Based on a wide variety of languages, this study examines the ways in which modal notions, such as permission and obligation, interact with negation. In particular, the study focuses on how ambiguities in scope are resolved. It is shown that languages overwhelmingly make use of two different strategies. The first strategy (the Modal Suppletion Strategy) is to use different modal verbs for the different scope interpretations. This strategy is found in languages such as English, Finnish, and Tamil. The second strategy (the Negation Placement Strategy), which is found in French, Russian, and Modern Greek (among others) is to use two different places for the negation to surface. It turns out that these two strategies have two different foundations: the first strategy is a semantic one, while the second strategy is syntactic in nature. That there is a difference can be shown by appealing to syntactic tests. The Modal Suppletion Strategy is not sensitive to these tests, while the Negation Placement Strategy is. It can also be shown that the two different strategies are correlated with word order: the Negation Placement Strategy is found exclusively in languages with a basic SVO order and with a negative morpheme that precedes the verb. This is checked against a database of 75 languages. Finally, these results are compared to other scope resolutions in languages.