Subtypes of asymmetric standard negation

This parameter considers the subtypes of standard asymmetric negation.

The various subtypes of asymmetric negation are detailed in this parameter. Concerning the definition of asymmetric standard negation cf. the parameter Standard negation.

In some languages, negative sentences differ in their use of nonfinite verb forms (usually appearing with a finite negative verb), while in others negation may apply the irrealis mood or modify another grammatical category, such as person, number, tense, aspect, or mood. It is possible for these grammatical categories to remain consistent across affirmative and negative statements, while their markers are distinct for negation. Alternatively, given grammatical categories may actually disappear with negation.


NoAsym: The language does not have asymmetric negation.[1]

AsymFinCop: Affirmative sentences use finite verbs, while negative sentences use nonfinite verbs, with the grammatical categories of the verb partially or wholly expressed by the (negative) copula.

AsymFinNonCat: Affirmative sentences use finite verbs, while negative sentences use nonfinite verbs. Furthermore, grammatical categories such as person, number, and TAM are expressed on affirmative verbs, but not marked on their negative counterparts.

AsymNonreal: In contrast to affirmative sentences, negative sentences involve the use of an irrealis marker.[2]

AsymCatNonPdg: Negative sentences involve the use of negative-specific morphemes to mark grammatical categories such as person, number, tense, aspect, and mood on the verb, in contrast to their affirmative counterparts. The marked categories themselves do not differ between affirmative and negative sentences.

AsymCatPdg: Certain grammatical categories (such as person, number, tense, aspect, and mood) that are marked in affirmative sentences are not distinguished in negative sentences. This is also referred to as paradigmatic categorical asymmetry.[3]

AsymWO: There is an obligatory change in morpheme order of the verb root and its affix in negative sentences, compared to their affirmative counterparts.

When a language displays both types, multiple values can be listed. If one type is dominant, a slash (/) can separate the two values, with the dominant value appearing first; if neither is dominant, they are listed with an ampersand (&) separating the two. Dominance should be clearly defined in the commentary. In listing both types, care should be given to avoid overrepresentation of sporadic use of one type. The use of parentheses indicates that use of the strategy is not obligatory, while the use of a plus sign (+) instead of an ampersand indicates that the two strategies must be used simultaneously.


[1] If the language displays the value Sym for the parameter Standard negation, the same value will automatically apply for this parameter as well.

[2] If the use of the irrealis mood requires further clausal modifications, this is not considered to constitute a separate difference between negative and affirmative sentences, since the relationship between the given modification and negation is only indirect.

[3] As a result, there do not exist exact negative counterparts of each affirmative verb form, and vice versa.