Emphasizing positive and negative sentences using auxiliary verbs

Helika

Senior Member
Ukrainian, Russian
Hello, everyone :)

I will be really happy if you could help me with the emphatic sentences, in particular I would like to make sure which word we should emphasize in positive and negative sentences. And could you please tell me which emphatic sentences sound better to your ear: 3.2, 4.2, 5.2 or 3.3, 4.3, 5.3. In my examples I wrote the stressed words in capital letters and highlighted them in bold:

1.1) He DOES work hard. - 1.2) He does NOT work hard.
2.1) I WAS at work. - 2.2) I was NOT at work.
3.1) I AM at work now. - 3.2) I am NOT at work now. [or] 3.3) I'm NOT at work now.
4.1) I WILL call him. - 4.2) I will NOT call him. [or] 4.3) I'll NOT call him.
5.1) I HAVE called him. - 5.2) I have NOT called him. [or] 5.3) I've NOT called him.

Could you please tell me if we shorten an auxiliary verb and not, will it sound like an emphatic sentence? Or do we have to say full word 'not' to emphasize our sentence like in the examples above? E.g.

1) He DOESN'T work hard.
2) I WON'T call him.
3) I HAVEN'T called him.

As I understand we cannot emphasize questions with auxiliary verbs. Could you please correct me if I am wrong?

Thank you all for your time and help :thank you:
Have a great day ;)
 
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  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I take it that the emphasis you want to give is in response to someone else saying the opposite:
    A: He doesn't work hard. He's always lazing about.​
    B: He does work hard.​

    In this case, the following are all fine (although 4.3 would not be used by many people):
    1.1) He DOES work hard. - 1.2) He does NOT work hard.
    2.1) I WAS at work. - 2.2) I was NOT at work.

    4.1) I WILL call him. - 4.2) I will NOT call him. [or] 4.3) I'll NOT call him.
    5.1) I HAVE called him. - 5.2) I have NOT called him. [or] 5.3) I've NOT called him.
    The (3) sentences are odd because of "now". This detracts from the emphasis:
    A: You're not at work now. I can tell from the background noises.​
    B: I am at work.​
    Could you please tell me if we shorten an auxiliary verb and not, will it sound like an emphatic sentence? Or do we have to say full word 'not' to emphasize our sentence like in the examples above? E.g.

    1) He DOESN'T work hard.
    2) I WON'T call him.
    3) I HAVEN'T called him.
    These are fine. They are a little less emphatic than the "He does not work hard" forms.
     

    Helika

    Senior Member
    Ukrainian, Russian
    I take it that the emphasis you want to give is in response to someone else saying the opposite:
    A: He doesn't work hard. He's always lazing about.B: He does work hard.
    Hello, Uncle Jack :)

    Thank you so much for your answers, you really helped me with such sentences. Thank you :thank you:

    Yes, you are right, that's exactly what I was trying to say.

    The (3) sentences are odd because of "now". This detracts from the emphasis:
    A: You're not at work now. I can tell from the background noises.B: I am at work.
    I got you. So if we omit the word 'now', will they be fine?

    3.1) I AM at work. - 3.2) I am NOT at work. [or] 3.3) I'm NOT at work.

    Thank you :thank you:
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Could you please tell me if we can emphasize only special questions (What, How, Why etc.) or we can emphasize general questions too? E.g.:

    Did you eat before bed?
    DID you eat before bed?

    Thank you :thank you:
    You can emphasise almost anything in English. The important thing with auxiliary verbs, particularly the addition of "do" to positive statements, is that it emphasises the positive verb in contrast to an assertion of the negative:
    A: You don't really love me.​
    B: I do love you!​
    However, this isn't the only emphasis that you can give a sentence:
    A: Why do you spend so much time with Mary. You must really love her.​
    B: I don't love Mary, I love you!​
    or
    A: I find it really sweet that you like me.​
    B: I don't just like you, I love you!​
    or
    A: Have you seen this brooch that Peter gave me. He must really love me.​
    B: Peter doesn't love you. I love you!​

    Your question emphasising "did" is fine, although I am not sure whether it conveys the meaning you think it does. It is used by a person who doubts whether the other person actually ate before bed, even though the general expectation is that the other person did eat before bed.
     

    Helika

    Senior Member
    Ukrainian, Russian
    You can emphasise almost anything in English. The important thing with auxiliary verbs, particularly the addition of "do" to positive statements, is that it emphasises the positive verb in contrast to an assertion of the negative:
    Hello, Uncle Jack.

    Thank you very much for your explanation. You really helped me. Thank you :thank you:

    It must be late in your country, so good night.
     
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