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Ne ... jamais = Never (negation)

Look at these two sentences:

Je ne vais jamais à la gym.
I never go to the gym.

Je n'écoute jamais le prof.
I never listen to the teacher.

Notice that to say "never", you use ne.. jamais around the verb.

Note: ne becomes n' when in front of a vowel or mute h.

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je n'écoute jamais le prof.
I never listen to the teacher.


Je ne vais jamais à la gym.
I never go to the gym.


Je ne vais jamais à l'école à pied.
I never walk to school



Il ne conduit jamais sa voiture.
He never drives his car


Nous n'allons jamais faire ça.
We're never going to do that.


Q&A

Tamani

Kwiziq community member

17 March 2018

1 reply

In micro quiz no. 1, the answers all begin 'Frodon' rather than Frodo.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

14 April 2018

14/04/18

Hi Tamani, in the orginal French translation, his name was Frodon.


See: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frodon_Sacquet 


 

Kelle

Kwiziq community member

24 February 2018

1 reply

idioms

We (in english) have the idiomatic expression: "Never say never..." Do you have one similar? "Ne jamais dire jamais?" Or something else?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

25 February 2018

25/02/18

In French there is this idiom which comes close:


Il ne faut jamais dire : fontaine je ne borai pas de ton eau. 


-- Chris (not a native speaker). 

Kelle

Kwiziq community member

24 February 2018

1 reply

idioms?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

25 February 2018

25/02/18

It is difficult to divine your question from only a single word ;)) 


-- Chris. 

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

27 November 2017

2 replies

In the examples above, why isn't it: - Je n'écoute jamais AU prof'

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

27 November 2017

27/11/17

Bonjour Stewart !

It's because the verb écouter takes a direct object in French, unlike in English:

écouter [quelqu'un] = to listen to [someone]

J'écoute ma mère.
I listen to my mother.

Bonne journée !

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

29 November 2017

29/11/17

Merci

Diana

Kwiziq community member

2 November 2017

3 replies

I understand that "Il ne mange rien" is the correct order of words...

But does the order change if the verb tense changes? Can I say " Il n'a rien mangé?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

2 November 2017

2/11/17

I have heard the sentence "Il ne m'a dit rien du tout" said by a native French speaker. It set off bells in my head because, just as yourself, I learned to say "Il ne m'a rien dit". Apparently "Il ne m'a rien dit" emphasises that he really told nothing at all. Emphasis by inversion? Apprently it is possible.

-- Chris (not a native speaker)

Chris

Kwiziq community member

2 November 2017

2/11/17

I talked to a native speaker and cleared this up. "Il n'a rien mangé" is the only correct form. Similarly "Il ne m'a rien dit" is correct, whereas "il ne m'a dit rien" is infact incorrect and sometimes heard being used by small children. I hope that clears this up.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Ron

Kwiziq community member

2 November 2017

2/11/17

Bonjour Diana,
One point of emphasis is that there is a very large gap between written French and spoken French. I learned that the negation using le passé composé is in the form:
noun + ne + auxiliary verb + negation, i.e. pas, rien, etc. + past participle. While le passé composé is the conversational past preferred, I do believe the correct syntax is like noted above.

Mohsin

Kwiziq community member

22 October 2017

2 replies

Bonjour,je parle pas bien français Y'a quelle qu un peux me aider S'il vous plaît

Bonjour,je parle pas bien français Y'a quelle qu un peux me aider S'il vous plaît

Chris

Kwiziq community member

23 October 2017

23/10/17

Bonjour Mohsin. Je voudrais t'aider mais je ne vois pas de question dans ton mail. -- Chris.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

24 October 2017

24/10/17

Bonsoir Mohsin,
Je serais très ravi de vous aider aussi. Avez-vous une petite question?

taejah

Kwiziq community member

23 August 2017

1 reply

Why does jamais come afetr the verb?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

23 August 2017

23/08/17

Bonjour Taejah,
That is a fixed form that is used in negation. Similarly there are other fixed forms in French negation such as ne. . . pas, ne. . .plus, etc. Please see the following link which goes into greater detail.
https://french.kwiziq.com/my-languages/french/glossary/24

To that end, in compound verb tenses and moods, «ne precedes the auxiliary verb with «jamais», for example, following it, «jamais» is then followed by the past participle.
Example:
Je n'ai jamais voulu manger encore de pomme.
Bonne chance et bonne continuation.

Susan

Kwiziq community member

7 October 2016

1 reply

what does jamais mean ?

if we use ne ... jamais to say never then when do we use ne pas?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

7 October 2016

7/10/16

Bonjour Susan,

Ne ... jamais
= "never."

Je ne vais jamais à la plage - I never go to the beach.

Ne ... pas = "not."

Je ne vais pas à la plage aujourd'hui - I'm not going to the beach today.
I'll be right with you...