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American Sign Language: "negation"

The sign for "negative," or "minus" touches the side of your "index" finger to the palm of your base hand.


NEGATIVE or minus:



For most simple negation you don't need any separate sign--you just shake your head negatively while signing.
For example, if I sign "I TEACHER" while shaking my head negatively, it means "I'm not a teacher."


There is also a general sign that means "not." To sign "not," form your dominant hand into an "A" hand.  Touch the pad of the thumb under your chin.  Quickly move the hand forward a few inches.



There is a general sign for "don't."
This sign isn't used for signs like "DON'T-LIKE" and "DON'T-WANT."  Such signs use "reversal of orientation for negation" instead.

I rarely use this sign unless I'm attempting to strongly emphasize a point.


This is the general sign for "no."
You can use either a single or a double motion.  (Meaning, you can close the fingers and thumb either once or twice.)


"None of your business" = NYB  (Or even NYOB).

I've always thought this was interesting...the sign for "It's none of your business."  It comes from the first letters of the words "none of your business." Often the order is changed around a bit to be NYOB.  The reason is likely because it "rolls off the hand" much more smoothly than NOYB.  I haven't seen this sign for quite a while, (I guess I've been hanging out with a more polite group?), but it is such an interesting sign that I couldn't resist sharing it with you:  The movement is quick and ends with a type of flourish (in which you change into the B using sort of "be gone peasant" flick of the hand).


Also See:
don't want
don't like


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