Negative words make things mean the opposite. For example: Mr. Morton is not boring. In this sentence the negative word is not. Without the word not, the sentence has exactly the opposite meaning (and is entirely untrue :D). There are lots of negative words in the English language such as not, never, no, nowhere, and nothing. Negative words are an essential feature of our language and there is nothing wrong with using them.
The problem with negative words comes into play when speakers and writers start stacking them. Using more than one negative word in a phrase or clause can be very confusing for readers and listeners. The reason for this is that the negative words cancel each other. For example: Mr. Morton is never not boring. This sentence is hard to understand (and completely false :D). The negative words cancel one another. Readers and listeners have to figure out that that confusing sentence means the same as this simple one: Mr. Morton is always boring. This brings me to my next point. If you are stacking negative words and using more than one in a phrase or clause, you are doing it wrong. There is an easier way to say it. It is the job of the speaker or writer to communicate clearly. Using double negatives makes it hard to do this job.
This page contains a collection of resources to help students recognize and avoid using double negatives. The worksheets on double negatives can be printed, edited, or completed online and are free for use in homes and classrooms. I’ve also created a PowerPoint lesson on the topic of double negatives and recorded an instructional video. You are welcome to use these to achieve your learning goals as well. Best wishes!
Double Negatives Worksheet 1 – Looking for practice identifying negative words? This worksheet features 10 practice problems themed around some “brave” knights. Students circle the negative words in each sentence and then rewrite the sentences without using double negatives.
Double Negatives Worksheet 1 | RTF
Double Negatives Worksheet 1 | PDF
Double Negatives Worksheet 1 | Preview
Double Negatives Worksheet 1 | Answers
Double Negatives Worksheet 1 | Ereading Worksheet
Double Negatives Worksheet 2 – Are you still looking for practice identifying negative words? You’ve found it! This worksheet contains 10 more practice problems. This time the examples are themed around tennis players. Students identify the negative words and then rewrite the sentences without using double negatives. So much fun!
Double Negatives Worksheet 2 | RTF
Double Negatives Worksheet 2 | PDF
Double Negatives Worksheet 2 | Preview
Double Negatives Worksheet 2 | Answers
Double Negatives Worksheet 2 | Ereading Worksheet
Double Negatives Worksheet 3 – You can’t get enough practice identifying negative words, can you? Well, this is the last worksheet on the topic that I have right now. Fortunately, it’s a good one. This worksheet has 10 more sentences with double or triple negatives. This time the worksheet is themed around prospectors and claim jumpers. Once again, students will find the negative words and rewrite the sentences without double negatives. They are going to love this one.
Double Negatives Worksheet 3 | RTF
Double Negatives Worksheet 3 | PDF
Double Negatives Worksheet 3 | Preview
Double Negatives Worksheet 3 | Answers
Double Negatives Worksheet 3 | Ereading Worksheet
Double Negatives Lesson – Want to teach your students about double negatives? This PowerPoint lesson will give you a great starting point. It covers all the basics and gives some great examples. Want to see how I present it? Watch the video lesson posted below.
Double Negatives Lesson | PPT
Double Negatives Video Lesson – Want me to teach your students about double negatives? Check out this video lesson. I’ve posted a link directly to the file in case your school blocks YouTube.
Double Negatives Video Lesson | Direct Link