la or lá (whenever stressed) is a negation adverb meaning "no, not"
The word can get pronominal endings as if a negative verb when a verb is not expressed, apparently where the phrase “is not” is followed by a noun or an adjective as a predicate, or where some verb is understood , as in English “I do not”.
- ala, ála "do not!"
- lanye "I do not, am not" (melin sé apa lanye hé *“I love him but I do not him [that one]”)
In another conceptual phase of Tolkien's, lá had the opposite meaning "yes"
Tolkien considered that the negation could receive tense markers however he later reconsidered it. The tenses where la was attested are:
- la (aorist)
- laia (present)
- láne (past)
- alaie (perfect)
- lauva (future)