Just a few days ago I came across Jacques Brel's song "Le moribund", which has the line: "Adieu l'Antoine, je t'aimais pas bien", which I took to mean that the speaker didn't like Antoine. Is the rule that "aimer bien" can't be used in a negative sentence something that can be overridden in some cases, such as in art to make a line scan better, or does its use in the song suggest that the speaker isn't well spoken? Maybe an exception that tests the rule?
I love that song and Jacques Brel's work in general...
It is true to say that you would rather say,
'Je t' aimais pas beaucoup' for 'I didn't like you much' but for the song's poetic rhythm it works well and serves to contrast the other 'Je t'aimais bien' ...
Merci, Cécile. I'm just becoming acquainted with Brel's work and like it very much. Yes, that usage does work well as a contrast—I hadn't thought of that. Hooray for artistic license!
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