French Negative Sentences
What is a negative?
A negative question or statement is one which contains a word such as not, no, never or nothing and is used to say that something is not happening, is not true or is absent. At its most basic level you just have to add the word “ne” before your verb and “pas” after your verb. There are a few variations of this and that’s exactly what we’ll explore below.
The verb of a sentence says what action is taking place. The French verbs we’ve discussed so far are “être” and “avoir.” Take a look at these sample sentences that show the difference between a sentence in the affirmative (positive) and the negative.
Affirmative: Je suis nerveux pour le match. I am nervous about the game.
Negative: Je ne suis pas nerveux pour le match. I am not nervous about the game.
Affirmative: J’ai faim ce matin. I am hungry this morning.
Negative: Je n’ai pas faim ce matin. I am not hungry this morning.
To make a sentence negative, “ne” and “pas” must sandwich the verb. This means that the verb goes in between the “ne” and the “pas.”
- If you are making a sentence negative and the “ne” precedes a verb that begins with a vowel, connect the two with an apostrophe (n’…) as shown in the second example above.
- Similarly, if the “pas” precedes a word in the rest of the sentence that begins with a vowel, connect the –s, or /z/ sound with the pronunciation of the following word.
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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
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