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Traditional Grammatical Terminology
by A. G. Rigg


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7. Negatives

7.1 In PDE the negative particle not (originally an adverb) either precedes nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs ("I asked you, not her", "red, not black", "not very much") or follows the finite verb, which is always an auxiliary, and is often abbreviated ("it won't start", "it isn't fair"). In PDE (but not earlier) ordinary verbs must use the auxiliary do ("he did not agree", "she doesn't like anchovies"), followed by the infinitive.

7.2 PDE has several negative pronouns, adjectives, adverbs and conjunctions compounded from Old English n(e)- (no one, nobody, no, never, nor, neither). Old and Middle English had some negative verbs.

7.3 PDE does not allow double or multiple negatives, but these were common in Old and Middle English and remain so in some dialects.


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