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Dryer[1] defined three different types of negative markers in language. Beside negative particles and negative affixes, negative verbs play a role in various languages. The negative verb is used to implement a clausal negation. The negative predicate counts as a semantic function and is localized and therefore grammaticalized in different languages. Negation verbs are often used as an auxiliary type which also carries φ-feature content. This could be visualized for example in the inflectional character of the negation verb while combined with the main verb. This is some sort of tendency by Dryer[2] to place the negation verb before the finite verb. Miestamo[3] researched four different types of negations and proposed a distinction between symmetric negation in which a negative marker is added and asymmetric negation in which beside the added negation marker, other structural changes appear.


In English a standard negation (SN) is used to negate declarative main clauses. The verbal negation predicate is 'not'. To negate other clauses, the negation construction differs from SN. The English auxiliary 'do' performs in combination with the negative verb that indicates whether one or multiple individuals are involved while the verb referring to the negated activity remains non-inflected.[clarification needed] Concluding this, ordinary verbs take the auxiliary do when negated by not.

Tense Affirmative Negative
With a negative verb With a negative adverb
Nonpast I go there
he goes there
I don't go there
he doesn't go there
I never go there
he never goes there
Past I went there
he went there
I didn't go there
he didn't go there
I never went there
he never went there

Uralic languages

Uralic languages differ in the use of negation predicates from each other but show specific similarities.[4] For defining different patterns of negation predicates it is necessary to know about the lexical verb (LV) and the finite form (FE). Miestamo defined four types of asymmetry in negation verbs. The first type shows a prominent appearance in Uralic languages. It is defined as A/Fin (A = asymmetry | Fin = finiteness) and describes that influenced by the negation verb, the finiteness of the LV is reduced or lost. For example, the LV loses the finiteness because the clause is marked by the de-verbalizing negative morpheme. Therefore, the copula is added as a type which holds the finite status (FE). In some uralic languages speaker produce[clarification needed] connegatives to construct the syntactically acceptable word form used in negative clauses.


The standard negation (SN) in Finnish language is realized by a verbal complex.[5] First the LV with a non-finite character is formed followed by the finite element which is presented as the negative auxiliary. The root of the auxiliary is 'e-'. The ending gives information about person and number. The marker for tense is not presented on the auxiliary and is only dependent from the clausal context. Therefore, tense is marked on the LV separated from the auxiliary and appears as connegative form in present tense and past participle in past tense.

Negative Verb - Overview for clausal negations

SN in main clauses - AUX(iliary) 'ei': 'e-' + Person/Number marking

- Main verb: connegative or participle

- Asymmetric

Non-verbal predicates

Imperatives/Prohibitive sentences AUX 'äl-' + idiosyncratic Person and mood marking
Negation in dependent clauses Finite: SN

Indicative, conditional, and potential

Person Singular Plural
1. en emme
2. et ette
3. ei eivät


Person Singular Plural
1. - älkäämme
2. älä älkää
3. älköön älkööt


The Estonian language uses a particle-like non-inflectional negative auxiliary[6] which is hierarchical presented on a pre-verbal slot. The auxiliary is realized as 'ei'. A special form differs from the SN while forming the connegative in the present tense, in the past form or the active past participle. Differing to other Uralic languages, in Estonian language the flectional character doesn't seem to be a necessary feature for the negative auxiliary. This is important because the question appears, if the auxiliary has to show a flectional marker even if the LV is not showing any flectional marker without using the negation modus.

Negative Verb - Strategies in clausal negations

Clausal SN; finite: indicative, conditional, evidental 'ei-' (uninflected) + verb in connegative
Prohibitive sentences

'ära' (inflected) + verb in connegative or inflected (variation)
Negation in locative, equative, inclusive, attributive constructions 'ei' (uninflected) + copula in connegative

Indicative, conditional, and oblique

Person Singular Plural
1. ei ei
2. ei ei
3. ei ei


Person Singular Plural
1. - ärgem; ärme
2. ära ärge
3. ärgu ärgu

Skolt Saami

In Skolt Saami the SN shows a negative auxiliary compared with a non-finite LV. For imperative a special case is provided.[7]

Negative Verb - Summary

SN - Negation AUX: 'ij' + LV

- Negation copula (replaces Positive copula) + verb

Negation of imperatives

Negation AUX + Imperative + verb
Negation of non-verbal predicates -SN

- Negation copula (general stative negator, alternative to SN)

Negation in dependent clauses - finite: SN

- non-finite: verbal absessive

South Saami

In South Saami the SN is realized by a negative auxiliary. This form is used in present tense and the preterite. The LV is presented as a connegative form. A special case is presented while creating the imperative.[8] In this case the negative auxiliary gets a full personal paradigm except for the third person 'dual'. The third person in singular in present tense of the negative auxiliary is prohibited as a negative reply.

Negative Verb - Strategies in clausal negations

SN Negative AUX + connegative verb
Imperative/prohibitive sentences

- Negative AUX 'aell-' (prohibitive) + connegative verb

- Negative AUX 'oll-' (apprehensive) + connegative verb

Negation of non-verbal predicates Negative AUX + connegative verb
Negation in dependent clauses Negative AUX + connegative verb

Inari Sami

The negative verb is conjugated in moods and personal forms in Inari Sami.

