Negative replies

Negative replies have the following structure: No, subject + auxiliary verb + not

Read the following sentences.

  • Have they lodged a complaint?
  • No, they haven’t lodged a complaint?

Short answers are preferred in everyday speech.

  • No, they haven’t.

Note that the ‘not’ is usually contracted and becomes a part of the auxiliary verb.

  • Have you finished the job?
  • No, I haven’t finished the job. OR No, I haven’t.
  • Has she given her consent?
  • No, she hasn’t given her consent. OR No, she hasn’t.
  • Are they joining us?
  • No, they aren’t joining us. OR No, they aren’t.
  • Were you worried about his safety?
  • No, I wasn’t worried about his safety. OR No, I wasn’t.


The form of the auxiliary verb has to agree with the number and person of the subject. The pronouns and the auxiliary verbs used with them are given below.

I – am, was, have, had

He / she / it – is, was, has, had

We – are, were, have, had

You – are, were, have, had

They – are, were, have, had

Negative replies in the simple present and simple past tenses are made with do + not.

  • Does she live with her parents?
  • No, she doesn’t.

Do is used even when we repeat the whole sentence.

  • No, she doesn’t live with her parents.
  • Does he have a job?
  • No, he doesn’t. OR No, he doesn’t have a job.
  • Did she call the police?
  • No, she didn’t call the police. OR No, she didn’t.
  • Did they accept the invitation?
  • No, they didn’t accept the invitation. OR No, they didn’t.

Note that after do, does and did, we use the infinitive (first or base form of the verb) without to.

  • Did she come?
  • No, she didn’t come. (NOT No, she didn’t came.)