Structures: negative phrases

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Overview

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We usually make verbs negative by using the verb to be or an auxiliary (e.g. do, should) + not + verb. In informal contexts, we contract the phrase (e.g. do not = don't):

  • I do not/don't like carrots.
  • They have not/haven't arrived yet.
  • We will not/won't be there.
  • You really should not/shouldn't do that.

Here are some of the words commonly used before not to form negative phrases: can, do, be, will, would, should, have.