CHAPTER III – NEGATION
1. CLAUSE NEGATION
A positive clause → negated by adding « not » between the OPERATOR and the PREDICATION
Ex: I have finished ….. I have not finished.
If no OPERATOR in the positive clause→ “dummy do” is introduced
Ex: She works …. She doesn’t work.
Followed by positive tag question
Some | Any |
Somebody | Anybody |
Somehow | At all |
Sometimes | Never/Even |
Still | Any longer |
Too | Either |
Great deal | Much |
Ex: They aren’t ready, are they?
Followed by negative tag clauses
Ex: They aren’t ready, neither are you.
Followed by negative agreement responses
Ex: He doesn’t know Russian. No he doesn’t.
Followed by nonassertive items* ( or more)
Ex: He won’t notice any change in you. ( We haven’t had any lunch.)
Transition from its USUAL position to INITIAL position → INVERSION OF Subject-Operator
Ex: Not a word would he say.
Ex: Never will I make that mistake again.
Several words are negative in MEANING but not in form : seldom, rarely, scarcely, hardly, barely, few (INITIAL POSITION → INVERSION Subject-Operator)
Ex: They scarcely seem to care, do they?
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Ex: Scarcely ever has Britain suttered so much criticism.
* When it focuses a SUBJECT NOUN PHRASE → a nonassertive items
Ex: Only two of us had any experience
* When do not focus on the SUBJECT → inversion subject-operator
Ex: Only in Sundays do they eat with their children.
* Positive → placed as an adjunct → not inversion subject-operator
Ex: Rarely, crime pays well.
* In many cases : – Negative particle + nonassertive form → produce a negative form or replaced by a negative form
Ex: “not ever > never” or “not anywhere > nowhere”
≠ between “some” and “any” → SOME is more generally specific + implies an amount or number that may be know by the speaker and ANY is nonspecific.
Ex : I have some money on me ( a specific, though unspecified amount of money)
I don’t have any money on me ( an unspecified and nonspecific amount)
Two negatives can occur in the same clause as in Nobody has nothing to eat = Everybody has something to eat → the two negatives CANCEL each other out, producing positive values, but the sentence remains NEGATIVE.
The multiple negatives → do not cancel each other out as in No one never said nothing about it = No one ever said anything about it.
2. Negation on MODAL AUXILIARIES
AUXILIARY NEGATION vs. MAIN VERB NAGATION
Ex: You may not smoke here ( AUX NEGATION) → You are not allowed to smoke here
Ex: They may not like the party ( MV NEGATION) → It is possible that they don’t like the party
AUX NEGATION | MV NEGATION |
May not (permission) Ex: You may not go swimming ( You are not allowed to..) | May not ( possibility) Ex: They may not bother to come if it’s wet ( It is possible that they will not..) |
Can’t ( in all senses) Ex: You can’t be serious (It is not possible that…) Ex: You can’t go swimming ( You are not allowed to..) | Shall not Ex: Don’t worry. You shan’t lose your reward ( I’ll make sure that you don’t..) |
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Needn’t Ex: You needn’t pay that fine ( You are not obliged to..) Ex: It needn’t always be my fault ( It is not necessary that..) | Must not ( obligation) Ex: You must not keep us waiting ( It is essential that you don’t keep us..) |
Daren’t Ex: I daren’t quarrel with him ( I haven’t got the courage to..) | Ought not Ex: You ought not to keep us waiting ( OBLIGATION) |
Either… or → emphasizes the exclusive meaning of “or” Ex: Either the room is too small or the piano is too large. Ex: You may either stand up or sit down. | Both… and → emphasizes the additive meaning of “and” Ex: David both loves Joan and wants to marry him. Ex: Both Mary and Peter washed their dishes. | Neither…nor → emphasizes that the negation applies to both units Ex: David neither loves Joan, nor wants to marry her. Ex: Mary was neither happy nor sad. |
Either or / Both…and/ neither… nor → the 1st element is an ENDORSING and the 2nd a COORDINATOR
They cannot link complete clauses as in : Both Mary washed the dishes and Peter dried them.
* Nor and neither → followed by subject-operator inversion ( can be used without being a correlative pair) + presuppose that a previous clause is negative ( explicitly or implicitly)
Ex : He did not receive any assistance from the authorities, neither did he believe their assurance that action would soon be taken. ( EXPLICITLY)
Ex: Many people are only dimly aware of the ways in which the environment can be protected. Nor have governments made sufficient efforts to educate them. ( IMPLICITY)