11 Rules for Transformation of Sentences from Affirmative to Negative Sentences

In this article, we are going to discuss Transformation of Sentences Affirmative to Negative. We will cover Transformation of sentences in three parts –

  1. Interchange of Affirmative and Negative Sentences,
  2. Interchange of Assertive and Interrogative Sentences,
  3. Interchange of Assertive and Exclamatory Sentences. 
  4. Interchange of Simple, Complex and Compound Sentences.

Let’s start with -

Interchange of Affirmative and Negative Sentences:

At first we have to remember that—

 (I)  A negative sentence must contain a negative word. Such negative words are –

No, not, never, nothing, none, nobody, no one, nowhere, neither, nor etc.

To turn an affirmative sentence into a negative sentence a negative word must be used.

Remember, ‘not’ is used only with an auxiliary verb. 


do not go there. (Here ‘do’ is an auxiliary verb).

He was not punished. (Here ‘was’ is an auxiliary verb) 

 (II)  Both, the affirmative sentence and the negative one must be the same meaning (sense).


Affirmative – They like her. [Turn into negative] 

Negative – They do not like her. ❌

Negative – They do not dislike her. ✅

Only putting a negative word may change the sense of the statement. Here we have used the opposite word of the main verb (like => dislike) thus keeping the meaning unchanged.

Rules for Transformation of Affirmative to Negative Sentences:

 Rule 1: 

Use a Negative Word + Opposite Word of the Main Word:

With the help of the opposite of the main word of the sentence. The main word is usually an adjective or a verb or an adverb. 

E.g. –

Affirmative – I am doubtful. [Turn it into a negative sentence.]

Step 1:

We know that to turn an affirmative sentence into a negative sentence a negative word must be used.

In this case, simply use a not after the be-verb (am).

Negative – am not doubtful.

Up to this, the formation of the negative sentence is correct, but the transformation is not, as I am doubtful and I am not doubtful have completely opposite meanings.

So, to keep the sense unchanged, —

Step 2:

Use the opposite word of doubtful.

The opposite meaning of doubtful is sure.

Negative – I am not sure

(This is the right answer)

Other examples –

Affirmative – Fruits are good for health. (Main word – good)

Negative – Fruits are not bad for health. (Opposite of good is bad)

Affirmative – We have won the match. (Main word – won)

Negative – We have not lost the match. (Opposite of won is lost)

Affirmative – I love you. (Main word – love)

Negative – I do not hate you. (Opposite of love is hate)

Affirmative – She dislikes me. (Main word – dislikes)

Negative – She does not like me. (Opposite of dislike is like)

Related: Interchange of Assertive and Exclamatory sentences.

Rule 2:

Make a negative sentence by putting a 'fail' + infinitive. (Infinitive = to + V1), 

Here ‘fail’ becomes the main verb while the main verb of the affirmative sentence is used after a ‘to’ in its base form (infinitive).

E.g. –

Affirmative – He made us laugh. [Turn into a negative sentence]


Use ‘fail’ as the main verb.

[Here the affirmative sentence is in past tense. So, we will use the past form of 'fail'.] 

Negative – He failed...


Use to + V1, where V1 is the main verb of the affirmative sentence.

[Here the main verb of the affirmative is 'make'.]

Negative – He failed to make...


Put the rest portion of the affirmative. 

Negative – He failed to make us laugh.

But is it a negative sentence?

Of course not, there is no negative word in the sentence.


Final step:

Make the sentence negative by using a negative word.

In this case, we will use the negative form of the main verb ‘failed’. The negative of ‘failed’ is ‘did not fail’. Hence,

Negative – He did not fail to make us laugh.

Is the correct answer.

Other examples –

Affirmative – We go to school.

Negative – We do not fail to go to school.

Affirmative – She plays football.

Negative – She doesn’t fail to play football. 

Affirmative – keep quiet. 

Negative – Don’t fail to keep quiet.

Affirmative – Be honest.

Negative – Don’t fail to be honest.

See more: Transformation of  Simple and Complex Sentences

Rule 3:

Use "None but":

If an affirmative sentence starts contains the word ‘only’ or ‘alone’, then replace it with ‘none but’ to make the sentence negative.

E.g. –

Affirmative – Only a good administrator can control the situation.

Negative – None but a good administrator can control the situation. 

Affirmative – Only the liberals support this law.

Negative – None but liberals support this law.

Affirmative – You alone will rescue the children.

Negative – None but you will rescue the children.

