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What are Negative Questions? Grammar Review Audio


What are Negative Questions?

Sometimes, questions aren’t really questions at all.

Speakers of English often want to confirm information we think we know.

In other words, we might know something about a fact and we simply want to know if it is true or not.

We also use negative questions to offer an opinion, polite requests and offers.

When someone uses a negative question, be careful with your answer!

Here are “Confirmation” Negative Questions.

Don’t you like to read?

Yes, I do. or No, I don’t.

Didn’t you visit the doctor yesterday?

Yes, I did. or No, I didn’t.

Aren’t you going to work today?

Yes, I am. or No, I am not.

Weren’t you at the party last night?

Yes, I was. or No, I was not.

Hasn’t the postman arrived yet?

Yes, he has. or No, he hasn’t.

Haven’t you eaten breakfast yet?

Yes, I have. or No, I haven’t.

“Opinion” Negative Questions.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a new car?

Yes, it would. or No, it wouldn’t.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could drive a car?

Yes, it would. or No, It wouldn’t.

“Polite Request” Negative Questions.

Why don’t you have dinner with us tonight?

I would love that.

Why don’t you join us at the beach house?

I would love too.

“Offer” Negative Questions.

Wouldn’t you like another cup of tea?

I would like that, thank you.

Wouldn’t you like another slice of pizza?

Yes, I’ll have another.

Remember, a negative question isn’t a question at all. When someone uses a negative question, simply answer with the truth.

You might use a simple “yes or no” with a follow up statement. There is more to this subject.

Ask your teacher to explain and help you practice this subject.

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Negative Questions Everyday Dialog.

Didn’t you visit the doctor yesterday?
Now you see? Again, I didn’t
bring my intonation up.
Why? Well because it’s not a question.
It’s a confirmation.
A statement of confirmation.
Didn’t you visit the doctor yesterday?
Because I think I saw you there.
Remember! Did you see me?
No, I didn’t see. Okay? So.
I think I saw you.
Didn’t you visit the doctor yesterday?
This is great English.
And it’s all about confirming
something that you
think you already know.
Aren’t you going to work today?
Now this is about the future, isn’t it?
Hey aren’t you going to work today?
Well, maybe you told me before
that you are going to work today.
Maybe today’s Saturday and you
don’t normally work on Saturdays.
Or maybe it’s Tuesday and maybe
you were ill yesterday.
Or you had other priority’s.
You didn’t go to work and I know
you’re going to work today. Right? So.
Aren’t you going to work today?
You see? Because you told me.
Or I expect you to work.
Hey! Weren’t you at
the party last night?
I think I saw you.
I could say;
Were you at the party last night
because I didn’t see you.
I wasn’t there myself.
Were you at the party last night?
I can do that. Right?
In this context,
this is a negative question
for confirmation because
I just want to confirm.
I want to find out if
I am correct or not.
Hey! Weren’t you at the party?
I think I saw you or my
friend told me you were there.
Hasn’t the postman arrived yet?
It’s 11 o’clock and he
always comes by 10. So.
If he always comes by 10,
he should have been here by now.
He’s not here and so.
Hasn’t the postman arrived yet?
Because I don’t see the mail.
You see what I mean?
Again, this is an indirect question
that is all about confirmation.
Haven’t you eaten breakfast yet?
Oh, it’s 2 o’clock.
You should have eaten
breakfast a little while ago. So.
This might have started
from a conversation.
Hey! Did you eat breakfast?
Haven’t you eaten breakfast yet?
Well, no, because
I’ve been very busy. So.
Again, this is a confirmation
statement more than a question.
“Opinion.”
Here’s something about
opinion with negative questions.
Hey! Wouldn’t it be nice if
we had a new car? You see?
This is. I’m giving you
my opinion here.
Well, yes it would or
no it wouldn’t. So.
Hey! Wouldn’t it be nice
if we went to the park today?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we
went to the cinema tonight?
Really. This is more about an
offer than anything else. Right?
Wouldn’t it be great if you
could drive a car?
Well, yes it would, but
I don’t have a car.
Okay, Come on, I’ll buy
you a car and I’ll teach
you how to drive. See? So.
This might be an offer but
it’s definitely a statement
of some kind that’s
not exactly direct.
Here are some polite request.
“Negative questions.”
Why don’t you have
dinner with us tonight?
I’d love that. So.
In this context, once again,
this is an invitation.
I’m inviting you to dinner.
Hey! Why don’t you come over?
Why don’t you come over and
have dinner with us tonight?
It might be a question and my
intonation might come up
just a little bit if
it’s a true question.
But, I can do that both ways.
Hey! Why don’t you?
Why don’t you have dinner
with us tonight? You see? So.
Instead of coming out and say,
Will you have dinner with us tonight?
Will you have dinner tonight?
Something like that.
That’s future simple.
Very simple stuff.
This is present simple with
a negative statement.
Why don’t? Right?
And this is very, very polite. So.
If I were going to do that
and I wanted to invite someone,
I might say;
Hey! Why don’t you have dinner
with us tonight! Come on over!
You see? Why don’t you join
us at the beach house?
Well, the first problem with
that is, I don’t
have a beach house. So.
It wouldn’t be me saying that,
but maybe one of my friends.
Someone might say;
Hey! Bill, Larisa! Why don’t
you two. Why don’t you join
us at the beach house!
What do you think Larisa?
Would you like that?
Of course! I’d love to!
How about an offer
with a negative question?
Wouldn’t you like
another cup of tea?
I would like that. Thank you!
You see? So.
If you’re sitting at the table,
you drink one cup of tea and
you have a little more cake left.
And someone says;
Wouldn’t you like another cup of tea?
I am probably not going
to bring my intonation up.
Because that is not correct.
I’m probably going to leave it
about the same or I might bring
it down just a little bit.
And in that context, without
bringing that intonation
up it’s extremely polite.
Okay, listen, wouldn’t you
like another cup of tea?
You see how I almost whispered
at the end of my speech.
How wonderful that English is. So.
Wouldn’t you like another cup of tea?
I could say;
Wouldn’t you like another cup of tea?
That would be okay.
But if I said;
Wouldn’t you like another cup of tea?
I’m probably not going to do that.
That’s not very good English.
Wouldn’t you like
another slice of pizza?
I know you.
Because you always
eat two slices. You see?
And you’ve only eaten one,
therefore, I think you would like. So.
Let’s just ask in a very
indirect or a negative way.
A wonderful question.
Hey! wouldn’t you like
another slice of pizza?
Yes! I’ll have another.
Remember! A negative question
isn’t a question at all.
When someone uses a negative
question, simply answer
with the truth. “Yes or No.”
You might use a simple
yes or no with a follow-up statement.