Common Mistakes | Negative Sentences

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What is this episode about?

Learn to spot and fix the common mistakes people make when they use negative sentences in this new Common Mistakes episode from English Plus Podcast.

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Show Notes

Disclaimer

I am using an automatic transcript service as it is not possible for me to do it on my own and I cannot afford human transcription at the moment. The service claims to have about 95% accuracy, which means there will still be some mistakes, so my apologies for having a less than perfect transcript, but I hope I can afford human transcription soon and I will solve this problem. However, the service is pretty good, and the transcript is almost perfect.

Transcript

Welcome to a new episode from English plus podcast. Today’s episode is about common mistakes and we will discuss negative sentences. And we have a lot of common mistakes. We make a lot of common mistakes using negative sentences, because to be honest, sometimes it can be a little bit confusing. I hope by the end of this episode, all this confusion will disappear and you will know.

[00:00:24] How to pinpoint the mistakes and how to avoid them. So without further ado, let’s start with our first example and we will start of course, with our common mistake. And then we will talk about why it is a mistake and how we can correct the mistake. So let’s start with our first two examples. Sometimes our teacher not allow us to use a dictionary, or she told me that she not liked her job and wanted to change it.

[00:00:52] Well, obviously there is a mistake in these two sentences. What is the mistake now? When there is no auxiliary verb, like have can, or must we form a negative with due plus not of course. Do we’re talking about do or does in the present and did in the past? So for example, we say she wants to come with us or she doesn’t.

[00:01:14] Want to come with us, if it is a negative, if we say she liked the film, if we want to use that in negative, we say she didn’t, or she did not, obviously like the film tense is shown by do. And the main verb is bare infinitive. So tens is shown by do that means we use the present. If it is. Present simple.

[00:01:33] Obviously we say does or do does not, or do not. And if it is in the past, we say did not. So coming back to these two sentences that I started with, we cannot say sometimes our teacher not allow us to use a dictionary. We should say sometimes our teacher does not allow us to use a dictionary. And instead of saying, she told me that she not liked.

[00:01:56] Her job, we should say. She told me that she did not like her job and wanted to change it. Well, maybe that first mistake is obvious. And a lot of you might say, yeah, that’s very easy and it’s good for you. If you know that this is a common mistake and you’re already okay with it. Don’t worry. We still have some mistakes to come that are a little bit more confusing.

[00:02:18] And you might want to know about these. So let’s jump to our very next example, David doesn’t like small cars, or I don’t understand why you didn’t receive the parcel. So here it’s kind of the same thing, but we’re going to focus on the main verb instead. So here after don’t didn’t does not. The main verb is always a bare infinitive.

[00:02:42] We don’t add anything to it because remember the tense is shown by do itself. We say, do does or did, but the main verb is always bare infinitive. So obviously we cannot say David doesn’t likes, we already use this S this additional S for the present simple with does. So we don’t use it in the main verb anymore.

[00:03:03] We use a bare infinitive. We say, David, doesn’t like. Small cars without an S four, like, or the second example. I don’t understand why you didn’t received. Now here, we already used the past simple form with didn’t did so we don’t need to use it, or actually we mustn’t use it with the main verb with the main verb.

[00:03:27] We should always use a bare infinitive. So we should say, I don’t understand why you didn’t receive the parcel now for the next example. My mother does never eat meat. Well, this might be a little bit more confusing, especially when it comes to using never with negative or with negative. Meaning what is the problem here?

[00:03:49] My mother does never eat meat. So here the auxiliary verb do is used before not, but not before. Never. Or rarely or seldom, for example, now we say, for example, she doesn’t answer my letters, but if we want to use never rarely or seldom we don’t use does anymore, or doesn’t obviously we say she never answers my letters or she rarely answers my letters or she seldom answers my letters.

[00:04:17] Yes. The meaning is negative, but that’s about it. The negative, meaning is already carried by those adverbs. Never rarely sell them. So there is no need to use an auxiliary verb. So instead of saying, my mother does never, or even worse does not never eat meat. We should simply say my mother never eats meat.

[00:04:38] And that has the same meaning, or that has the negative meaning without using does not. Now for two more examples. Turning on the radio. I was surprised to not hear the faintest sound or I prefer to not watch violent films. Now, what is the problem? Here? There is a negative and the negative we’re using is with the two infinitive form.

