Community Web Version Now Available
Mateus Itikawa
French Double Negatives The phrase: Je n'ai jamais volé. Means "I have never stolen." and Je n'ai jamais rien volé Means "I have never stolen anything", although it'd literally mean "I have never stolen nothing", which would mean I have stolen something. Is that the same reason why: "Cependant personne d'autre n'était prêt pour le remplacer." means: "However nobody else was ready to replace him" and the correct isn't "Cependant personne d'autre était prêt pour le remplacer."
Jun 3, 2015 8:50 PM
Answers · 2
Actually, when there is a negation somewhere, NE must always be there. Historically NE was used alone to negate sentences. PAS was used merely as a strengthening means. Nowadays, when you speak, you may leave out NE, but when you write, forgetting NE is considered incorrect standard French. Here you have "personne" and you want to negate, so NE is compulsory. Note that you can find NE alone in formal register: il n'ose se confronter à elle = il doesn't dare to face her. But NE can also have no mean at all! It's called "ne explétif" = avant qu'il ne soit trop tard = before it's too late (you can also say avant qu'il soit trop tard, the former is more common though).
June 4, 2015
In French you have to use NE with a negation. NE doesn't change the meaning of your sentence. Il est malade --> In N' est PAS malade. ne...pas ne...pas encore ne..rien (>< quelque chose) Il n'a rien fait >< Il a fait quelque chose ne...jamais never (>< ever = jamais) Je n'ai jamis vu d'éléphant blanc? >< As-tu jmais vu un éléphant blanc? ne...personne etc Il N'a rien fait He didn't do anything
June 3, 2015
Mateus Itikawa
Language Skills
English, French, Japanese, Portuguese
Learning Language