What are Negative Contractions? | Learning Concepts
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Concept : Negative Words


Contractions are used informally or formally to shorten a written or a spoken form of a word.


Negative contractions

Contractions written which have a negative meaning to verbs are called as negative contractions. We can use ‘nt’ contractions with ‘to be’ verbs. They are created using auxiliary verbs like be, have, do, would, can, should, etc.


Sentences with Negative contractions

  1. Negative contractions include the word ‘not’ that makes a verb negative. In sentences, contractions appear right after the subject. For instance, aren't, isn't, wasn't, weren't, can't, couldn't, mustn't, shouldn't, won't, wouldn't, didn't, doesn't, don't, hasn't, haven't, hadn't.
  2. Examples :

    1. She doesn’t like chocolates.
    2. These aren't almonds.
    3. She won't be attending the awards this year.

  3. Statements do end with negative contractions.
  4. Example:

    Question: Have you been to the new restaurant yet?

    Answer: No, I haven’t


  1. Contractions are joining two words together using an apostrophe. The apostrophe replaces the letter ‘o’ in the word ‘not.
  2. Examples :

    Long-form Contracted form
    are not aren't
    would not wouldn't
    has not hasn't

  3. While using negative contractions, there is no space used in between the verb and the n’t.
  4. The word ‘not’ can be written as n’t when used with auxiliaries - can and have. Notice the spelling of the word.
  5. Examples :

    1. I can’t believe you haven’t watched that movie. (cannot, have not)
    2. I don’t have money? (do not)
    3. I won’t tell anyone. (will not)
    4. You shouldn’t eat junk food. (should not)

  6. Contractions with the verb + negation are done in two ways.
  7. Examples :

    1. They’re not coming home today. (The contraction is they + are)
    2. They aren’t coming home today. (The contraction is are + not)

  8. For some contractions the spelling of the word changes once the negative word (n’t) is added. This change is observed in contractions like ‘shan’t’ and ‘won’t’. Will and shall combine with not to form won’t and shan’t.
  9. Examples :

    1. I shan’t make that mistake again.
    2. I won’t stay up late at night.

    Common Mistakes:

    1. Apply only one negative contraction in a sentence. It is grammatically improper to use more than one contraction in a sentence that is not a question.
    2. Example:

      She’s not completing her homework.

      She’s n’t completing her homework.

    3. Do not use ‘ain’t’ as a contraction in spoken or written English. The contraction ‘ain’t’ is informally used as a replacement for contractions like aren’t, isn’t, and can’t. This usage of the word ‘ain’t’ is not correct. Refrain from using it instead, use the correct contraction whenever necessary.


    1. Not all negative constructions are contracted with the form -n't.
    2. Examples :

      1. I am not a thief becomes I'm not a thief.
      2. I may not come. ('May not' cannot be contracted)
    3. A word that is an exception to what has been mentioned till now is won’t – it comes from will + not = won’t.
    4. Example:
      Will does not become willn’t.

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