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American Sign Language: "don't" / "do not"

Often students ask me "How do you sign '
don't'?"  I always have to ask them what is the rest of the sentence in which they want to use the concept of "don't." The reason I need to know the rest of the sentence is because there isn't just "one" sign for "don't." There are dozens of ways to express the concept of "don't" in ASL. The right sign for "don't" depends on what you mean. Most of the time the concept is "incorporated" into the movement of the sign and the facial expressions or shaking of the head. For example, in the sign "don't understand" you express the concept of "don't" by using a negative headshake:



There is an actual sign for "DON'T."

I only use this sign only when I'm trying to make a strong point, or when I'm emphasizing something to a young child.


The sign "NOT" is quite often used to mean "don't."


The concept of "don't" is incorporated into some signs via reversal of orientation. 
See: don't want & don't like

Also see:

The concept of "don't" can also be expressed by simply shaking your head negatively.


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