Using 'ne ... pas' with compound tenses (negation)

Look at these negative sentences:

Je ne suis pas allé au cinéma.
I didn't go to the cinema.


Je n'ai pas fini.
I didn't finish / I haven't finished


Elle n'est pas venue hier.
She didn't come yesterday.

Notice that in compound tenses where there is an auxiliary verb (être or avoir), the sentence can be negated by placing the second part of the negation (pas) between the auxiliary and the past participle.

 

See also how ne...pas behaves with simple tenses: Using ne ... pas with simple tenses (negation) 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elle n'est pas venue hier.
She didn't come yesterday.


Je n'ai pas fini.
I didn't finish / I haven't finished


Je ne suis pas allé au cinéma.
I didn't go to the cinema.



Q&A

ian

Kwiziq community member

6 March 2017

3 replies

Elision and "ne ... pas allé."

The spoken example of "Je ne suis pas allé au cinéma." has no hint of elision between 'pas' and 'allé'. I am always baffled by where things get elided and where they are not. Are there any rules about this? Where should I look? Merci beaucoup, Ian L.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

10 March 2017

10/03/17

Bonjour Ian ! In such cases, there are two ways to pronounce them in French: - either you do the liaison with "-s", linking the two "a"s with a [z] sound - or omit the liaison (quite common in speech nowadays), which is the case here, and you pronounce the two "a"s next to each other. As a native French speaker, I do hear her pronounce both "a"s, but I completely understand that it's tenuous enough to be missed by less fluent ears :) I decided to re-record this example, and mark the liaison to make it clearer. I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

ian

Kwiziq community member

25 July 2017

25/07/17

Thanks, Aurelie, The new recording sounds great! I think I'm beginning to get to grips with this now! Ian.

Bill

Kwiziq community member

28 September 2018

28/09/18

Just would like to clarify when it comes to ellision with "pas" - it is completely optional?  Seems i hear more without elision than with.  Thanks very much.
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