Former une phrase négative

French Grammar (see all)

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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.

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