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French Negative Sentences – 2

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Elles n’ont pas mangé. Moi, non plus.

French Negative Sentences Basics

A negative structure in French has two parts which surround the verb. The most common negative structure uses pas (or pas de) such as in the following:

Je ne mange pas aujourd’hui.              --             I don’t eat today.

............. ne VERBE pas                            --              not VERB

More here

Other Negative Structures

There are many other negative structures in French:

  • ne … plus -- no more, not anymore
  • ne … jamais -- never
  • ne … rien -- nothing, not anything
  • ne … personne* -- nobody
  • ne … aucun/e* -- any
  • ne … nulle part* -- nowhere

* when using a compound tense, personne, aucun/e and nulle part go after the past participle:

............. Je n'ai vu personne. Je n’ai personne vu.

You may want to add “plus” (anymore, any longer) to most of these structures:

  • ne … plus jamais  --  never anymore
  • ne … plus rien  --  nothing/not anything anymore
  • ne … plus personne → nobody/no one anymore
  • ne … plus aucun → not any anymore
  • ne … plus nulle part → nowhere anymore

Two More Structures

There are two more instances I want to point out:

  • non plus (≠ aussi) -- either, neither
  • (ne) … ni … ni -- neither … nor…

NE used on its own

Je ne sais pourquoi vous êtes partis si tôt.

I don’t know why you left so early.

In formal or very formal French, and to make it sound more literary and more elegant. a negative sentence may have only the NE part, and not the ‘pas’, ‘plus’, ‘jamais’, etc., particularly with these four verbs an infinitive. It should not be mixed up with the expletive NE.

ne cesser de …. to not stop

n’oser …. to not dare

ne pouvoir …. to not be able to

ne savoir …. to not know

Examples

Elle ne cesse de me poser la question.

She doesn’t stop asking me the question.

On ne peut apprendre le français en 2 mois.

It’s impossible to learn French in two months.

Ils n’osèrent l’approcher.

They didn’t dare get near him/her.

Il ne savait que répondre.

He didn’t know what to answer.

Related: Negative Sentences - 1 . Negative Sentences - 3 . Play online . French Expletive NE .

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