Affirmative – An educated man alone can change the society.

Negative – None but an educated man alone can change the society.

Rule 4:

Use "Nothing but":

If an affirmative sentence contains 'Only' and after that any object is mentioned, replace 'only' with “Nothing but” to make a negative sentence.

E.g. –

Affirmative –  Only an ice-cream was in the kitchen.

Negative – Nothing but an ice-cream was in the kitchen.

Affirmative – He gave me only a hundred-rupee note.

Negative – He gave me nothing but a hundred-rupee note.

Affirmative – I play only football.

Negative – I play nothing but football.

Affirmative – He smokes only Havana*.

Negative – He smokes nothing but Havana.

*Havana is a cigar of premium quality that originated in Havana, Cuba.

Rule 5:

Use "Never...but":

If an affirmative sentence contains when or whenever, replace it with never...but.

How to use Never...but:

Affirmative Structure – Clause 1 + when/whenever + clause 2

E.g. –

Affirmative – I wear a mask whenever I go out.

Negative – I never wear a mask but I go 

Or, another way to use when/whenever is-

Affirmative Structure – When/whenever + clause 1 + , + clause 2

E.g. –

Affirmative – Whenever I go out, I wear a mask.

Negative – I never go out but wear a mask.

Affirmative – I see you when you come here.

Negative – I never see you but you come here.

Affirmative – When the bell rings, we wake up

Negative – The bell never rings but we wake up.

Rule 6:

Use "No sooner...than".

If an affirmative statement contains “As soon  as”, then replace it with no sooner...than to make a negative sentence. 

First, we have to understand the use of “As soon  as” and “No sooner...than”.

A sentence containing an ‘as soon as’ usually has two clauses.

As in, "As soon as the teacher entered the class, the students stopped talking" , two clauses are there –

One is – “As soon as the teacher entered the class” and

The other is – “the students stopped talking.”

So, the structure of the sentence is – 

As soon as + subject 1 + verb 1 + object 1 + subject 2 + verb 2 + object 2.


Affirmative – As soon as + subject 1 + verb 1 + object 1 + subject 2 + verb 2 + object 2.

Negative – No sooner + auxiliary verb** + subject 1 + verb 1 + object 1 + than + subject 2 + verb 2 + object 2.

**The In this case, auxiliary verbs may be – 

Do/does (for present indefinite tense),

Did (for past tense), 

Had (for past perfect tense).

Or to simplify,

Affirmative – As soon as + Clause 1 + clause 2.

Negative – No sooner  + clause 1 + than + clause 2.

E.g. –

Affirmative – As soon as the teacher entered the class, the students stopped talking.

Negative – No sooner did the teacher enter the room, than the students stopped talking. 


Affirmative – As soon as I had seen you, you fled.

Negative – No sooner had I seen you than you fled.

Affirmative – As soon as reached the station, the train left.

Negative – No sooner did I reached the station than the train left.

Affirmative – As soon as John got out of the building, a robber snatched his bag.

Negative – No sooner did John get out of the building than a robber snatched his bag.

Rule 7:

Use Not only...but also:

If an affirmative sentence contains “Both...and” replace it with Not only...but also to transform the affirmative into a negative sentence.

E.g. –

Affirmative – Both John and Jack are guilty.

Negative – Not only John but also Jack is guilty.

Affirmative – Both Rohit and Virat play well.

Negative – Not only Rohit but also Virat plays well.

Affirmative – I can play both guitar and sitar.

Negative – I can play not only guitar but also sitar.

Affirmative – Prantik is both tall and strong..

Negative – Prantik is not only tall but also strong.

Rule 8:

Use "so...that":

If an affirmative sentence contains a ‘’, then replace it with so...that (so + adjective/adverb + that).

E.g. – 

Affirmative – Jack is too proud to apologize. 

Step 1:

Replace ‘too’ with ‘so + adjective/adverb + that’.

Negative – He is so proud that...

Step 2:

Now, change the infinitive (to + v1) to a negative clause.

[Here, the infinitive in the affirmative sentence is – to apologize. So, change ‘to apologize’ to a whole negative sentence(clause) which may have a structure i.e. – ...he will not apologize. 

Subject + auxiliary verb + not + main verb (apologize).

Negative – He is so proud that he will not apologize

Remember – ‘Too’ is not a negative word but it has a negative tone

As, if I say, “You are too good.” I mean “You should not be that good.” Similarly, by “The flower is too beautiful.” I mean “The flower would not have been that beautiful.” Though the sentences are still affirmative. 

