There are three types:
1. Clause negation where the whole clause is treated as negative.
2. Local negation where one constituent is negated.
3. Predication negation: only after certain auxiliaries in which the predication is negated.
Clause negation: Through verb negation. A simple positive sentence is negated by placing the clause negator NOT between the operator and the predication. The operator here is the first auxiliary verb of a complex verb phrase or either BE or stative HAVE as the verb in a simple verb phrase.
If an operator is not present in the positive sentence the dummy auxiliary DO is introduced. Negation may occur with the contracted form n’t (except in formal English, where you cannot use the contracted form). If we want to emphasize the negation we use the whole negator.
The dynamic main verb have requires DO as an operator. We didn’t have a party. If the verb is subjunctive, the negator is positioned immediately before the verb but without an operator: I requested that they not interrupt me.
Contracted forms of negator and auxiliaries: There is a negator and an auxiliary contraction:
We aren’t ready, We’re not ready.
Syntactic features of clause negation: These differentiate negative from positive clauses:
1. They are followed by positive tag questions. She doesn’t work hard, does she?
2. They are followed by negative tag clauses with additional meaning: I haven’t finished, nor have you.
3. In discourse, they are followed by negative agreement responses.
4. They are followed by nonassertive items: He won’t notice any change in you. She won’t either.
5. They do not cooccur with items that have a positive orientation. It isn’t pretty late. which is wrong.
Clause negation other than through verb negation: Words negative in form and meaning.
Clausal negation: we negate a clause element other than the verb with no or not, or by using a negative word such as none or never. There is verb negation That was not an accident. and negation of other elements: That was no accident If the negated subject is not generic there is no corresponding negation with the operator. Not one guest arrived late. Where negation with an operator is also possible, it has a different meaning because the scope of negation is different.
Many people did not come and Not many people came. In formal style the negative elements may be moved out into an initial position: Not a word would he say. This is a clausal negation. This requires the positive tag question and nonassertive. Negation with NO can have different implications than verb negation with not. He is not a teacher and He is no teacher. The determiner no converts the usually nongradable noun into a gradable noun that characterizes a person I am not a youngster and I am no youngster (I am quite old). In most of the cases the word NO modifies adjectives only when they are comparatives (no worse). There is no inversion with negative conjuncts and disjuncts.
Words negative in meaning but not in form: They are: seldom, rarely, scarcely, hardly, etc.
These can affect clause negation and require positive tag questions. The adverbs normally cause subject-operator inversion when they are positioned initially as adverbials or as modifiers within an adverbial in literary an oratorical style. Rarely does crime pay so well as many people think.
The adverbs scarcely, barely, hardly function within a noun phrase subject, effecting clause negation.
Scarcely any wine has yet arrived, has it. When ONLY focuses on a subject, noun phrase is followed by nonassertive items. Only two of us had any experience in sailing. But it may take subject operator inversion when it focuses on a fronted initial element other than the subject. Only his mother will he obey. Verbs adjectives and prepositions with negative meaning may be followed by nonassertive items (ANY ): I forgot to ask for any change. Nonassertive items also follow implied negation: Take it before he says anything. RARELY can be positive. (Rarely crime pays well).