French Negation

La Négation

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Making sentences negative in French is a bit more complicated than in English. This summary of the different kinds of negation and negation-related grammatical structures should help clear up some of the confusion. The title of each negation category links to a detailed lesson with examples of usage and a quiz.

(Don't) just say non
No, not a chance, I don't think so, and more.
pas question !
Negative adverbs
Negate or restrict the action of the verb they modify.
ne... pas
ne... jamais
Negative adjectives
Negate or cast doubt on a quality of the noun they modify.
ne... nul
ne... aucun
Negative pronouns
Negate or cast doubt on the existence of the noun they replace.
ne... rien
ne... personne
Negative conjunction
There's only one:
ne... ni... ni...
Negative questions
There's a special French word to respond yes when someone else says;br>
- Non.
- Si !
Negating infinitives
2-part negative structures stay together in front of infinitives.
Ne pas toucher.
Ne jamais fermer.
N'importe... expressions
Designate an unspecified person, thing, or characteristic.
n'importe qui
n'importe quel...
Negate a non-verbal structure.
pas beaucoup
pas souvent
Double negatives
Two negatives don't make a positive in French.
Ce n'est pas rien.
Je n'ai jamais vu personne.
Formal negation
There are three negative structures particular to formal French.
ne... point
avant qu'il ne...
Informal negation
is often dropped in spoken French.
Je sais pas.
Bouge pas !
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Team, ThoughtCo. "French Negation." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Team, ThoughtCo. (2023, April 5). French Negation. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "French Negation." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 9, 2023).