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What's the difference between non, ne, and pas?

April 4, 2020



Non means “no”, as in the answer to a yes/no question.

Ne is an interesting little word, and has many uses, but the basic and most common use is to introduce the negation of a verb. For instance, Je sais = “I know,” Je ne sais pas = “I don’t know.”

Pas, the other half of that negation, basically means “not”. It can be used as “not” without ne, in phrases like pas du tout = “not at all”.

Be careful. Pas has a homonym, a different word that is spelled and pronounced the same way, that means “step”.

Timor mortis conturbat me.



---- Oui, tu me vois. (literally: yes, you me see)

meaning: "Yes, you see me."

---- Non, tu ne me vois pas. (literally: no, you not me see not)

meaning: "No, you do not see me."

***("ne" + "pas" are used together to express "not")

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