1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "There is not a cloud in the …

"There is not a cloud in the sky."

Translation:Il n'y a pas un nuage dans le ciel.

March 30, 2013



'il n'y a pas de nuage dans le ciel'. Why is this wrong?


it is not wrong, the formula "pas un" (instead of "pas de") used here, stresses the fact that there is not even one single cloud.


Wouldn't you say "Il n'y a aucun nuage dans le ciel" to emphasize that?


Both are emphatic (vs "il n'y a pas de nuages dans le ciel") and similar in meaning.


I did day "Il n'y a aucun nuage dans le ciel" and duo accepted it.


Shouldn't we use "de" instead of "un/une" every time we use "il n'y a pas"?


With negative constructions (ne pas, ne plus, ne jamais), the article is dropped, unless, as shown here, when you want to mean "not (a single) one" .

  • je n'ai pas d'ami/e/s/es
  • je n'ai pas un (seul) ami / une (seule) amie.


Both the French and the English expressions are logically poor here, because "not one cloud" could mean either zero or more than one cloud (unless one adds "even" as Sitesurf has). I guess the fact that dapertra's translation isn't the only accepted one is disappointing to those of us who were expecting French to carry extra precision.


if we used de would nuages have to be plural? i.e. de nuages?


Not necessarily, you can use "pas de" with a singular noun.


Yes but we still lose a heart for typing "pas de".


Nope, sorry. "au ciel" would only be used to mark the idea of a destination ("je monte au ciel" = "I am going to heaven", "Lever les yeux au ciel" = "Look towards the sky"[that is, as a literal translation; the actual meaning is more akin to "rolling your eyes in exasperation]).

When you want to point out something in the sky, "dans" is your preposition.

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.