[00:05:01] When we want to use negative in the two infinitive form with the two infinitive form we put not and never in front of the two of a two infinitive, not afterward. So what does that mean? Instead of saying, turning on the radio? I was surprised to not hear, I should say not to hear. And instead of saying, I prefer to not watch violent films, we should say I prefer not.

[00:05:27] To watch violent films. Okay. So now let’s move on and talk about the next two. Examples. I think I can’t afford a holiday this year, or I suppose you don’t know her address. What’s wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong, right? I think I can’t afford. Yeah, fine. I’m talking about something that I think I can’t afford.

[00:05:49] What’s wrong with that. Now the problem is with verbs of thinking and feeling like things, suppose, feel these are often followed by that clause, right. Instead of making the verb in the, that clause negative, we normally make things suppose, et cetera, negative. So just the opposite. Now, two common exceptions to this rule, our hope and wish now for hope and wish we can do that.

[00:06:14] We can say, I hope she doesn’t recognize me, or I wish you wouldn’t do that with hope and wish. It’s fine. So there’s nothing wrong with it that you use the negative with the verb into that clause, but with the others, We usually use the negative with the verbs themselves, with those verbs of thinking and feeling.

[00:06:33] So, instead of saying, I think I can’t afford a holiday this year. We say, I don’t think I can afford a holiday this year, or instead of saying, I suppose you don’t know her address. We say, I don’t suppose, you know, her address. Okay. So here we use the negative with those verbs of thinking and feeling and not with the verse that come into that clause.

[00:06:59] So we still have more common mistakes to talk about in this episode, but. Let me stop here and remind you that you can find a lot of extra material that you can use to practice the things you’re learning in our episodes and take your English to the next level. You will find the link in the description that will take you to our website English plus podcast.com.

[00:07:20] Take the link and take your English with it. To the next level we add interactive activities, PDF, downloadable worksheets that you can practice. And of course, check your answers. Using the answer key we provide, and you can find show notes, the transcripts, anything really that we can add to enhance. Your learning experience.

[00:07:40] We put it there in a custom post for every single episode. Now, of course, you’re not going to find all these activities in one episode, or sometimes you do. Sometimes it depends on the episode itself. Sometimes we add all these activities in one episode, and sometimes we add one or two, it depends on the content.

[00:07:58] But the guaranteed thing is that you will always find something that will take your English or will help you learn the things we are talking about in our episode. So take the link and go to our website and take your English with it to the next level. And one more thing, if you like the content we’re creating any would like to support us on Patreon, there is another link that will take you to our Patreon page.

[00:08:20] You can go there. Become our patron support us and help us create more of the content you like and reach more people and actually help more people learn English online with the quality content we’re creating. And now let’s go back to the common mistakes we make when we talk about negative, negative sentences.

[00:08:37] So here we have a couple of examples, and then after those examples, we will talk about another common mistake. Now, the first example is everybody couldn’t understand what he was saying. All of these trees didn’t have any leaves. Both of the children didn’t want to go to school. Almost all of the classrooms are not conditioned.

[00:09:01] Oh, what’s the problem with that. Everybody couldn’t understand what he was saying. That means everybody right. What’s wrong with using everybody with couldn’t? Well, some positive words have negative equivalence and when those positive words have negative equivalents, we should use those. So, for example, the positive word all has a negative equivalent as none, almost all.

[00:09:25] Almost everybody has a negative equivalent, hardly any, or hardly anyone. Both. That’s a positive word. We have the negative equivalent and that is neither everybody. The negative is nobody. Everything. The negative is nothing. So instead of using a positive word, like everybody with a negative verb, like couldn’t, we normally use the negative word.

[00:09:50] Like nobody. With a positive verb, like could, and that is the same meaning. So here, yes. You might argue that. Okay. I understand everybody couldn’t understand what he was saying. So the bottom line is that nobody understood. Yeah, that’s right. Nobody could understand what he was saying. That’s the bottom line, but the problem is that this is the way to go.

[00:10:12] This is how we say it in English. We don’t usually start with a positive word and use the negative verb. No. If there is a negative equivalent of this word, we use the negative word and a positive verb. And the meaning obviously is negative. So instead of saying, everybody couldn’t understand what he was saying, we should say, nobody could understand what he was saying.

[00:10:35] The same meaning obviously, but the first one is not right. The second one nobody could understand is right. So now let’s go back to the other examples. All of the trees didn’t have any leaves and we know that instead of all, we can say none. So none of the trees had any leaves. Both of the children didn’t want to go to school instead of both, we can use neither.

