A traditional grammatical term for any statement that is positive, not negative. Also known as an assertive sentence.
Examples and Observations:
- It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up."
- "Time is swift, it races by; opportunities are born and die."
(attributed to A.A. Milne)
- "When you have shot one bird flying you have shot all birds flying. They are all different and they fly in different ways but the sensation is the same and the last one is as good as the first."
(Ernest Hemingway, "Fathers and Sons")
- "War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today."
(John F. Kennedy, quoted by Doris Kearns Goodwin in The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, 1987)
- Word Order After Question Words
"When the wh-question words introduce a noun clause, the noun clause follows normal affirmative sentence word order. This is a difficult concept for many learners of English to remember, even at advanced levels.
(18) I don't know where Melanie is.In Sentence (18) the noun clause is introduced by where and then followed by normal affirmative sentence word order."
(Andrea DeCapua, Grammar for Teachers: A Guide to American English for Native and Non-Native Speakers. Springer, 2008)
- Negating an Affirmative Sentence
"What is of particular interest here is that in natural language not all the information in an affirmative sentence is affected by negating it. Thus, to take the classic example, the natural denial of the king of France is bald, namely No, he isn't (No, the king of France is not bald) does not deny that France has a king. And thus we have a non-trival sentence which is a logical consequence of an affirmative sentence as well as its negation. Such sentences we shall call logical presuppositions of the affirmative sentence, and in general any information in a sentence which is not affected by denying it we shall call logically presupposed. Information which is affected by negation will be called logically asserted."
(Edward Keenan, "Negative Coreference: Generalizing Quantification for Natural Language." Formal Semantics and Pragmatics for Natural Languages, ed. by Franz Guenthner. D. Reidel, 1979)