Believe it or not, making negative sentences in French is easier than you think. In this article, you will discover how to form negation in French and learn about all the similarities and differences in English.
Saying no is equally important as saying yes. Starting today, you’ll be able to say no, disapprove and disagree as much as you want in French.
How to Make a Negative Sentence in French
The most common way of putting a statement into the negative is to add the negative particles ne and pas to the verb.
“NE” (or “N’”, if the verb begins with a vowel) and “PAS”:
SUBJECT + “NE (N’)” + VERB + “PAS” + COMPLEMENT
We’ll show you the whole process of making a negative sentence. Let’s start with the affirmative sentence.
Je parle anglais.
I speak English.
To make this sentence negative, we have to place ne, in front of the verb “parler” and pas after the verb.
Je parle anglais. → Je ne parle pas anglais.
l speak English. → l don’t speak English.
Let’s see another example.
Il connaît le pays. → Il ne connaît pas le pays.
He knows the country. → He does not know the country.
Different Types of Negation in French
In French, just like in English, different nuances exist to express negation.
Here is a list of different ways to express negation with examples.
NE… JAMAIS / never
Je ne regarde jamais la télé.
l never watch TV.
NE…PLUS / not yet
Nous ne voulons plus de gateau.
We don’t want any more cakes.
NE…GUERE / hardly, barely
Tu n’as guère mangé.
You hardly ate anything.
NE…RIEN / nothing
Je ne regrette rien!
I regret nothing!
NE…PERSONNE / nobody, no one, not anybody
Je ne vois personne.
l don’t see anyone.
Je n’ai pas encore fait le devoir.
I haven’t done my homework yet.
NE…PAS DU TOUT / not at all
Elle n’aime pas du tout l’école.
She doesn’t like school at all.
Expressing Negation in French and English
Like English, French has several ways of converting an affirmative sentence into a negative sentence.
Let’s start with English.
The affirmative statement “He has some dark chocolates”, can be put into the negative in different ways, either “He doesn’t have any dark chocolates”, or else “He has no dark chocolates”. In the first case, the negation is applied to the verb, in the second it is applied to the direct noun object.
The French negation in the present tense is usually translated as “don’t” or ‘doesn’t” in English.
Je n’aime pas le chocolat.
l don’t like chocolat.
Il n’aime pas étudier.
He doesn’t like to study.
In everyday situations, the French commonly omit the “n” and say “J’ai pas faim” (I’m not hungry).
This rule should always be respected in the written form: “Je n’ai pas faim”.
Always use the N’ or the NE when writing.
Now, the difficulty is to determine whether a sentence is negative if you don’t hear the “ne”.
Here are a couple of keywords to focus on, that will help you see whether the phrase is negative or not.
- and other negative words
All of these words tell you that the sentence is negative.
Useful Negative Sentences in French
Je ne comprends pas.
l don’t understand.
Je ne bois pas du café.
l don’t drink coffee.
Je ne vais pas au cinema souvent.
l don’t often go to the cinema.
Je ne veux pas de pain.
l don’t want bread.
Je ne sais pas.
l don’t know.
Je n’aime pas jouer le foot.
l don’t like to play football.
Français. Tu Aimes ou Tu N’Aimes Pas ?
What a silly question, you might think. Of course, we know your answer. You don’t love it. You are crazy about it.
We wanted to finish this post with your love for French in mind. It’s impressive how far your love can take you when learning French. Never lose sight of “the reason why”.