How to form negative verb forms

Negative verb forms are made by putting not after an auxiliary verb. If there are two auxiliary verbs, not goes after the first.

  • She has not been invited.
  • I have not forgotten that.
  • She has not come.
  • They are not interested.
  • She cannot sing. (Note that cannot is written as one word.)

If there is no other auxiliary verb, we make negatives by putting do not (contracted form: don’t) before the verb.

  • I do not like cricket. (NOT I like not cricket.)
  • She does not like him.
  • I did not want to go.

Note that do not is followed by the infinitive without to.

  • I did not go. (NOT I did not to go.)

Do is not used to form negative subjunctive structures.

  • It is important that she not create any problems. (NOT It is important that she does not create any problems.)

Do is not used with negative infinitives or –ing forms.

  • Remind me not to go there again. (NOT Remind me do not to go there again.)

Negative imperatives are made with do not / don’t + infinitive without to.

  • Do not make a noise. OR Don’t make a noise. (NOT Make not a noise.)
  • Don’t pluck flowers.
  • Don’t walk on the grass.

Do is not normally used with be. However, do can be used to make the negative imperative form of be.

  • Don’t be silly.

The negative forms of infinitives and –ing forms are made by putting not before them. Do is not used.

  • Remind him not to do that again.
  • The best thing about a computer is not complaining.
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