Languages › French French Negative Adverbs: How to Form Them They're compounds, most often with 'ne' and 'pas.' But alternatives abound. Share Flipboard Email Print Tom Merton / Getty Images French Grammar Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Resources For Teachers By ThoughtCo Team Updated November 04, 2019 Making sentences negative in French is a bit different than in English, due to the two-part negative adverb and the sometimes difficult placement. Normally, ne...pas is the first negative adverb that we learn. But there are actually many negative adverbs constructed just like it, so once you understand ne... pas, you can make just about any sentence negative. Using 'Ne'...'Pas' To make a sentence or question negative, place ne in front of the conjugated verb and pas (or one of the other negative adverbs) after it. Ne...pas translates roughly as "not."Je suis riche > Je ne suis pas riche.I'm rich > I'm not rich.Êtes-vous fatigué ? > N'êtes-vous pas fatigué ?Are you tired? > Aren't you tired?In compound verbs and dual-verb constructions, the negative adverbs surround the conjugated verb (except for nulle part, which follows the main verb).Je n'ai pas étudié.I didn't study.Nous n'aurions pas su.We wouldn't have known.Il ne sera pas arrivé.He won't have arrived.Tu n'avais pas parlé ?You hadn't spoken?Il ne veut pas skier.He doesn't want to ski.Je ne peux pas y aller.I can't go there.When there is an indefinite article or partitive article in a negative construction, the article changes to de, meaning "(not) any":J'ai une pomme > Je n'ai pas de pomme.I have an apple > I don't have any apples. Using 'Ne' and an Alternative to 'Pas' Ne...pas is the most common French negative adverb, but there are a number of others that follow the same rules of grammar. ne...pas encore not yet Il n'est pas encore arrivé. He has not arrived yet. ne...pas toujours not always Je ne mange pas toujours ici. I don't always eat here. ne...pas du tout not at all Je n'aime pas du tout les épinards. I don't like spinach at all. ne...pas non plus neither, not either Je n'aime pas non plus les oignons. I don't like onions either. ne...aucunement not at all, in no way Il n'est aucunement à blâmer. He is in no way to blame. ne...guère hardly, barely, scarcely Il n'y a guère de monde. There's hardly anyone there. ne...jamais never Nous ne voyageons jamais. We never travel. ne...nullement not at all Il ne veut nullement venir. He doesn't want to come at all. ne...nulle part nowhere Je ne l'ai trouvé nulle part. I couldn't find it anywhere. ne...point not (formal/literary equivalent of ne...pas) Je ne te hais point. I don't hate you. ne...plus no more, not anymore Vous n'y travaillez plus. You don't work there anymore. ne...que only Il n'y a que deux chiens. There are only two dogs. Using 'Pas' Without 'Ne' The French negative adverb pas is often used together with ne, but pas can also be used all by itself for various reasons. Pas can be used without ne to negate an adjective, adverb, noun, or pronoun. But it can also be used to negate a verb. Note that this use of pas alone is somewhat informal. In most cases, you should be able to construct a sentence using ne...pas that means the same thing. Pas + Adjective Il doit être ravi ! Pas ravi, mais content, oui.He must be delighted! Not delighted, but (yes, he is) happy.C'est un homme pas sympathique.He's not a nice man.Pas gentil, ça.That's not nice.Pas possible !That's not possible! Pas + Adverb Tu en veux ? Oui, mais pas beaucoup.Do you want some? Yes, but not a lot.Ça va ? Pas mal.How are you? Not bad.Pourquoi pas ?Why not?Pas comme ça !Not like that!Pas si vite !Not so fast!Pas souvent, pas encore, pas tropNot often; not yet; not too much Pas + Noun Elle vient mercredi ? Non, pas mercredi. Jeudi.Is she coming on Wednesday? No, not Wednesday. Thursday.Je veux deux bananes. Pas de bananes aujourd'hui.I want two bananas. No bananas today.Pas de problème !No problem! Pas + Pronoun Qui veut nous aider ? Pas moi !Who wants to help us? Not me!Tu as faim ? Pas du tout !Are you hungry? Not at all! Ah non, pas ça !Oh no, not that! Pas + Verb Je ne sais pas. > Je sais pas. Or contractions that are even more colloquial such as: J'sais pas, Sais pas, and even Chais pas.I don't know. Pas can also be used to ask for confirmation: Tu viens, ou pas ?Are you coming or not? Je l'aime bien, pas toi ? I really like it, don't you? Pas vrai ?Right? or Isn't that true? Note: Pas can also be a noun meaning "step," which is found in many French expressions. Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Team, ThoughtCo. "French Negative Adverbs: How to Form Them." ThoughtCo, Sep. 2, 2021, thoughtco.com/french-negative-adverbs-1368801. Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, September 2). French Negative Adverbs: How to Form Them. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/french-negative-adverbs-1368801 Team, ThoughtCo. "French Negative Adverbs: How to Form Them." 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