I am not sure whether these ways of transforming sentences affirmative into negative are acceptable by native speakers or not ?

I see most of which don't go with the standard rules to each language may concern. Please follow these examples :

Affirmative : Everyone loves him. Negative : No one hates him. Or There is no one who does not love him. Or There is no one but loves him. (( they change the verb into opposite ))

No one hates him = the same meaning ( everyone loves him )

Affirmative : Everyone hates him-------- I can say Everyone dislikes him = Negative Some would say : everyone doesn't love him = acceptable

Or perhaps I suggest : [ No one hates him \ Nobody hates him. ] but they consider it wrong ! I don't know how these new ways come to English! Though it is mostly adapted by indian , yet the English language is the same.

Moreover, some pages tell that a sentence begins with ( No one ) is considered affirmative ? Here is : Examples \ affirmative No one is sleeping in my bed.
no one = not ( anyone ) not any person ( so it carries negative meaning ) I can't understand this manner of norms and perhaps I refuse.


In my opinion, must not two different English languages in the world.

Please guide me to find a book which keeps with the standard rules especially with these indefinite pronouns how to transform each in negative and affirmative.

I am likely dispersed and desperate because I don't find in Google but the books of Indian grammarians.

  • 1
    There is no-one but loves him is an old-fashioned usage which many people today would not understand. (There was a question about this a few weeks ago.) Everyone doesn't love him is not a good sentence because it could mean either everyone dislikes him or not everyone loves him (but some people do). Feb 4 at 11:04
  • 1
    It would be a serious mistake to assume that any "positive" assertion made in English can be converted to a "negative" assertion denying it's "opposite". As a trivial example, just note that I don't hate you doesn't remotely mean the same as I love you. In short, whereas it might be meaningful to ask about how to "negate" some specific assertion, there is no general principle here worth explaining to non-native speakers. Feb 4 at 13:14

2 Answers 2


By negative, I'm not sure if you mean (1) the same statement but with opposite wording; or (2) The opposite statement. So I'll try both options.

  1. Original: Everyone loves him.
  2. Same statement, opposite wording: There is no one who doesn't love him.
  3. Opposite statement: No one loves him.

My version of sentence 2 is called a double negative. Both elements of the sentence are switched. If every person loves him, then there is no person who doesn't love him. If all of the basketball players are more than 6 feet tall, Then none of the basketball players are less than 6 feet tall.

Some people will tell you not to use a double negative, and it's true that stylistically they can be more complicated than the positive form of the sentence. But grammatically that's how you would do it.

Now your edit was "No one hates him." That's a reasonable effort, but when you change a key word you run the risk of changing the meaning, depending on the new words you introduce. For example, it's possible to say, "No one hates him, but not everyone loves him either. He's one of those people who just doesn't inspire strong feelings either way." So to be sure you're changing the form from positive to negative, try to keep the key words the same as much as possible.

You have the same problem when you go from "Everyone hates him" to "Everyone dislikes him." To an English speaker those sentences are similar but not the same, because hate is a stronger word than dislike.

"Everyone doesn't love him." That's an attempted opposite statement (compare with sentence 3 above). An English speaker would not say that. They would use sentence (3), or they might say "Everyone hates him."

  • @ Peter Kirkpatrick Thank you very much You made it easier for me. So The sentence which picked [ No one is sleeping in my bed. ] = Negative not affirmative Isn't it ? Feb 4 at 12:23
  • Yes. Well done! Feb 4 at 12:31
  • This discussion reminds me of Through the Looking-Glass, where Alice says "I see nobody on the road" (meaning "I can't see anybody") and the White King understands her to say that she can see a person called Nobody. Feb 4 at 13:48

There's lots to think about here. Mostly this is because the grammar words you use are unclear. (Not your fault, many books on grammar are very inconsistent)

There is no clear definition of "affirmative" or "negative" sentence.

One possible definition is that a negative sentence uses a negated verb "do not". In this definition "Nobody plays tennis" is an affirmative sentence.

But some people might say that the definition is too strict, and we should include any sentence with negative words. But then what are the "negative words".

Some say it is any sentence that represents a negative thought, action or opinion. This definition is hopelessly mixing grammar with meaning.

But you need to unpick what exactly you mean before you can start.

So what I mean: All the following are affirmative:

He is happy. He is sad. He is unhappy. Nobody is happy. Nobody is unhappy. He loves tennis. Nobody loves tennis. He hates tennis. Nobody hates tennis

The following are negative:

He isn't happy. He isn't sad. He isn't unhappy. There isn't anybody who is happy. There isn't anybody who is unhappy. There isn't anybody who isn't unhappy. He doesn't love tennis. Nobody doesn't love tennis.

The next thing to unpick is the idea of "transformation". There are some transformative processes in grammar, for example transforming from the active to the passive. But there is no transformation from affirmative to negative.

So, what you mean seems to be "can I rephrase an affirmative sentence with a negative sentence?"

The answer to that question is "sometimes", but you usually shouldn't.

Everybody loves him. → Nobody doesn't love him.

The form with double negative is less clear and should be avoided. "Nobody hates him." has a very different meaning. Because "doesn't love" and "hates" are very different in meaning.

So the final answer to "standard rules how to transform each in negative and affirmative." is This is not a transformation in English, and you should not be doing this.

What you do need to know about is the use of "anybody" with negative sentences. But this is explained on the linked page.

  • @ James K Perhaps I agree with you or I don't agree with you Perhaps there is no grammar book without mistakes or no language without mistakes. The best way to study any language is to compare it with other languages. >> he is unhappy = he is not happy He is not able = he is unable so why to make it complex or unsolvable? [Negative + negative = positive ] This idea is never wrong Judge you mind and everything will be right . Yes, there are many ways to make a sentence negative ( No , not , never , neither nor, hardly, using antonym etc... ) Feb 5 at 17:54
  • Double negative is never a solution Feb 5 at 17:58
  • I'm trying to keep things simple. In English, double negatives sometimes are positive, sometimes are negative. In French, some double negatives are always negative . So you can't ever use logic. The point is that you can't "transform" since this isn't a transformation. It is a rephrasing
    – James K
    Feb 5 at 22:31

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