English Grammar Exercises for B2 – Negative structures

1. Choose the correct answers (a-c) to complete the text.

We 1) ___ expect our family or friends to turn against us and there can 2) ___ be a worse betrayal than one committed by a best friend. 3) ___ in literature has this been more powerfully expressed than by Shakespeare in his play Julius Caesar. 4) ___ Caesar sees his best friend Brutus among his murderers does he realise the extent of the betrayal against him. 5) ___ has Brutus stabbed him than Caesar falls to his death, speaking the famous line ‘Et tu, Brute?’, meaning ‘And you, Brutus?’ This is now a phrase often used to express sadness and surprise when you are let down by someone considered to be a trusted friend. Perhaps, like Caesar, it’s 6) ___ we are let down badly by a good friend that we appreciate how devastating a betrayal can be.

1)  a nowhere  b never              c no sooner

2)  a hardly  b not until         c only if

3)  a Not only  b In no way       c Nowhere

4)  a At no time  b Only when     c Rarely

5)  a No sooner  b Only once      c Under no circumstances

6)  a not only  b hardly             c not until

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1) b   2) a   3) c   4) b   5) a   6) c

2. Write the words in brackets in the correct order to complete the sentences.

1) Rarely (so / she / felt / unhappy / had).


2) Nowhere (find / will / you / a / friend / better).


3) Only (argued / have / ever / once / we).


4) In no (did / to / upset / I / anyone / way / mean)!


5) At (should / lies / tell / time / no / you).


6) Under (can / him / no / you / circumstances / trust).


7) Not (we / will / get / results / Friday / until / our).


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1) had she felt so unhappy

2) will you find a better friend

3) once have we ever argued

4) way did I mean to upset anyone

5) no time should you tell lies

6) no circumstances can you trust him

7) until Friday will we get our results

3. Match the sentence halves.

1) She was sorry

2) Do you regret

3) Wouldn’t it be sensible

4) Hasn’t she

5) Weren’t you

6) He is certain

7) He’ll be lucky

a split up with Nick?

b not to keep his promise.

c to go to bed early?

d not to lose her friendship.

e at the café yesterday?

f not inviting Jane?

g not to see him at the club.

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1) g   2) f   3) c   4) a   5) e   6) b   7) d

4. Complete the dialogue with one word in each gap. Use negative structures.

Ada  Hi, Jan! 1) _______ you go out with Sara last night?

Jan   Yes, we went out for a pizza.

Ada  I was really sorry 2) _______ to be able to join you. Did you have a good time?

Jan   Not really, no. No sooner 3) _______ we arrived 4) _______ we had a row!

Ada  Oh, that’s not good.

Jan   I know. And not 5) _______ that, but she isn’t speaking to me now.

Ada  6 _______ it be a good idea to phone her and apologise?

Jan   Probably – I regret not 7) _______ to her at the time, but I was too angry.

Ada  Well, under 8) _______ circumstances should you forget to say sorry!

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1) Didn’t   2) not   3) had   4) than   5) only   6) Wouldn’t

7) apologising   8) no

5. Complete the second sentence so that it means the same as the first. Write up to five words in each sentence.

1) We mustn’t under any circumstances lose this key.

 Under __________________ lose this key.

2) This band isn’t at all special.

 In __________________ at all special.

3) I regretted going as soon as I got there.

No sooner __________________ I regretted going.

4) friends haven’t judged me at any time.

At no __________________ judged me.

5) Bill wished he’d kept his news a secret.

Bill regretted __________________ a secret.

6) It was fortunate that we didn’t get lost.

We were lucky __________________

7) I’m sure Jerry went into town last night.

________ town last night?

8) I can’t make a decision until I’ve spoken to Pat.

     Not __________________ Pat can I make a decision.

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1) no circumstances must we   2) no way is this band

3) had I got there than   4) time have friends

5) not keeping his news   6) not to get lost

7) Didn’t Jerry go into   8) until I’ve spoken to

6. Rewrite the sentences using inversion.

1) I’ve never been so embarrassed in life.


2) You shouldn’t leave the resort under any circumstances.


3) There won’t be another delivery until next week.


4) I ran into an old friend as soon as I left house.


5) They didn’t consider splitting up at any time.


6) We hadn’t seen such poverty anywhere before.


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1) Never (in life) have I been so embarrassed (in life).

2) Under no circumstances should you leave the resort.

3) Not until next week will there be another delivery.

4) No sooner had I left house than I ran into an old friend.

5) At no time did they consider splitting up.

6) Nowhere (before) had we seen such poverty (before).

7. Complete the second sentence so that it means the same as the first. Write five words in each sentence. (Contractions count as two words.)

1) The plate was very hot, but I didn’t drop it.

   I managed ______________ although it was very hot.

2) Oscar had been offered a job, so he opted out of going to university.

  Oscar chose ______________ because he had been offered a job.

3) Living in the country, I don’t usually hear very much traffic.

  I’m used to ______________ because I live in the country.

4) I thought your sister took her driving test last week.

  ____________ her driving test last week?

5) I think we should go home now.

______________ now?

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1) not to drop the plate   2) not to go to university

3) not hearing very much traffic   4) Didn’t your sister take

5) Should / Shouldn’t we go home