Affirmative to Negative

Although there is no hard and fast rule to form a negative sentence, there is pattern in it. 

Replacing Some Words

Rule-1: Only + Person

When ‘only’ indicates a person, we use 'none but', to make the sentence negative. 

Affirmative: Only the brave deserve praise.
Negative: None but the brave deserve praise.


Affirmative: Only the graduates should apply.
Negative: None but the graduates should apply.

Exercise for Practice

Change the following sentences into negative without changing the meaning.

(a) Only Allah can help us.

(b) Only Allah can save us.

(c) Only the brave deserve praise.

(d) Only the graduates should apply.

(e) Only the brave deserve the fair.


Rule-2: Only +  Thing

When ‘only’ indicates thing, we use 'nothing but', to make the sentence negative. 

Affirmative: Only the moon was visible.
Negative: Nothing but the moon was visible.


Affirmative: The writer ate only mutton.
Negative: The writer ate nothing but mutton.


Exercise for Practice

Change the following sentences into negative without changing the meaning.

(a) Only the moon was visible.

(b) The writer ate only mutton. 


Rule-3: Only + Number

When ‘only’ indicates number, we use 'not more than', to make the sentence negative. 

Affirmative: I need only 100 taka.
Negative: I need not more than 10 taka.


Affirmative: She is only 5 years old.
Negative: She is not more than 5 years old.


Exercise for Practice

Change the following sentences into negative without changing the meaning.

(a) I have only 50 dollars. 

(b) She is only five years old.

(c) He got only 45 marks in Math. 


Rule-4: Alone

‘alone’ indicates a person in an affirmative sentence. To make it negative we use 'none but' before that person. 

Affirmative: God alone can help us.
Negative: None but God can help us.


Affirmative: The old man was alone alive.
Negative: None but the old man was alive.


Exercise for Practice

Change the following sentences into negative without changing the meaning.

(a) Laila was alone in the room.

(b) The old man was alone alive.

(c) Bahadur alone lived in the jungle.

(d) Ali was alone in the field.

(e) She lived all alone in the house. 


Rule-5: Must/Have to

If the sentence has the word ‘must / have to’ we use 'cannot but'. 

Affirmative: I must do it now.
Negative: I cannot but do it now.


Affirmative: We have to do our duty.
Negative: We cannot but do our duty.


Affirmative: He had to follow my order.
Negative: He could not but follow my order.


Exercise for Practice

Change the following sentences into negative without changing the meaning.

(a) I must do it now.

(b) We have to do our duty.

(c) The writer had to welcome the lady. 


Rule-6: Every

If the sentence has the word ‘every + noun’ we write ‘there is no’ before the noun and ‘but’ after the noun.  

Affirmative: Every mother loves her child.
Negative: There is no mother but loves her child.


Affirmative: Every man likes flowers.
Negative: There is no man but likes flowers.


Exercise for Practice

Change the following sentences into negative without changing the meaning.

(a) Every mother loves her child.

(b) Every man likes flowers.

(c) Everybody lives in society.

(d) Every rose has thorns.

(e) Every king has a crown.


Rule-7: Both-----And

‘both……and’ is replaced with ‘not only……..but also’.

Affirmative: Both you and your brothers are guilty.
Negative: Not only you but also your brothers are guilty.


Affirmative: I like both reading and writing.
Negative: I like not only reading but also writing.


Exercise for Practice

Change the following sentences into negative without changing the meaning.

(a) Both you and your brothers are guilty.

(b) I like both reading and writing.


Rule-8: As soon as

‘as soon as’ is replaced with ‘no sooner……..than’. 

Affirmative: As soon as he saw me, he acted crazy.
Negative: No sooner had he seen me than he acted crazy.


Affirmative: As soon as he reached home, it began to rain.
Negative: No sooner had he reached home than it began to rain.


Exercise for Practice

Change the following sentences into negative without changing the meaning.

(a) As soon as he saw me, he acted crazy.

(b) As soon as he reached home, it began to rain.

(c) As soon as he left home, the rain started.

(d) As soon as the thief saw the police, he ran away.


Rule-9: ‘too + adjective + to’

is replaced with ‘so + adjective + that’. 

Affirmative: The man is too weak to walk.
Negative: The man is so weak that he cannot walk.


Affirmative: He is too lazy to work hard.
Negative: He is so lazy that he cannot work hard.


Exercise for Practice

Change the following sentences into negative without changing the meaning.

(a) The man is too weak to walk.

(b) He is too lazy to work hard. 


Rule-10: Degree of Comparison

Changing the degree of comparison. 

Affirmative: Dhaka is older than Khulna.
Negative: Khulna is not as old as Dhaka.


Affirmative: Shampa is the best girl of the class.
Negative: No other girl of the class is as good as Shampa.


Exercise for Practice

Change the following sentences into negative without changing the meaning.

(a)  China is larger than Japan.

(b) Linda is the best girl in the class.


Rule-11: Conditional Sentences

For Conditional sentences beginning with if; We make both the clauses negative, or replace the ‘if ‘with ‘unless’ and make the other clause negative. 


Affirmative: If you work hard, you will prosper in life.

Negative: If you do not work hard, you will not prosper in life.

Negative: Unless you work hard, you will not prosper in life.


Exercise for Practice

Change the following sentences into negative without changing the meaning.

(a) If you work hard, you will prosper in life.

(b) If you invite me, I shall come.


Rule-12: Making the sentence ‘negative interrogative’.

Affirmative: The earth is round.

Negative: Isn’t the earth round?

Affirmative: Knowledge is power.

Negative: Isn’t knowledge power?

Affirmative: Health is wealth.

Negative: Isn’t health wealth?


Exercise for Practice

Change the following sentences into negative without changing the meaning.

(a) The earth is round.

(b)  Knowledge is power.

(c) Health is wealth.


13. Using 'Not' & Antonym

Rule-1: To make an affirmative sentence negative, we put 'not' after the auxiliary verb. If the meaning of the sentence changes, we use 'antonym' (opposite word) of one or more words. 

Affirmative: He is wise.

Negative: He is not unwise. 

Affirmative: They are active.

Negative: They are not inactive.


Exercise for Practice

Change the following sentences into negative without changing the meaning.

(a) Man is mortal.

(b) The crow is an ugly bird.

(c) I shall remember you.

(d) He speaks the truth.

(e) She is always late.


Rule-14: Present & Past Simple

If the sentence does not have any auxiliary verb or be verb, we use do not, does not, or did not. 

Affirmative: I love ice-cream.

Negative: I do not hate ice-cream. 

Affirmative: He loves ice-cream.

Negative: He does not hate ice-cream. 

Affirmative: She loved ice-cream.

Negative: She did not hate ice-cream. 

Affirmative: Stay with me, please.

Negative: Don’t leave me, please.


Exercise for Practice

Change the following sentences into negative without changing the meaning.

(a) He speaks the truth.

(b) She became displeased.