Indicative, conditional, and potential mood

Person Singular Dual Plural
1. jie´m eän ep
2. jie´h eppee eppeđ
3. ij eä´vá


Person Singular Dual Plural
1. eällum eäl´loon eällup
2. ele ellee elleđ
3. eä´lus eällus eällus

Northern Sami

The negative verb is conjugated in moods and personal forms in Northern Sami.

Indicative, conditional, and potential mood

Person Singular Dual Plural
1. in ean eat
2. it eahppi ehpet
3. ii eaba eai


Person Singular Dual Plural
1. allon allu allot
2. ale alli allet
3. allos alloska alloset

Lule Sami

The negative verb is conjugated in moods and personal forms in Lule Sami.

Indicative, conditional, and potential mood

Person Singular Dual Plural
1. iv en ep
2. i ähppe ehpit
3. ij äbá e


Hungarian has lost most evidence of a negative verb, but the negation particle 'nem' becomes 'ne' before verbs in the jussive/imperative (also sometimes called the conditional mood, or J-mood). Furthermore, the 3rd person present indicative of the copular verb ('lenni') has unique negative forms 'nincs(en)' and 'nincsenek' as opposed to 'nem van' and 'nem vannak', but only when the particle and verb would occur adjacently. In all other instances the copular verb acts regularly. These forms are also unique in that they have an existential role "there is (not)" and "there are (not)". In the present indicative 3rd person, copular verbs are not used; rather the absence of a verb (with or without a negation particle) implies the copula.


In Komi language, the negative marker and the form of the negative construction is dependent of the clausal tense.[9] If the corresponding affirmative predicate is based in a verbal form, a negative auxiliary is used. This is not convertible for affirmative verbs with nominal forms. The negative auxiliary is used in present tense, future tense, 1st past tense of indicative and in the imperative and optative mood.

Negative Verb - Strategies in clausal negations

- present & future tense

- 1st past tense

- 2nd past tense

- 3rd past tense

- 4th past tense

- 5th past tense

- 6th past tense

'o-' + V - Connegative (CNG)

'e-' + V - Connegative

'abu' + V

'veli' + 'o-' + V - Connegative

a) 'abu' + 'veli' + V

b) 'e-' + 'be' - CNG + V

'velem' + 'o-' + V - CNG

'velem' + 'ab' + V

Negation of imperatives

Imperative (2nd person only)

Optative (3rd person only)

Conditional (all tenses)

'e-' + V - CNG

'med' + 'o-' + V - CNG

'(v)éske(u)' + SN

Negation in dependent/subordinate clauses - finite subordinate clauses

- non-finite subordinate verb forms:

i. Infinitives

ii. participles

iii. converbs


'ńe' + V-infinitve

V + 'tem'

V + 'teg'


Korean verbs can be negated by the negative verbs 않다 anta and 못하다 mothada or by the negative adverbs an and mot. The copula 이다 ida has a corresponding negative copula 아니다 anida. (anida is an independent word like anta and mothada, unlike ida which cannot stand on its own and must be attached to a noun.)

Verb Tense Affirmative With a negative verb With a negative adverb
않다 anta 못하다 mothada an mot
to go
Nonpast 간다
가지 않는다
gaji anneunda
가지 못한다
gaji mothanda
안 간다
an ganda
못 간다
mot ganda
Past 갔다
가지 않았다
gaji anatda
가지 못했다
gaji mothaetda
안 갔다
an gatda
못 갔다
mot gatda
to eat
Nonpast 먹는다
먹지 않는다
meokji anneunda
먹지 못한다
meokji mothanda
안 먹는다
an meongneunda
못 먹는다
mot meongneunda
Past 먹었다
먹지 않았다
meokji anatda
먹지 못했다
meokji mothaetda
안 먹었다
an meogeotda
못 먹었다
mot meogeotda


  1. ^ Schulze, Wolfgang (2007). "Haspelmath, Martin & Matthew S. Dryer & Davil Gil & Bernard Comrie. 2005.The World Atlas of Language Structures". Studies in Language. 31 (2): 445–463. doi:10.1075/sl.31.2.08sch. ISSN 0378-4177.
  2. ^ Dryer, Matthews (2011). Order of negative morpheme and verb. Munich: Max Planck Digital Library.
  3. ^ Miestamo, Matti (2008). Standard Negation. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co.KG. doi:10.1515/9783110197631. ISBN 978-3-11-019763-1.
  4. ^ Miestamo; Tamm; Wagner-Nagy (2015). "3.2". Negation in Uralic Languages. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamin Publishing Company. pp. 13–22. ISBN 9789027206893.
  5. ^ Vilkuna, Maria (2015). Negation in Uralic Languages. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamin Publishing Company. pp. 457–487. ISBN 9789027206893.
  6. ^ Anna, Tamm (2015). Negation in Uralic Languages. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamin Publishing Company. pp. 399–433. ISBN 9789027206893.
  7. ^ Miestamo, Matti (2015). Negation in Uralic Languages. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamin Publishing Company. pp. 353–377. ISBN 9789027206893.
  8. ^ Blokland, Rogier (2015). Negation in Uralic Languages. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamin Publishing Company. pp. 377–399. ISBN 9789027206893.
  9. ^ Hamari, Arja (2015). Negation in Uralic Languages. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamin Publishing Company. pp. 239–265. ISBN 9789027206893.
This page was last edited on 2 April 2022, at 16:21
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