About Negatives

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Simple Present  (be)  I am tired.  Be+not  I’m not tired.

Simple Present  no be, add do)    I speak English  do+not  I don’t speak English

Present Progressive  (be)  I am studying hard.  Be+not  I’m not studying hard

Simple past  (be)  I was at home last night  Be+not  I wasn’t at home last night

Simple past  no be, add do)  I played soccer in school.  Do+not  I didn’t play soccer in school

Simple future  (will)  I will go home after class.  Will+not  I won’t go home after class

“can”  I can ride a bicycle  Can+not  I can’t ride a bicycle


1. All negatives need an auxiliary

2. If you don’t have an auxiliary  be, will, can…) then add “do”

3. You can’t add “BE” if it isn’t already there

4. Do, can, will need a main verb after it

5. Use the base form of the main verb after do, can, will

6. Be sometimes has a verb after it, but sometimes BE has a noun, adjective or prepositional phrase, no more verbs

7. Use “ing” form of a second verb after be

Make these negative:

BE  (with no other verb)

1. I am in the house.  I’m not in the house.

2. She is happy.  She isn’t happy.

3. We are confused.  We aren’t confused.

4. They are at school.  They aren’t at school.

5. You are a nice person You aren’t a nice person

BE  (with main verb in ING form)

1. I am writing a book.  I’m not writing a book.

2. He is running fast.  He isn’t running fast.

3. They are painting the house  They aren’t painting the house.

4. You are eating a lot.  You aren’t eating a lot.     You’re not eating a lot.

5. She is studying at UC Berkeley  She isn’t studying at UC Berkeley. Property of Laney ESL Department

No auxiliary, add DO/DOES  (present of do).  Change main verb to base form after do.

1. I have a car.  I don’t have a car

2. She works at the store.  She doesn’t work at the store.

3. We learn quickly    We don’t learn quickly.

4. He tells me stories    He doesn’t tell me stories.

5. You drink tea    You don’t drink tea.

No auxiliary, PAST TIME.  Add DID  (past of do).  Change main verb to base form after do.

1. I worked yesterday.  I didn’t work yesterday.

2. She read a story  She didn’t read a story.

3. He said his name  He didn’t say his name.

4. They played tennis  They didn’t play tennis.

5. We learned simple present  We didn’t learn simple present.

Auxiliary “Can” and “Will” change to “can’t” and “won’t.”  No other changes.

1. I will see you tomorrow.  I won’t see you tomorrow.

2. She can swim.  She can’t swim.

3. We will go out tonight.  We won’t go out tonight.

4. They can write very well.  They can’t write very well.

5. He will work late  We won’t work late.

6. It can break  It can’t break.

7. She will be there.  She won’t be there.

1. Write something you don’t usually do:________I don’t color my hair.____I don’t ride a motorcycle.____________________

2. Tell me something you aren’t feeling  be + adjective):_____I’m not confident._____I’m not nervous.______________

3. Tell me something you aren’t doing now:_______I’m not eating lunch.___________________________

4. Tell me something you didn’t do last night:_____I didn’t call my mother last night.____________________________________

5. Tell me something you won’t do tomorrow:_____I won’t come to Laney.____I won’t water my roses._________

6. Tell me something you can’t do:_____________I can’t run.   I can’t knit. ___________

7. Tell me something you don’t own:____I don’t own a horse.   I don’t own an airplane.

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