French Grammar Guide for non-francophones

Negation (e.g.: je ne parle pas)

Questions about Negation

Q: Can I say je veux pas in French?

Yes, you certainly can. In fact, throughout the French speaking world, most people rarely use ne in informal conversations (it is only used approximately 5% of the time). However, written French and spoken French are not the same. You do need to use ne when writing.

Q: Why is it comme si rien n'était and NOT comme si rien était?

Even when rien comes first, you still need to add ne (there are always two parts to negation when writing in French.

Q: Why is it je ne travaille pas le samedi and NOT je ne travaille le samedi?

Remember, there are two parts to negation in French: a) ne before the verb and b) pas after it.

Q: Why is it mon ami ne va pas venir and NOT mon ami va ne venir pas?

In negative structures involving a helper verb (e.g.: aller, pouvoir, devoir) followed by a main verb, the negation surrounds the helper verb.

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