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).


  • 没有 去 上班。méiyǒu qù shàngbān.I didn't go to work.
  • 他们 没有 说话。Tāmen méiyǒu shuōhuà.They didn't speak.
  • 没有 喝 你 的 啤酒。méiyǒu hē nǐ de píjiǔ.I didn't drink your beer.
  • 没有 看到 你。méiyǒu kàndào nǐ.She didn't see you.
  • 没有 吃 早饭。méiyǒu chī zǎofàn.I didn't eat breakfast.
  • 宝宝 哭。有 has been omitted here.Bǎobao méi kū.The baby didn't cry.
  • 你 昨天 回家 吗?Nǐ zuótiān méi huíjiā ma?You didn't go back home yesterday?
  • 老板 今天 来 吗? Lǎobǎn jīntiān méi​ lái ma?The boss didn't come today?
  • 老师 今天 生气 。 Lǎoshī jīntiān méi shēngqì.The teacher didn't get angry today.
  • 妈妈 晚上 做饭。 Māma wǎnshang méi zuòfàn.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.

  • 没有méiyǒu zuò le.
  • 没有 做。méiyǒu zuò.I didn't do it.

See also

Sources and further reading