1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "I hope there isn't only cabb…

"I hope there isn't only cabbage for dinner."

Translation:J'espère qu'il n'y a pas que du chou pour le dîner.

June 24, 2020

46 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shelley54877

I don't understand why "pas" is included here with "que" and omitted in similar sentences.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Leslie483050

I believe that "il n'y a pas que" is "there isn't only" whereas "il n'y a que" means "there is only." It's tricky - I had to look twice after getting it wrong by answering too quickly.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/angus390025

haha. I did the same thing. I wrote "I hope there is only cabbage for dinner" (because such a bizarre sentence is not unreasonable in the world of duolingo) and after I got it wrong I noticed "pas".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichelLemoine123

Bonjour Shelley,

In French, the word "ne" does not always have a negative meaning.

Compare the following four sentences:

1) Affirmative sentence without restriction:

Il y a du chou. = There is cabbage.

2) Negative sentence without restriction: use of the two terms of the negation "ne ... pas":

Il n'y a pas de chou. = There is no cabbage.

3) Affirmative sentence but with a restriction: use of the expletive adjective "ne" (here, this "ne" has no negative value, "ne" does not have the negative meaning as in the negation "ne ... pas"!) + adverb "que" which means "seulement"/"only"):

Il n'y a que du chou. (Il y a que du chou. Il y a du chou seulement, il n'y a pas d'autre nourriture) = There is only cabbage. (There is only cabbage, there is no other food)

4) Negative sentence with a restriction: use of the two terms of the negation "ne ... pas" + adverb "que" which means only :

Il n'y a pas que du chou. (Il y a autre chose, des carottes par exemple) = There is not only cabbage. (There is something else, carrots for example)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Poef9

Thank you all! I really learnt something today! :-) I don't think the sentence is all that bizarre, though.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/InvertedGo

Wondering this too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Myktylgaan

Wondering this too. Has a decent enough internal logic if you use il n'y a que vs il n'y a pas que.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LSadun

The weird thing is that it only makes sense if you take an English approach to double negatives. French usually says that two negatives make a negative, and that one negative isn't enough.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/--Roody--

I don't understand why you say there are double negatives in French. I can't think of any. Can you give an example?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LSadun

Je ne mange rien = I don't eat nothing, just like the Italian non mangio niente or the Spanish no como nada.

Je ne mange jamais = I don't eat never, just like the Italian non mangio mai or the Spanish no como jamas.

I suppose you could argue that ne and rien should count as the bookends of a single negative construction, but that's a cheat. Ne was originally a stand-alone negative marker, just like no in Spanish or non in Italian. It's just that the French have been using double negatives for so long that they think that a sentence with a single negative is missing something!

Edit: FWIW, pas entered the language as a way of emphasizing ne. Je ne marche pas meant "I don't walk a (single) step", which was more emphatic than just "I don't walk". Eventually the construction spread to all actions, not just walking.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/--Roody--

I don't see ne...pas (or other negations) as a double negative. It's a two word negative.

A double negative is something like "he doesn't never eat cabbage". This can be used as artifice in English, but not for normal use because it's illogical. And same thing in French. This type of double negative isn't used because it's illogical.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bethiowamd

Could a moderator please comment on why it is "du" and not "de" chou? I thought I had learned that in the case of a negative sentence, the "du" becomes "de". Can someone please explain this or correct it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Atervanda

« Ne ... que » is not negative, but restrictive.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JonasTranc1

But here it's ne... pas que, so it's a negative, no?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sean.mullen

Que overrides the negativity of pas.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChefeBispo

Semantics. like English "nothing but cabbage" it negates everything except what is mentioned.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/katinka609887

I had the same problem. Can only think it is because of the que with it - not just straight ne....pas.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pakjim

I thought that in a negative construction, the partitive articles (du, de la, de l') are shortened to de/d'. Maybe that isn't the case with ne....pas que , like it is with ne...pas.
J'espère qu'il n'y a pas que de chou pour le dîner. Rejected.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sean.mullen

When the partitive (de l'/du/de la) or plural indefinite article (des) comes before que, it's reduced, and when it comes after, it isn't, even if pas or some other negative is within the construction:

  • Je n'ai d'amis que vous (I have no friends but you -- des is reduced)

  • Je n'ai d'espoir qu'en Dieu (I have hope only in God -- de l' is reduced)

  • Il ne prononce jamais que des banalités (He never utters anything but banalities -- des is not reduced)

  • Elle n'a pas que des idées (She doesn't only have ideas -- des is not reduced)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobertB33

Please give us grammar points like the earlier units to explain this grammar! It's confusing to have to work it out on our own!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarcOPolo.44

Seems like a rude enough question to ask of whomever is making dinner that I can avoid learning how to say it altogether.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/--Roody--

There's a very important grammar point in this sentence. Do you want to avoid learning it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MurielCalder

Why is it 'pour le diner' when it has just been 'au petit dejeuner' ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ppkzH80V

I don't know - I came here with the same question ..... can anyone answer it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cricuvi

I agree. Same problem. I wrote il n'ya que du chou


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sean.mullen

Il n'y a que du chou means "There is only cabbage."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/--Roody--

I wrote it too, and now I understand why it was wrong. (Thanks to sean.mullen and a couple other wise voices in the forest.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Noelmichae2

I don't understand what is different here compared with other answers in this section. Why is 'pas' necessary here but not elsewhere?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/--Roody--

"Not only" (ne...pas...que) instead of "only" (ne...que).

Read sean.mullen's fantastic posts.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Noelmichae2

Thank you for the explanation. It now seems obvious!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Willis11565

"Il n'y a pas seulement du chou..." accepted also.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/--Roody--

Accepted, but you didn't learn anything new. :(


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DebAnnAsh

The answer options do not include que so I had no alternative but qu' to pick. Then, of course, it was incorrect. No correct option available!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maryqc26

Are these negative restrictive sentences NOT following the negative sentence rule of having de la and du and des change to de ? And using whatever article goes with the noun ? Il mange du chou, to il ne mange pas de chou.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sean.mullen

When the partitive (de l'/du/de la) or plural indefinite article (des) comes before que, it's reduced, and when it comes after, it isn't, even if pas or some other negative is within the construction:

  • Je n'ai d'amis que vous (I have no friends but you -- des is reduced)

  • Je n'ai d'espoir qu'en Dieu (I have hope only in God -- de l' is reduced)

  • Il ne prononce jamais que des banalités (He never utters anything but banalities -- des is not reduced)

  • Elle n'a pas que des idées (She doesn't only have ideas -- des is not reduced)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/77guillaume

Thank you for introducing the concept of the expletive adjective "ne". I shall now be able to respond to such niceties with "ne ne, ne ne!" rather than **** !


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sean.mullen

This isn't the expletive ne, and "expletive" means semantically null while filling a syntactic position (like weather 'il').


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HiThere168

Why the 'que' in 'que du chou'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sean.mullen

The ne ... que construction means 'only', and restricts the choice of object being acted on by the verb to the phrase immediately following que.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HiThere168

Ok, thank you for the explanation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kmargittai

ARGH!! Lost a heart because "que" wasn't in the word bank! Only "qu'" so I tried rearranging to accommodate.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maryqc26

Can I shoot myself in the foot now ? I have done and redone this sentence so many times and THIS time i thought had it right. Nope! I got the ne que biz right but got the qu'il part wrong by putting que il. DUMB, ARRRGHHH.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michael939398

il n'y a que is used in French for there is only; you never see que with ne---que


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/doublelingot

j'espère qu'il n'y a pas seulement du chou pour le dîner

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