In the first quiz question of ni ni ne I noticed that the answer is

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Kwiziq community member

15 June 2017

6 replies

In the first quiz question of ni ni ne I noticed that the answer is

n'a mangé ni isn't this neither nor rather than neither of them.

This question relates to:
French lesson "Ni l'un(e) ni l'autre ne ... = Neither [one nor the other] (negation)"


Kwiziq community member

17 June 2017


Bonjour Michael,
In the context of the phrase, ni. . .ni. . n'a mangé, it would translate as neither of them ate. However, literally speaking yes ni . . . ni is neither. . . nor.


Kwiziq language super star

19 June 2017


Bonjour Michael !

The translation of varies depending on sentences.
In the lesson you referred to, "ni l'un ni l'autre" literally mean "Neither one nor the other", which would sometimes be better translated in English as "Neither of them".

But I agree that it applies mostly to people, and we could prefer "neither one nor the other" when it comes (like here) to food...

I've therefore decided to update the lesson title to : Ni l'un(e) ni l'autre ne ... = Neither [one nor the other] (negation) :)

I hope that's helpful!
Merci beaucoup et à bientôt !


Kwiziq community member

20 June 2017


Ron, Aurélie. Thanks for your clear and succinct answer, as usual. Cheers Mike.


Kwiziq community member

9 July 2017


Bonjour, I am correct then in saying; Ni l`une ni l`autre? As both fraise and vanille are feminine? The lesson is already entitled `Ni l'un(e) ni l'autre ne...` Therefore no update is required.


Kwiziq community member

23 July 2018


I have read this thread attentively and am none the wiser as regards the fraise/vanille problème.

To quote Ron:


Note that l'un/l'une agrees in gender with the object it refers to.
Ni l'un/e ni l'autre can also be used on its own to express neither:
Tu veux fraise ou vanille? - Ni l'un ni l'autre.
Do you want strawberry or vanilla? - Neither.


Surely since frais/vanille has already been referenced the only valid reply in this case should be "ni l'une ni l'autre"

Am I not understanding properly?


Kwiziq language super star

10 August 2018


Bonjour Tom !

Ok, I completely agree that this example is confusing at best :)

The explanation is that here we're talking about flavours (ice cream, yoghurt...), which in French is masculine = un parfum.

Therefore, it's my humble opinion that that's why we use the masculine here, but I agree that it looks so illogical to non-French natives!

I've decided to rephrase this example, to make the antecedent clearer.

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

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