LESSON 5

Using negative words

* Do not use two negative words in a clause. No, nobody, nothing etc cannot be used with not, never, hardly, seldom, etc.

Ex 1. Nobody could see me. (NOT ‘couldn’t see’)

Ex 2. Nobody ever asks me for my opinion. (NOT ‘never asks’)

Ex 3. I checked the essay for mistakes but couldn’t find any. (NOT ‘find none’)


After negative words, you usually use any, anyone, anything, etc (NOT some, someone, something, etc).

Ex 1. I hadn’t seen anyone for over a week.

Ex 2. Nobody is doing anything to help them.


Follow the same rule if the context has a negative meaning.

Ex 1. He managed to get on the train without anyone seeing him.

Ex 2. By six o’clock I am too tired to do anything else.


* As a general rule, use nobody/nothing etc with an affirmative verb instead of

everybody/ everything etc with negative verb.

Ex 1. Nobody is allowed to wear shoes in the mosque. (NOT ‘everyone isn’t’)

Ex 2. None of the children are at school today.

Compare: ‘All the children aren’t at school today. ‘This means that some of the children are at school today, but not all of them.