Apprendre la Langue Française (Part 48): la négation (une introduction)


This summarizes the different kinds of negation and negation-related grammatical structures. Each will be discussed in details as we go along.

(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.



Negative adjectives 

Negate or cast doubt on a quality of the noun they modify.



Negative pronouns 

Negate or cast doublt on the existing of the noun they replace.



Negative conjunction 

There’s only one.…ni…
Negative questions 

There’s a special French word to respond yes to negative questions.

– Non. 

– Si!

Negative infinitives 

2-part negative structures stay together in front of inifinitives.

Ne pas toucher. 

Ne jamais fermer.


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.


avant qu’il ne…

Je ne peux le faire.

Informal negation 

Ne is often dropped in spoken French.

Je sais pas. 

Bouge pas!


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