How to Say 'None,' 'No One,' 'Nothing" in French

There is no one and not one computer in this office.
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French negative pronouns, sometimes called indefinite negative pronouns, are very similar to French negative adjectives and French negative adverbs. This is because they are made of two parts that surround usually the verb. Scroll down to the table for a full list of French negative pronouns and their English equivalents.

Negative pronouns negate, refuse, or cast doubt on the existence of the noun that they replace. They can be the subject, the direct object, or the indirect object in a sentence. They consist of ne and negative pronoun like aucun (none). The negative term pas is only used in two of these expressions: ne...pas un ("not one of") and ne...pas un seul ("not a single one").

  1. Personne as the subject: Personne ne me connaît ici. > No one knows me here.
  2. Aucun as the direct object: Je ne vends aucun des livres. > I'm not selling any of the books.
  3. Rien as the indirect object: Il ne pense à rien. He's not thinking about anything.

Word Order With Negative Pronouns

In simple tenses, the negative pronoun surrounds the verb. With compound verbs and dual-verb constructions, the first and second word of most* negative pronouns surround the conjugated (first) verb. The exceptions: Personne and aucun place ne in front of the conjugated verb and the second word after the main verb.

  • Je n'ai rien vu. > I didn't see anything.
  • Je ne veux pas acheter un seul des livres. > I don't want to buy a single one of the books.
    The exceptions:
  • Je n'ai vu personne. > I didn't see anyone.
  • Je ne veux acheter aucun des livres. > I don't want to buy any of the books.

Table of French Negative Pronouns

ne... aucun(e) (de)* none (of), not any (of)
ne... nul(le) no one
ne... pas un(e) (de)* not one (of)
ne... pas un(e) seul(e) (de)* not a single one (of)
ne... personne no one
ne... quiconque no one
ne... rien nothing, not... anything (expressions with rien)

*These pronouns must always have an antecedent. In addition, because they express a quantity, en must be used when these pronouns are the direct object of the sentence. Examples:

  • Aucun de mes amis n'est venu. > None of my friends came.
  • Mes amis ? Aucun n'est venu. > My friends? None came.
  • Mes amis ? Je n'en ai vu aucun. > My friends? I didn't see any of them.
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Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Say 'None,' 'No One,' 'Nothing" in French." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). How to Say 'None,' 'No One,' 'Nothing" in French. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "How to Say 'None,' 'No One,' 'Nothing" in French." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 28, 2023).

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