How to use short negative answers in English?
Use the word NOT to form negative sentences as well as short answers in English.
When giving a short answer, listen carefully to the question. Yes/No questions always start with auxiliaries (do, did, can, have, will etc.) that indicate tense, aspect and/or mood.
For example, when a question starts with DID, it tells you that it’s about the PAST and it’s SIMPLE aspect (so it refers to a single/repeated action, not a continuous one).
As it might sound a bit too technical, let’s look at some examples!
- Do you like Britney Spears?
- No, I don’t. (do not)
- Did you see the giraffe cross the street?
- No, I didn’t. (did not)
- Can you do a hundred somersaults in a row?
- No, I can’t. (cannot)
- Could you talk to Brad Pitt at the premiere?
- No, I couldn’t. (could not)
- Have you proposed to Jane?
- No, I haven’t. (have not)
- Will you invite me to your wedding?
- No, I won’t. (will not)
- Should I buy her some flowers?
- No, you shouldn’t. (should not)
- Does she like flowers?
- No, she doesn’t. (does not)
As you may see above, the auxiliary in the answer is always the same as the one in the question. Was there a DO in the question?
Answer with DO or DON’T. Was there a CAN in the question?
Answer with CAN or CAN’T/CANNOT.
When the verb BE is used in the question, use the right form in the answer:
- Are you a supermodel?
- No, I’m not. (am not)
- Were you a good student?
- No, I wasn’t. (was not)