• ‘Negative’ refers to a word, affix, phrase, clause, sentence or proposition expressing negation.
  • Negation is the denial of the truth.

HAVE NOT + noun phrase

English grammar tells us that: I haven’t got a clue. I don’t have a clue. are the correct ways to express negative possession.  However, there is the rarer, older British sounding: I haven’t a clue. Notice that a superlative phrase is common to give emphasis: I haven’t the slightest idea how he works. listen Here are the search results from …

HAVE NOT + noun phrase Read More »

not to be

Verb patterns with ‘not to be’ generally fall between A2 and B1.  If they are also negated, non-finite, passive or ellipted they should be at least B2.   A search in the NOW corpus for: not to be * * 1 NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH 10259 Not to be confused with the diary of Anne Hathaway  which we stole out of her purse at the Gotham Awards. listen 2 NOT …

not to be Read More »

Don’t get me wrong

In the English Vocabulary Profile, Don’t get me wrong INFORMAL C2 used when you do not want someone to think that you do not like someone or something For example: Now, don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful to be alive,  and I am painfully aware that this struggle is a privilege that many don’t get to experience.   Collocates of ‘Don’t get me wrong‘ in the MOVIE corpus: 1 N’T 917 2 LOVE 72 Don’t get me wrong, I love it. listen …

Don’t get me wrong Read More »

NOT + adverb

When “not” is used before an adverb, it typically forms a negative construction that modifies the action or verb it is associated with. This construction is used to indicate the absence or negation of the quality or manner expressed by the adverb. Next, we want to know the most common adverbs in this position, so …

NOT + adverb Read More »

subject + verb

The usage of simple affirmative and negative declarative clauses in English, particularly focusing on the verb ‘be’.
Simple affirmative declarative clauses are basic statements in English. Examples include “We’re different” and “People see us as being different anyway”.
Negative statements of the main verb ‘be’, with contracted and uncontracted forms, are also at the A1 level. Examples include “I’m not a doctor” and “It’s not bad for a couple of lawyers”.
The text also provides a list of common phrases found in the iWeb corpus where a noun is followed by a verb, such as “People are” and “Problem is”.
A search in the NOW corpus for pronoun + lexical verb shows that the present tense is about as common as the past tense, with examples like “He said” (past tense) and “I think” (present tense).

can’t bear + to-infinitive

In the English Vocabulary Profile at B2, ‘bear’ is defined: accept someone or something unpleasant For example: I can’t bear to see him like this. listen *There are other uses of ‘bear’ that are more advanced.  However, the sense defined above has a distinct grammar pattern: (CAN | COULD) (often negative) + bear + (to-infinitive | Verb-ing | noun phrase) Verb-ing …

can’t bear + to-infinitive Read More »

ANY + comparative

‘Any’ can be used as an adverb to mean ‘at all’ or ‘in some degree’. Here are expert examples: We‘re not gonna discuss it here any further. Keep The Change You‘re not at university any longer. listen How would that end any differently than last time? Captain America In the English Vocabulary Profile, ‘any’ is listed as ADVERB B1 used in questions and negatives to emphasize a comparative adjective or adverb Do you feel any better? …

ANY + comparative Read More »


Here are expert examples of negation + ‘the least‘: I’m not in the least bit religious. Listen to this sentence Well, aren’t you the least bit curious  as to how I can be talking to you on the phone right now  when I ‘m supposed to be taped to a chair? listen C2 Point 28 in the category of NEGATION is defined: ‘IN THE LEAST’ after a negative form for emphasis. A search in iWeb: 1 NOT SURPRISED …

THE LEAST Read More »

used not to

The following rare student writing example shows how ‘used not to‘ expresses modality: Also when I was younger, I used not to be allowed to drink coffee. PELIC Korean female level 3 grammar class. It sounds more natural to say: “I didn’t use to be allowed to drink coffee.” *In other words, she did not have permission to drink coffee.  Although now she is an adult and can. In the …

used not to Read More »