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The negative sentences in French, explained!

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The French Negative Sentence: A Complete Guide

Are you learning French and struggling with the negative sentence? Fear not, as we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about forming negative sentences in French.

What is a Negative Sentence in French?

A negative sentence in French is a sentence that expresses negation or the opposite of a positive statement. Unlike English, French negative sentences use two words to express negation – “ne” and “pas.”

Forming a Negative Sentence in French

Forming a negative sentence in French is relatively easy. All you need to do is put “ne” before the verb and “pas” after it. For example: “Je ne parle pas français” means “I don’t speak French.”

The General Rule

The general rule for forming a negative sentence in French is to use the structure “ne + verb + pas.” This structure is used for all verbs, regardless of their type or conjugation.

Particular Cases

While the general rule for forming a negative sentence is “ne + verb + pas,” there are a few particular cases you should be aware of. These cases include using “ne…rien” to mean “nothing,” “ne…jamais” to mean “never,” “ne…plus” to mean “no longer,” and “ne…personne” to mean “nobody.”

Ne…Rien

“Ne…rien” is used to mean “nothing.” For example, “Je ne mange rien” means “I’m not eating anything.”

Ne…Jamais

“Ne…jamais” is used to mean “never.” For example, “Je ne vois jamais mes cousins” means “I never see my cousins.”

Ne…Plus

“Ne…plus” is used to mean “no longer.” For example, “Je ne joue plus au football” means “I don’t play football anymore.”

Ne…Personne

“Ne…personne” is used to mean “nobody.” For example, “Je ne connais personne ici” means “I don’t know anybody here.”

Ne…Guère

Another specific case of negation in French is “ne… guère”. This structure is used to express “not much” or “hardly” and is usually placed after the verb. For example, “Je ne parle guère français” means “I don’t speak much French” or “I hardly speak French”.

It’s worth noting that “ne… guère” is considered quite formal and is not commonly used in spoken French. Instead, people tend to use more informal expressions like “pas tellement” or “pas beaucoup” to convey the same meaning. However, it can be useful to know this structure for formal writing or when encountering it in literature.

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Ne…Ni…Ni

Another important negation structure in French is “ne… ni… ni…”. This structure is used to express “neither… nor…” and is used when negating two or more items in a sentence. For example, “Je n’aime ni les pommes ni les oranges” means “I don’t like either apples or oranges”.

Exercise

Now that you’ve learned the different structures for forming negative sentences in French, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test! Watch the vidéo and try to form negative sentences using the different structures we’ve covered.

Conclusion

In conclusion, forming negative sentences in French is relatively easy once you understand the basic structure. However, it’s important to be aware of the particular cases, as they require specific structures to be used. With this guide, you should be able to confidently form negative sentences in French and improve your language skills.

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