Salut chers amis (Hello dear friends)!
Comment allez-vous aujourd'hui (How are you doing today)?
I'm glad to have you all follow our lessons from time to time and in case you're joining us for the first time, this is French Grammar for Beginners on Ma Petite France.
Since the beginning of this month, we've been talking about the use of the French present tense in various ways. Today, we will look into how to negate a sentence in French. That is, changing a sentence from the affirmative form to the negative form.
Just as the word "not" serves as the major negative marker in English so also does "ne...pas" in French.
Consider these two sentences first :
Je regarde la télévision = I am watching television. (affirmative)
Je ne regarde pas la télévision = I am not watching television. (negative)
What did you notice from the above sentences?
Did you take note of how the verb is placed between the two invariables (ne...pas) that serve as the negative marker in French for the second sentence? Brilliant!
To change an affirmative sentence to the negative form in French, all you have to do is to correctly place the main conjugated verb of the sentence between "ne" and "pas".
See more examples.
Nous sommes contents = We are happy. (affirmative)
Nous ne sommes pas contents = We are not happy. (negative)
Ils vont à l'école = They are going to school. (affirmative)
Ils ne vont pas à l'école = They are not going to school. (negative)
As you can see, it is not difficult to form a negative sentence in French. All you have to do is to locate the main verb in the sentence, place "ne" before it and "pas" after it. And voilà, you've just done what we call "la négation".
Note: if the verb begins with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) or a mute "h", the "ne" becomes < n' >. See the examples :
Nous avons. = Nous n'avons pas.
Vous êtes beau = vous n'êtes pas beau.
Elle invite ses amis. = Elle n'invite pas ses amis.
I hope this is clear enough for you to understand. Should you have any question for clarity sake, kindly drop it in the comment box.
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Till we meet again, don't quit learning and increasing in knowledge.