[00:10:56] Right? Neither is the negative word. Neither of the children wanted to go to school. And the last example in this point, almost all of the classrooms are not air conditioned. And here, instead of using the positive word, almost all we can say hardly any, right? So we should say hardly any of the classrooms are air conditioned.

[00:11:16] That’s the correct way to go. So let’s move on and talk about other examples. Nobody in the office could not give me the information or none of her children never visit her. Now what’s the problem with that? Nobody and none are negative words, but you might’ve guessed. We use negative verbs with them. Now only one part of a clause can be negative when the subject is negative.

[00:11:40] For example, like nobody, nothing, and none. The verb is positive. The meaning of the whole sentence is negative. Yes, but we don’t use negative in two parts of the sentence. We don’t do that. So we don’t say nobody in the office could not give me the information. We should say, nobody in the office could give me the information and that is negative, but we don’t use negative in both parts.

[00:12:01] Only one part has a negative meaning and that’s enough. People will understand that you’re talking about a negative sentence. And in the second example, none of her children never visit her now. None and never. Why do we do that? There’s no need. Only one is enough. None of her children ever visit her. Not never ever.

[00:12:21] Okay. So now let’s move on and talk about two more examples sitting at the back. I couldn’t hear nothing at all. Then he went into the bank trying not to be seen by nobody. Well here. What is the problem? I couldn’t hear nothing at all. Trying not to be seen by anybody. Only one part of a clause can be negative after a negative subject or negative verb.

[00:12:46] We use any anybody or anything kind of the same thing, like we just said, but it’s a little bit different. So here, instead of saying, sitting at the back, I couldn’t hear nothing. We should say I couldn’t hear anything. And instead of saying, trying not to be seen by nobody, we should say trying not to be seen by anybody.

[00:13:07] And now let’s move on and talk about two more examples. The bag was so heavy that I couldn’t hardly lift it. I won’t never forget how kind you have been. That is almost kind of the same, but because you know, people tend to make this mistake. I am talking about it over and over. Right. So don’t get bored.

[00:13:26] Just get it right. Only one negative adverb may be used with a verb. Negative adverbs include not never, barely, hardly, rarely scarcely and seldom. So only one negative advert. So we don’t say the bag was so heavy that I couldn’t hardly lift it. Couldn’t and hardly doesn’t work. We should say the bag was so heavy that I could hardly lift it.

[00:13:51] I could hardly lift it. Not, I couldn’t hardly lift it. It doesn’t work this way. And in the second example, instead of saying, I won’t never forget, I won’t never forget how kind you have been. We should say I won’t. Ever forget how kind you have been, or you can say, I will never forget how kind you have been, but not never end, not it doesn’t work this way.

[00:14:16] So only use one negative adverb, not two. And now for our last two examples for this episode, hardly I had sat down when the doorbell rang. Not only computers are faster today, but they are also cheaper. So here what’s the problem. Obviously everything is okay. Actually, we don’t have any of the problems we’ve been talking about.

[00:14:37] So what’s the problem here. Now that is a special condition and special case. When a sentence begins with a negative meaning like hardly or not only the subject and verb change places, they invert, they change places. We start with a verb. We don’t say hardly. I had sat down. We say hardly had I sat down.

[00:15:02] When the doorbell rang. I know it sounds kind of a little bit strange, but that’s the way to go. And we will not dig in deep and talk about this kind of inversion and the many different kinds of inversion in English, but for now, because we’re talking about negative sentences, let’s just talk about when a sentence begins, begins with a negative meaning like hardly or not only in our examples, the subject and verb change places.

[00:15:25] So let me just repeat that. Hardly I had sat down is wrong. We should say it hardly had. I sat down when the doorbell rang. And the second example, instead of saying not only computers are faster, we should say not only are computers faster today, but they are also cheaper. And here. It is not a question don’t make the mistake.

[00:15:49] And don’t even think that this is a question it’s not, that’s just in version because we start with not only, if you are in doubt, don’t use them at the beginning of sentences and you will be fine. Not that, and not any adverbial for this matter, but that is the topic for another episode. And we will definitely talk about it down the line.

[00:16:07] That’ll be all for today. Thank you very much for listening to all those common mistakes. And I hope by now you can pinpoint the problems that might happen to your English when you want to use negative sentences and more importantly, you know how to fix those problems and in the future you avoid them.

[00:16:25] And then the correct way of using English becomes natural and you use it all the time in a correct way. With that being said, let me thank you very much for listening to another episode from English plus podcast. This is your host, Danny. I will see you next time.

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