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Lesson 7.1

Constructing Sentences

Construir frases
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Below is a review of the basic structure of affirmative, negative and interrogative sentences in English. For more on sentence structure, see the lessons on the various verb tenses.

Affirmative Sentences

Subject + verb + noun, adjective…

Examples:

 I’m happy.
 She likes ice cream.
 We live in Madrid.
 They have [they’ve got] a car.

Negative Sentences

There are two ways to construct negative sentences, depending on the verb:

1. As a general rule, we use the auxiliary verb “to do” to construct negative sentences. We conjugate the auxiliary verb “to do”, while the principal verb is in the infinitive.

Subject + auxiliary verb (to do) + negative auxiliary (not)
+ verb + noun, adjective…

Examples:

 She does not [doesn’t] like ice cream.
 We do not [don’t] live in Madrid.
 They do not [don’t] have a car.

2. With the verbs “to be” and “to have got”, the auxiliary verb “to do” is not necessary in the negative. Note that with the verb “to have got”, the negative auxiliary “not” is located between “have” and “got”.

Subject + verb + negative auxiliary (not) + noun, adjective…

Examples:

 I’m not happy.
 They’ve not [they haven’t] got a car.

Note: It is important to keep in mind the difference between the verbs “to have” and “to have got”.

Both verbs imply possession, but the structure of sentences with these two verbs is different. The structure of sentences with “to have got” is similar to that of sentences with “to be”, while “to have” is treated like all other verbs (using the auxiliary verb “to do” in the negative and interrogative). For more information see the lesson, Have vs. Have Got.

Note: It is important to keep in mind the difference between the verbs “to have” and “to have got”.

Both verbs imply possession, but the structure of sentences with these two verbs is different. The structure of sentences with “to have got” is similar to that of sentences with “to be”, while “to have” is treated like all other verbs (using the auxiliary verb “to do” in the negative and interrogative). For more information see the lesson, Have vs. Have Got.

Interrogative Sentences

As with negative sentences, there are two ways to form interrogative sentences in English depending on the verb.

1. As a general rule, we use the auxiliary verb “to do” to construct interrogative sentences. As with negative sentences, we conjugate the auxiliary verb “to do”, while the principal verb is in the infinitive.

Auxiliary verb (to do) + subject + verb + noun, adjective…?

Examples:

 Does she like ice cream?
 Do you live in Madrid?
 Do they have a car?

2. With the verbs “to be” and “have got”:

Verb + subject + noun, adjective…?

Examples:

 Is he happy?
 Have they got a car?

Note: It is important to note how the order of the words changes in interrogative sentences. These sentences start with the principal or auxiliary verb, as opposed to the subject, as in affirmative and negative sentences.

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