For this reason, the affirmative sentences and the negative sentence are similar in meaning. No opposite word is required here.

Other examples –

Affirmative – I am too weak to walk.

Negative – I am so weak that I can not walk.

Affirmative – She was too busy to receive your call.

Negative – She was so busy that sue can not receive your call.

Affirmative – Joe is too lazy to complete a task on time.

Negative – Joe is so lazy that he can’t not complete a task on time.

Affirmative – The car is too large to fit into the garage.  

Negative – The car is so large that it cannot fit into the garage.

Rule 9:

Use "".

If an affirmative sentence contains so...that, replace it with too.

E.g. – 

Affirmative –  The floor is so hot that it will burn our feet. [Turn it into negative sentence] 

In this sentence, there are two clauses –

A. The floor is so hot, and

B. That it will burn our feet.


To turn it into a negative sentence, follow these steps:

Step 1:

Replace ‘so’ with ‘too’. (In clause A)

Negative – The floor is too hot...

Step 2:

Replace ‘that’ with ‘to’. And put a ‘not’ before it.

Negative – The floor is too hot not to...

Step 3:

Put a verb in its base form after 'to'. Actually it is an infinitive (to + v1). 

Here we have already put ‘to’ in step 2. Now, only the V1 (base form of the main verb) is left.

Now the question is- What is the main verb here?


It is ‘burn’. And the infinitive is – ‘to burn’.

Negative – The floor is too hot not to burn our feet.

Other examples –

Affirmative – She is so smart that she can be cheated.

Negative – She is too smart not to be cheated.

Rule 10:

Use "Not more than"

If an affirmative sentence contains “Only” + a number, replace that with “Not more than” + the number.

E.g. –

Affirmative – I took only one cup of tea.

Negative – I took not more than one cup of tea.

Affirmative – I got only 45% marks in the final year.

Negative – I got not more than 45% marks in the final year.

Affirmative – I bought only two tickets.

Negative – I bought not more than two tickets.

Affirmative – Did you write an essay of only hundred words?

Negative – Did you write an essay of not more than hundred words?

Rule 11:

Change the Degree of Comparison:

Another way to turn an affirmative sentence into a negative one is changing the degree of comparison.

We know that sometimes, while changing the degree of comparison, a negative word is used in the answer. 


Positive – I am as strong as John. [Turn into a comparative degree.] 

Comparative – John is not stronger than I.

So, here we find that, with the changing of degree, an affirmative sentence is changed to a negative sentence. 

If you are asked

Positive – I am as strong as John. [Turn into a negative sentence.] 

Again the answer will be the same. 

In these types of question, you need not be worry about the transformed sentence structure, just change the degree of the sentence.

For this case, put the comparative degree of the sentence–

Comparative – John is not stronger than I.

It is that easy.

Some other examples: 

Positive to Comparative:–

Positive – She is as poor as I am.

Comparative – I am not poorer than she.

Positive – She is as handsome as her sister.

Comparative – Her sister is not handsomer than she.

Positive – Her sister is as tall as she.

Comparative – She is not taller than her sister.

Comparative to Positive:–

Comparative – He is taller than I am.

Positive – I am not so tall as he is.

Comparative – Football is more popular than golf.

Positive – Golf is not so popular as football.

Comparative – He is better than I.

Positive – I am not so good as he.

Comparative – This tree is larger than that.

Positive – That tree is not so large as this.

Comparative – Football is more interesting than cricket.

Positive – Cricket is not so interesting as Football.

Comparative – He eats more than I.

Positive – I do not eat as much as he does.

Superlative to Positive:–

Superlative – The Bourj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world.

Positive – No other building is as tall as the Bourj Khalifa.

Superlative – Akhtar is the fastest bowler in the world.

Positive – No other bowler in the world is as fast as Akhtar.

Superlative – Bolt is the fastest runner.

Positive – No other runner is as fast as Bolt.

Superlative – I will be the happiest man one day.

Positive – No other man will be as happy as I will be.

Read more: Interchange of Positive Degree and Comparative Degree

Read more: Interchange of Positive Degree and Superlative Degree.

Read more: Interchange of Comparative Degree and Superlative Degree.

Transformation of Sentences | Interchange of Affirmative Sentence and Negative Sentence

Hope you liked our article on Transformation of Sentences from Affirmative to Negative Sentences. If you have any question, feel free to put it in the comment box below. 

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