There are so many differences between Chinese and English negative sentence expression in aspects of words, grammar, sentence style etc. In forms of English negative sentences are various. Negative sentence styles include completely negative(完全否定), partially negative(部分否定), meaning negative(意义否定), double-negative(双重否定) and nearly negative(几乎否定).

Therefore, we should pay more attention to this kind of sentences, especially during science and technology translation.

1. Partially negative

There is a feature for this kind of sentence – partially negative, partially positive in one sentence. The negative word “not” is used with following words: all, always, some, both, every, many, much, well, often etc. They are generally translated into“并非所有”、“并非每个”、“未必都”、“不全是”、“不都是”、“不总是”、“不是都”、“并未都”、“不多”、“不常”etc.

For example

a. All metals do not conduct electricity equally well.


b. Not many of the couples are harmonious at the beginning of his marriage.


2. Completely negative

In these sentences, there often are such words: not, no, none, never, neither…nor…, nothing, nobody, etc.

For example

a. Neither refractory materials nor magnetic materials can be used to make the part.


b. In past five year, he has never visited his parents.


3. Meaning negative

Some English sentences seem to be positive from their forms. However, some words with negative meanings exist in them. We should make use of appropriate ways to express their negative meanings.

For example

a. One wonders also why Nature with some snakes concocted poison of such extreme potency.


b. The performance of the machine is short of business requirements.


c. The size of the part is too big for proper assembly.

零件尺寸太大,不宜装配。(too…for…; too…to…)

Read Also: Schinders Law Multilingual Translation Case Study

4. Double-negative

In fact, double-negative sentence is affirmative sentence, but the mood of the first one is stronger than that of the second one. Generally speaking, this kind of sentence consists of words “not, no, never, neither, nobody, nothing, etc” and other negative words. They can be translated into double-negative sentences or affirmative sentences.

For example

a. Without the laws of motion as a basis, thousands of discoveries and inventions would have been out of the question.


b. Dynamics is a discipline that can’t be mastered without lots of practice.


5. Other sentences

In some sentences, there are this kind of words, such as barely, nearly, hardly, few, little, seldom, almost no, rarely, etc. They can be translated into “极少、几乎没(不)、很少…”

For example

a. Little information is given as to his life experience.


b. To our surprise, Tom had almost no tear when he knew that his mother had passed away.


The above is my conclusion about negative sentences translation. I really hope it can help you. If you have translation requirement or question, please contact our company CCJK. I am Hana, also welcome send me email [email protected]. We are waiting for you, dear friend.