Using ne ... pas with simple tenses (negation)

Look at these negative sentences:

Je ne suis pas grande.
I am not tall.


Je n'ai pas de frère.
I have no brother.

Notice that to make a negative sentence in French is slightly more complicated than in English as there are two negative words involved.

Notice that to negate a verb in a simple sentence, you wrap ne… pas around the verb (here suis / ai).

Note: if the verb begins with a vowel, use n' instead of ne.

Tu n'écoutes pas Alice.
You don't listen to Alice.

ATTENTION: c'est becomes ce n'est pas.

C'est bleu ? Non, ce n'est pas bleu !
Is it blue? No, that's not blue!

Ce n'est pas très gentil de sa part.
It's not very nice of him.

 

See also more advanced lessons Position of negation with two verbs (conjugated + infinitive) 
and Using 'ne ... pas' with compound tenses (negation) 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources


Ce n'est pas très gentil de sa part.
It's not very nice of him.


Elle ne regarde pas la télé.
She is not watching telly.


C'est bleu ? Non, ce n'est pas bleu !
Is it blue? No, that's not blue!


Je ne mange pas
I'm not eating


Tu n'écoutes pas Alice.
You don't listen to Alice.


Nous n'allons pas au cinéma.
We're not going to the cinema.


Je n'ai pas de frère.
I have no brother.


Je n'aime pas Paul.
I don't like Paul.


Je ne suis pas grande.
I am not tall.


Q&A Forum 9 questions, 17 answers

A question popped out along my way

How is "it" "that"  this these and those written and pronounced in French?

Asked 1 week ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

The answers to your question will come along the way as you progress through the lessons. I am not sure, they are going to be terribly helpful now, but here they are:

It: le or la

That: ça or cela

These: ceux-ci or celles-ci

Those: ceux-là or celles-là

A question popped out along my way

How is "it" "that"  this these and those written and pronounced in French?

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What does "nous n'allons pas de chez nous" means

Asked 7 months ago

The sentence doesn't make a lot of sense. Literally, it says "We don't go from our place." You could either say:

Nous n'allons pas chez nous. -- We are not going home. Or,Nous ne venons pas de chez nous. -- We  are not coming from home.

What does "nous n'allons pas de chez nous" means

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De

Asked 9 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super star
Do you have a question Botatota?

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I was trying to say 'you don't like them' (ie dogs) so I said 'tu les n'aime pas. Is the wrong?

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

It's almost correct, Helen. The word order is a bit different and the verb needs to be in second person singular, because of the "tu":

Tu ne les aimes pas.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

what is the rule why the word order needs to be different?

I was trying to say 'you don't like them' (ie dogs) so I said 'tu les n'aime pas. Is the wrong?

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If I wanted to say "I don't need" would I say je n'ai pas besoin or je n'ai besoin pas? I'm not sure I'm finding this phrase difficult!

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

Hi Catherine,

ne..pas always brackets the first conjugated verb. Any potential object to the verb comes after it. Therefore it is:

Je n'ai pas besoin de cela. -- I don't need that.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

If I wanted to say "I don't need" would I say je n'ai pas besoin or je n'ai besoin pas? I'm not sure I'm finding this phrase difficult!

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While doing negation with 'de' ,

Hi Laura, I have a query negation with 'de'. I know that with être it stays the same and in case of IL y a and avoir un,une, des changes to de. What about other verbs than the ones mentioned. Does it apply in all cases ?I'd like to know please.
Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Trupti !

The être exception applies to all so-called "verbes d'état" (state verbs) in French, which are verbs that describe a state the subject of the sentence is in.

Here is the complete list of "verbes d'état", which I've now added to the lesson :)

https://french.kwiziq.com/my-languages/french/theme/1512981

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

Thank you Laura .
AurélieKwiziq language super star
De rien Trupti, mais je m'appelle Aurélie ;)
Pardon, Aurélie..

While doing negation with 'de' ,

Hi Laura, I have a query negation with 'de'. I know that with être it stays the same and in case of IL y a and avoir un,une, des changes to de. What about other verbs than the ones mentioned. Does it apply in all cases ?I'd like to know please.

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Elle ne regarde pas la télé.

Wouldn't this be: elle ne regarde pas de télé ...using "de" after pas?
Asked 1 year ago
using 'de' after the negation is when you negate the thing after the verb. In this case, the negation is about not watching so it is a simple negation of the verb 'regarder'. 'Je n'ai pas de frère' is about no brothers. The 'de' in this case is like 'any' in English. 'J'ai des frères.' I have brothers. 'Je n'ai pas de frères.' I don't have any brothers.
CécileKwiziq language super star

Hi Helen, 

We always say:

Elle ne regarde pas la télé = She doesn't watch tv

Ils n'écoutent pas la radio = They don't listen to radio

Nous ne parlons pas le français We don't speak French

Ses enfants n'aiment pas le chocolat = Her children don't like chocolate

It has nothing to do with the pas here.

If you say:

"Il n'a pas de télé" ( téléviseur), it means, 

"He has not got a tv"

Hope this helps!

Why would it be Il n’a pas DE télé and not ....pas le télé?  Why use “de” not “le”?
The rule in French is when you are using negation to say there isn’t any of something, the definite article goes away and is replaced by ‘de’.   « Il n’a pas de télé. » means he doesn’t have a TV set. Il a une télé. means he has a TV. Similar to what happens in English when we say “He has some ideas.” When that is negated “He does not have any idea.” The word ‘some’ changes to ‘any’. It’s one of those idiosyncrasies of language. Hard to explain but when you start using it correctly, your French will sound so much better.

Elle ne regarde pas la télé.

Wouldn't this be: elle ne regarde pas de télé ...using "de" after pas?

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Je ne suis pas indienne

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Advika ! Bravo ! Tu n'es pas indienne, donc d'où viens-tu ?

Je ne suis pas indienne

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Severe 'hum' on audio of filmclip. Voice is very soft and weak. Needs correction.

Check ground connection on mike!
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Hoyt ! I agree that the sound on this video could be better, but we're just hosting the link to a third party's video, so we can't do anything to it specifically. However, we'll be looking for a better quality video, and we of course welcome any suggestions ! À bientôt !
The video does have a lot of good information though. Thanks.

Severe 'hum' on audio of filmclip. Voice is very soft and weak. Needs correction.

Check ground connection on mike!

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