NEGATIVE STRUCTURES (2) : negative questions

1. Structure
Negative questions are of two kinds; contracted and uncontracted. They have different word order, as in:

Form: Contracted
Auxiliary verb + n’t + s(ubject)

a) Didn’t the children read their textbooks?
b) Isn’t Polly Dee your friend?
c) Weren’t you there when the accident happened?

Form: Uncontracted

Auxiliary verb + s(ubject) + not

a) Did the children not read their textbooks?
b) Is Polly Dee not your friend?
c) Were you not there when the accident happened?

Non-auxiliary verb ‘have’ and ‘be’ go in the same position as the auxiliary verbs in negative questions.

Form: contracted has/have + n’t + s(ubject)

a) Haven’t they given the award after the ceremony?
b) Hasn’t Lea Salonga sung that song before?
c) Isn’t she the former champion in “The Voice”?
d) Weren’t you studying Medicine at UP-Manila?

Form: uncontracted has/have + s(ubject) + not

a) Have they not given the award after the ceremony?
b) Has Lea Salonga not sung that song before?
c) Is she not the former champion in “The Voice”?
d) Were you not there when the accident happened?

2 two meanings:

Negative questions can have two different kinds of meaning.It's usually clear from the situation and context which kind of question is asked.

a. It’s true that.......isn’t it?

A negative question can ask for confirmation of a positive belief; or confirmation of something you believe to be true. it expects a "yes."

a) Didn’t you talk with the dean of college yesterday? How did it go?
Means= (I believe that you talked with the dean of college.}

b) Haven’t the committee agreed to charge that fellow?
Means=(I believe that the committee agreed .....)

You may also express your opinions in a more polite way by changing them into
negative questions.

a) Wouldn’t it be better if we open those windows?
b) Can’t we ask for a longer break for the kids ?

Negative questions of this kind (expressions of opinions) are common in exclamations and theoretical questions.

a) Typhoon Hayaian! Wasn’t that the most destructive typhoon we ever had?
b) Goodness! Hasn’t she really grown?
c) Isn’t this life forever?
d) Haven’t we a purpose in this life?

b Is it true that...........not?

A negative question can also ask for confirmation of a negative belief. In this case, the question expects the answer 'No.'

a) Hasn’t he done his homework ? It’s now ten o’clock!
means= (I believe he has not done his homework.)
b) Isn’t she doing her research? She’s been paid her grant a month ago.
means= (I believe she’s not doing her research.)

3 polite requests, invitations, offers

Pressing offers and invitations often assume the form of negative questions. They usually begin begin with 'Won't you;...'Wouldn't you'...'Why don't you'?...

a) Wouldn’t you tell us exactly how it happened?
b) Won’t you join us at our table by the window?
c) Why don’t you dance with her?

In other cases, we don’t usually use a negative question to ask people to do things. This is done with ordinary questions,or with negative statements +question tags:

a) Can you help me with my homework? (ordinary question used as a request)
b) Could you please close the door?
c) You can’t bake that chocolate cake for me, can you?(negative statement + question tag)

Negative questions may be understood as complaints or criticisms:

a) Don’t you ever clean the bathtub?
b) Can’t you share your bedroom with that poor child?

4 yes and no

In a reply to a negative question, the answer ‘Yes’ suggests an affirmative verb.
Example: a) You don’t know of any good jobs, do you? Yes. I do know.
There’s a vacancy in my company.
b)Didn’t the doctor allow you to go home today? Yes. He did allow me.

...a “No” suggests a negative verb:

a) You don’t know of any good jobs , do you?
No , I don’t know.
b) Didn’t the doctor allow you to go home today?
No, He didn’t allow me to go home.
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