La négation

French Grammar (see all)

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La négation


Ne [...] pas is used to create negative constructions in French. Ne goes before the verb (or auxiliary verb), pas goes after the verb (or auxiliary verb):
Je veux dormir.
Je ne veux pas dormir.
I want to sleep.
I don’t want to sleep.
Il s’appelle Victor.
Il ne s’appelle pas Victor.
He’s called Victor.
He’s not called Victor.

If the verb begins with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u, y) or often an ‘h’, we use the contracted n’ form.
Tu aimes le chocolat.
Tu n’aimes pas le chocolat.
You like chocolate.
You don’t like chocolate.

In spoken, informal speech, ne is commonly omitted before the verb:
Tu viens ou tu viens pas ? Are you coming or not?
C’est pas possible ! It’s not possible! There’s no way!
J’y arrive pas (= Je n’y arrive pas) I can’t do it, I can’t manage to do it

Careful!: We don’t pronounce the s in pas.


Il ne parle pas français, Michael Jackson.

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