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    A Beginner’s Guide To French Negation and Its Rules

    French negation can be tough but not with this guide. Easy tips and tricks to use French negation like a pro which with practice helps you learn French faster.

    A Beginner’s Guide To French Negation and Its Rules
    By Michelle
    21 November 2019
    french negation, A Beginner’s Guide To French Negation and Its Rules

    French Grammar French Lessons

    A Beginner’s Guide To French Negation and Its Rules


For example: je n’aime pas nager (I don’t like swimming) Here we’ll show you how to create sentences structured as ne+verb+pas in different types of tenses.

1. Present Tense

With ne+verb+pas formula, an example in a sentence; je ne mange pas de poisson. (I don’t eat fish.) , vous ne vous battez plus. (You don’t fight again.)

2. Future Tense

Just as we had mentioned above, the same case applies here also.

Example in a sentence;
je n’irai pas a la chasse. (I won’t go hunting.)

3. Near Future Tense

When constructing sentences in the near future we use the aller followed by an infinite verb.

Example in a sentence;
je ne vais pas dessiner demain. (I will not draw tomorrow.)

It’s important to ensure that you put ne, pas, and aller along with each other and not with the infinite verb.

4. Perfect Tense

Here, we will be using the same structure as in French negative sentences in the near future tense. This is because the passe compose (perfect tense) is formed using etre or avoir followed by a past participle, but the ‘ne‘ and ‘pas’ along with the conjugated verb, that is the etre.

To know more about French verb etre, click here.

For example:
Vous n’avez pas encore cuisiné. (You haven’t cooked yet.)

5. Imperative Form

The imperative form can be used to give out a command or an order.

Example in a sentence;
Ne pars pas! ( don’t go!)

6. With Object Pronoun

You should say ne+ pronoun+verb+pas instead of ne + verb + pas, where there is an object pronoun.

Example in a sentence;
je ne l’acheterai pas. ( I will not buy it.)

7. Ask a Negative Question

ne pas‘ can as well be used to ask questions in French. When asking a question using inversion, the structure becomes; ne + verb + pronoun+ pas+ infinitive.

Tu ne danses pas? (Don’t you dance?)
Tu ne veux pas venir? (You don’t want to come)

This should not worry you as it may seem a bit complicated, right? It’s only in grammar books that you’ll question structured in this form.

Say “never”, “nobody” or “nothing

Up this point, I’d like to believe that you know how to create negative sentences in French. However, if you want to say “never”, “nothing”, or “nobody” instead of ‘not’, this is simple, all you need to do is use, personne (nobody), jamais (never), and rien (nothing) instead of ‘not’.

Example in a sentence;
je ne t’oublierai jamais (I will never forget you.)
Je ne vois personne (I don’t see anyone).
Rien n’est sur la table. (Nothing is on the table.)

French people don’t use ‘ne‘ in their sentences when they speak

In some cases, mostly informal situations, it is acceptable to leave the ‘ne‘ when speaking.

For example:
Je ne travaille jamais le dimanche (I never work on Sundays), french people speak it as Je travaille jamais le dimanche

With this guide, now you can comfortably create French negative sentences. Doing this and practice forming these sentences will help you improve your skills in French. For further mentoring and guidance, you may connect to our French tutors

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