Negation – Negative Activities and Worksheets

Developmental Hierarchy for Negation

Present Tense helping verbs and contractions used to indicate negative present tense, including: am not (I’m not), do not (don’t), does not (doesn’t), can not (can’t), has not (hasn’t), have not (haven’t), is not (isn’t), are not (aren’t), would not (wouldn’t)

Future and Past Tense helping verbs and contractions used to indicate future and past tense, including: will not (won’t), did not (didn’t), could not (couldn’t), had not (hadn’t), was not (wasn’t), were not (weren’t)

QuestionsExamples: Isn’t he ready?,Aren’t you hungry?  Shouldn’t you be quiet?

Complex Negation – Two or more auxiliary verbs, or additional syntactic structures – for example: should have, couldn’t be, wouldn’t have been, wouldn’t have wanted to go, shouldn’t have to tell, etc.

Basic Negation Worksheets

Previews – Click on the picture to view a small preview of an activity:

(1) (2)negatives-1-copy(3) (4)negatives-2-copy

Worksheets – Download documents in preferred format:

(1) Basic Negation Choices Doc PDF;     (2) Basic Negative Comprehension Doc PDF;     (3) Basic Negation Comprehension 2 Doc PDF;     (4) Negative Sentences Doc PDF

Other Worksheets and Activities

Previews – Click on the picture to view a small preview of an activity:

(1) (2) (3)(4) (5)(6) (7) (8)negatives-3-copy (9)negatives-4-copy(10)(11)(12)

Worksheets – Download documents in preferred format:

1) Later Developing Negation Choices 1 Doc PDF;     2) Later Developing Negation Choices 2 Doc PDF;     3) Expanded Negation Comprehension Doc PDF;     4) Sentence Search Doc PDF;     5) Sentence Circles Doc PDF;     6) Multiple Choice Doc PDF;     7) Scripts/Drill Doc PDF;     (8) Silly Sentences Doc PDF;     9) Expanded Negation Doc PDF;     10) Guided Practice Ideas Doc PDF;     (11) Contrast Cards Negatives 1 Doc PDF;     (12) Contrast Cards Negatives 2 Doc PDF

Background Information

Negation is a common difficulty in emerging language. It is unique in that comprehension of negation often seems nearly as difficult as production. Because negation completely changes the meaning of an utterance, difficulty in comprehension can cause extensive breakdowns in a child’s ability to follow directions. For production, it may benefit children to practice the sometimes problematic /nt/ consonant cluster prior to practicing negative contractions.

The single word “no” is one of the earliest emerging of all words in a young child’s vocabulary. Children often simplify sentences with negation by eliminating subjects, and putting the simple negative form prior to the verb (L. Bloom, 1970). Thus, an intended sentence such as “Mommy no go bye-bye.” may initially be produced as “no go bye-bye.”

The specific negative word a child uses may reflect the specific manner in which a parent uses negation to control behavior. Some parents use no frequently, while others employ don’t (Owens, 1996). Additionally, parenting advice often encourages use of positive discipline (e.g., “Walk”, instead of “Don’t run.”) which may affect children’s comprehension of negation. Children who hear both positive and negative versions of the same request may be predisposed to earlier learning of the concepts of negation and opposition.

Advanced negation requires increasing demands upon working memory, both with comprehension and production. Negative prefixes, such as un-, dis-, and non– may be difficult for advanced language learners. Assessments with negation include the OWLS, PLS, TACL, and SPELT tests.

Goal Suggestions

Geronimo will correctly identify negatives used in age appropriate sentences when presented with foils, e.g. “Which dog isn’t barking?”

Pocahontas will follow age appropriate directions with negatives, e.g. “Don’t open your book until I tell you to.”

Sitting Bull will use age appropriate negatives and negative phrases (e.g. shouldn’t have, couldn’t be) in sentences.

Functional Activity Ideas

Elicitation Ideas

10 thoughts on “Negation – Negative Activities and Worksheets

  1. Alan

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  2. Anonymous

    Thank you for this wonderful information and great ideas! Super helpful!


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