Former une phrase négative

French Grammar (see all)

Want to improve your French? Test our online French lessons for free!

Former une phrase négative

Reminder: The negative form in French consists of putting 2 words (the negative adverbs) around the verb or auxiliary form.

In the imperative, ne always goes at the start of the sentence.
Ne fume pas ici ! Don’t smoke here!
Ne viens plus me voir ! Don’t come to see me any more!

With certain tenses (compound tenses such as the passé composé, plus-que-parfait, futur proche) the negative adverbs surround the auxiliary verb, not the main verb that follows.
Je suis allée au ciné avec Victor. Je ne suis pas allée au ciné avec Victor. I went to the cinema with Victor I didn’t go to the cinema with Victor.
Vous avez tout mangé ! Vous n’avez rien mangé ! You’ve eaten everything! You haven’t eaten anything!

Verbs in the infinitive are negated by putting both parts of the negative adverb (ne/pas, ne/plus, ne/jamais, etc.) in front of the infinitive.
Je te demande de m’appeler tous les jours ! Je te demande de ne pas m’appeler tous les jours ! I’m asking you to call me every day! I’m asking you not to call me every day!
Merci de fermer la porte Merci de ne pas fermer la porte. Please shut the door Please don’t shut the door.

When a pronoun is present in the sentence (y, en, le, me, etc.), ne precedes it.
Je n’y arrive pas. I can’t do it.
Je n’en peux plus. I can’t take it any more.
Je ne le vois jamais. I never see him / it.

Note: When the verbs aller, vouloir, pouvoir, devoir, faire, savoir are used as auxiliary verbs (and are followed by a verb in the infinitive), the same rule applies for negative constructions.
Je veux partir très loin ! Je ne veux pas partir très loin. I want to go far away! I don’t want to go far away.
Vous devez couper la barbe de Victor. Vous ne devez jamais couper la barbe de Victor. You should cut Victor’s beard. You should never cut Victor’s beard.

Still having difficulties with Former une phrase négative? Want to improve your French? Test our online French lessons and receive a free level assessment!

Do you have smart way of remembering this rule? A tip to avoid making a mistake on Former une phrase négative? Share it with us!