negative words. Here are some examples:
Don’t you like Penny’s ice cream sundae?
Why won’t Owain go to the gym on a Sunday?
Jake doesn’t understand the task.
Mark isn’t a bad guy.
Don’t stay out too late.
Do not walk the dog without a leash.
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