Negation of past actions with "meiyou"
Use 没有 (méiyǒu) to negate past actions (to say that someone didn't do something, or something didn't happen).
Usually verbs can be negated with 不 (bù), but that construction is used for habitual or present actions. If the verb is about an action in the past, though, 没有 (méiyǒu) should be used:
Subj. + 没有 / 没 + Verb
Note that you can shorten 没有 (méiyǒu) to just 没 (méi).
- 我 没有 去 上班。I didn't go to work.
- 他们 没有 说话。They didn't speak.
- 我 没有 喝 你 的 啤酒。I didn't drink your beer.
- 她 没有 看到 你。She didn't see you.
- 我 没有 吃 早饭。I didn't eat breakfast.
- 宝宝 没 哭。有 has been omitted here.The baby didn't cry.
- 你 昨天 没 回家 吗？You didn't go back home yesterday?
- 老板 今天 没 来 吗？The boss didn't come today?
- 老师 今天 没 生气 。The teacher didn't get angry today.
- 妈妈 晚上 没 做饭。Mom didn't cook food this evening.
Go Easy on the 了 (le)
One thing you need to remember when using 没有 (méiyǒu) is that 了 (le) is not normally used with 没有 (méiyǒu). 了 (le) marks completed actions, while 没有 (méiyǒu) is used for actions that didn't happen (so of course they're not completed). These two don't work together. This is a very common mistake for beginner learners of Chinese.
- 我 没有 做 了 。
- 我 没有 做。I didn't do it.
Sources and further reading
- HSK Standard Course 1 (pp. 74) 40 Lessons for Basic Chinese Course (基础汉语40课上册） →buy
- Practicing HSK Grammar (语法精讲精炼) (pp. 32) 40 Lessons for Basic Chinese Course (基础汉语40课上册） →buy
- 现代汉语八百词（增订本） ]] (pp. 383) [ →buy] 现代汉语八百词（增订本） | ]]383␞现代汉语八百词（增订本） ␞Negation of past actions with "meiyou"| ]]
- Integrated Chinese: Level 1, Part 1 (3rd ed) (pp. 138-9) 40 Lessons for Basic Chinese Course (基础汉语40课上册） →buy
- Yoyo Chinese: Negation with 没