Tuesday, May 26, 2020

How to Use French Double Negatives

Grammarians insist that two negatives make a positive. While this may be true in English, in French two negatives usually make a stronger negative. Double negation is very common in French, particularly informal French. However, there are some rules and regulations when using double negatives in French. Double Negation With N e... Pas When ne... pas is used in a double negative with rien, it negates rien so that the meaning is not nothing:Ce nest pas rien.Its not nothing Its something.Ne... pas cannot be used with aucun, jamais, or personne.Wrong: Je nai pas aucun ami.Right: Je nai aucun ami.I have no friends.Wrong: Je ne veux pas jamais grandir.Right: Je ne veux jamais grandir.I never want to grow up.Wrong: Je nai pas vu personne.Right: Je nai vu personne.I didnt see anyone. Double Negation With​ ​Ne... Jamais and Ne... Plus Jamais and plus can be used with one another and with the negative words aucun, personne, and rien.On ne voit jamais aucune perfection.One never sees any perfection.Literally, One never sees no perfection.Je nai jamais blessà © personne.I have never hurt anyone.Literally, I have never hurt no one.Je nai jamais rien volà ©.I have never stolen anything.Literally, I have never stolen nothing.Je nai plus aucun argent.I dont have any money any more.Literally, I dont have no money any more.Je ne peux plus jamais lui parler.I can never talk to him again.Literally, I cant never talk to him again.Je ne vois plus personne.I dont see anyone any more.Literally, I dont see no one any more. Ne... Pas Que Ne... pas que is a special case. The negative adverb ne... que means only, so ne... pas que means not only:Il ny avait que des hommes.There were only men. vs.Il ny avait pas que des hommes.There werent only men.Je ne regrette quune chose.I regret only one thing. vs.Je ne regrette pas quune chose.I dont regret only one thing.

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