In English we express the negative by saying "don’t" or "not", e.g. "I don’t work hard" or "She is not listening".


The basic negative form in French is obtained by placing "ne" before the verb, and "pas" after it.


i.e.       Je ne travaille pas                    I don’t/am not working

Elle n’écoute pas                    She doesn’t/is not listening


In the perfect tense the same rule applies, but the "ne" and "pas" go around the part of "avoir" or "ętre".


i.e.       Je n’ai pas travaillé                  I didn’t work/haven’t worked

Elle n’a pas écouté                  She didn’t listen/hasn’t listened


There are several other negative forms which work in the same way.


ne verb rien             nothing                je ne fais rien

                                                         je n’ai rien fait


ne verb jamais         never                    il ne travaille jamais

                                                           il n’a jamais travaillé


ne verb nulle part        nowhere                          nous n’allons nulle part

ne verb plus                no more/no longer            il n’y a plus de livres

ne verb que                only                                 elle n’a que deux livres

ne verb ni ..           neither .. nor ..                 je n’aime ni les pommes ni les poires

ne verb personne        nobody                            il n’y a personne


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