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How to Make Negative Interrogative Sentences in English

Updated: Apr 10

As an English teacher, I often find that my students struggle with constructing negative interrogative sentences. However, once you understand the basic structure and use cases, these sentences become much easier to master. I created this lesson to break down the fundamentals of negative interrogative sentences and I provided plenty of examples to help solidify your understanding, so keep reading!


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What are Negative Interrogative Sentences?

Negative interrogative sentences, also known as negative questions, are used to ask questions that include a negation. They are formed by combining the negative word or auxiliary verb with the subject and main verb of the sentence. These sentences are particularly useful when seeking confirmation or clarification about something while expressing doubt or disbelief.


Structure of Negative Interrogative Sentences

The basic structure of a negative interrogative sentence in English is:

Negative Word/Auxiliary Verb+Subject+Main Verb+Complement/Additional Information


Let's break down each component:

  1. Negative Word/Auxiliary Verb: This can be a negative word like "not" or a negative auxiliary verb such as "don't," "doesn't," "didn't," "aren't," "isn't," "can't," etc.

  2. Subject: The person or thing performing the action of the verb.

  3. Main Verb: The action verb that describes what the subject is doing.

  4. Complement/Additional Information: Any additional information necessary to complete the question.

Examples of Negative Interrogative Sentences

Now, let's explore some examples across different tenses and scenarios:

Present Simple Tense: Example 1:

  • Negative Word: don't/doesn't

  • Example: Don't you like pizza?

  • Explanation: This question seeks confirmation about someone's preference for pizza, while implying doubt.

Example 2:

  • Negative Word: aren't

  • Example: Aren't you coming to the party?

  • Explanation: This question expresses surprise or disbelief about someone's absence from the party.

Past Simple Tense: Example 1:

  • Negative Word: didn't

  • Example: Didn't you finish your homework?

  • Explanation: This question seeks clarification about whether someone completed their homework, suggesting doubt.

Example 2:

  • Negative Word: weren't

  • Example: Weren't you at the meeting yesterday?

  • Explanation: This question expresses surprise or disbelief about someone's absence from the meeting.

Present Continuous Tense:

Example 1:

  • Negative Word: aren't

  • Example: Aren't you studying for your exam?

  • Explanation: This question implies surprise or concern about someone's lack of preparation for an exam.

Future Simple Tense:

Example 1:

  • Negative Word: won't

  • Example: Won't you be attending the conference next week?

  • Explanation: This question seeks confirmation about someone's attendance at a future event.

If this lesson was helpful, why not watch another lesson? Here's one on negative adjectives in English!


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I hope now you can understand the structure and usage of these sentences and you can express doubt, disbelief, and seek clarification with confidence. Practice constructing and using negative interrogative sentences in various contexts to enhance your language skills, and remember, practice makes perfect!



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