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

The Omission of "Ne" in the Negative

I found this page very interesting and helpful. This is something that is very common in informal French and therefore very important in my opinion! Voici le lien :

http://www.french-linguistics.co.uk/grammar/negative_ne_omission.shtml

I would love to know about any regional differences or any other information on this subject! I hope it helped.

September 15, 2014

15 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mariana.Fortes

This came just in the right time for me, I just reached the last checkpoint and there were some sentences with no "ne" in the last skill. Thanks for sharing ^_^ I think it's important to sound the most natural possible when learning a new language.

September 15, 2014

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

I'm glad it helped!

I agree. Sometimes, people (including me) spend too much time making sure what they're saying is "correct." The truth is, sometimes it's better to ignore the rules and use what sounds/feels right! I suppose we technically should say "It is I," but we would never say that in everyday speech. We must remember that there is a time for colloquial speech and a time for more formal speech.

September 15, 2014

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

Thanks for sharing this!

September 15, 2014

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

I don't think there's any regional differences here. I'm assuming the source is referring to France french based on the British domain, but everything he refers to is common in both Quebec and Acadia as well, at least. (Perhaps even more so, since French tends to be more informal here..)

September 15, 2014

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

This is very helpful. The one thing I would point out is that the ne is only dropped in speech - never in writing.

Spoken French is a language of elision and omission - much like spoken American English - and it's important for those of us wishing to speak French comfortably to understand the unofficial rules of speech. For instance, "Je ne sais pas" ("I don't know") is usually just contracted down to "Je pas" in spoken French. Similarly, because the nous and vous forms tend to take more time to conjugate, native French speakers usually use "on" (one) in place of nous and will often try to move from vouvoyers to tutoyers as soon as possible, simply because it's much easier.

September 15, 2014

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

Osiriscorleone, you may here "Je pas" when a French speaker says a contracted "Je ne sais pas", but that's not what he is actually saying. It would be "J'sais pas" or "Ch'ais pas" but "Je pas" makes no sense. I agree with the "nous" -- "on" (easier). In spoken French, you won't hear very often "nous faisons ça" but "on fait ça" instead. But I don't agree with moving from vouvoyers to tutoyers as soon as possible. You switch if you want to be more friendly, but not because it's easier. And if it is more appropriate to vouvoyer your interlocutor, you won't try to move to tutoyer.

September 15, 2014

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

In the months I spent in Burgundy, my hosts certainly weren't saying J'sais pas. I won't claim to be fluent in French, but I do trust my ears and eyes, and there was no "s" sound whatsoever when they would say "I don't know". In general I found the Burgundian spoken French to be very contracted and I often got teased for speaking properly. As for the switch to tutoyers, everybody I interacted with for more than a couple minutes almost immediately used the tutoyers, both with me and with each other, and when I asked I was told by several different people that in general - especially with younger people (e.g. under 40) that the vouvoyers is almost never used unless you're really trying to show respect (in the way English-speakers would use "sir"). But this was only my experience, and yours may be different.

September 16, 2014

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

Well I'm French from France, (please, excuse my poor English) so I trust my ears too :) I believe we agree on the spoken sound and I just think you didn't choose an accurate transcription for it because "Je pas" really makes no sense and doesn't correspond to the prononciation of a contracted "Je sais pas" if you pronounce "Je pas" in proper French. I said "Je pas" to a friend and she thought I was saying "Je parle". However, if you say "J'sais pas", "Ch'ais pas", or even "Chépa" or "Chépo" to a French person, anywhere in France, he understands it. Yes, a young person uses tutoyer when speaking to another young person, but from the beginning, so there is no switch from vouvoyer to tutoyer (you don't necessarily have to start a conversation with someone you met for the first time vouvoying him or her!) What I mean is that most of the time you immediately know if you have to tutoyer or vouvoyer your interlocutor so it's not that much common to change during the conversation. But I agree it does happen, and I think it increases while you age (I'm 23 and I'm almost never in that situation), and sometimes it is a slightly awkward situation ("Heuuu... On peut se tutoyer ?")

September 16, 2014

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

Your English is great! No excuses necessary, keep it up!

I guess the transliteration to Anglophone ears is closer to "Je pas" than "J'sais pas" - another commenter pointed me to a video below in which the woman is saying "J'sais pas" or "Ch'ais pas" but I'll be damned if I can hear an "s" in there. But as a native French speaker, I'll obviously defer to you.

As for the tutoyer, I was 30ish when I was last in France and I found that people would become annoyed with me if I continued to use the vouvoyer with them after talking to them for a while - even much older people. It seemed like with the exception of business transactions and strangers on the street, most people didn’t really want to use the vouvoyer. Obviously when talking to a peer of around your own age, you will start with the tutoyer, but even with my friend's parents they tolerated me using vouvoyers until I slipped up and then told me to please use the tutoyer because it was just easier. That also happened with some of the people we worked with that were twice my age! Maybe that's just my experience, though. And yes, I am familiar with the the "on peut se tutoyer" situation, although as a foreign speaker I was too nervous to ask! Either way, the whole concept is so fascinating to me, and I was really surprised by how uncommon using the vouvoyers is in normal conversation. It seems like French speakers will do anything to avoid having to verbally conjugate verbs beyond the normal "je/tu/il/elle/on" sounds.

September 17, 2014

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

None never says "je pas" in French. Would be a sentence without a verb: impossible in French.

October 22, 2019

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

Thanks for the information! Really, all I took away from it at first glance was that if you were speaking casually to someone you could leave out the 'ne' and simply keep the 'pas' in the sentence, but seeing as I'm heading off to bed momentarily, I'll peruse it in greater detail after work tomorrow.

September 16, 2014

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

I think another important bit was that it isn't usually omitted when there is a noun phrase. Here's their explanation:

In other words, speakers would tend to say mon frère ne veut pas... rather than ...veut pas..., because of the presence of the noun phrase mon frère. Note that a problem with this observation is that a feature of informal French is to insert a pronoun corresponding to the noun. For example: mon frère, il (ne) veut pas venir vs the more formal mon frère ne veut pas venir. So the statistic that we are looking at could be the proportion of times that speakers chose a "more formal variant" of the sentence rather than specifically a statement about how often ne is omitted when an informal variant is chosen.

September 16, 2014

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

I greatly appreciate the additional information. This'll be helpful in the near future!

September 16, 2014

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

Not really true, I hear a lot of speakers saying "Mon frère veut pas".

October 22, 2019

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

There's no regional differences. The omission of "ne" is always grammatically wrong.

Orally, it's tolerated everywhere. And when we write informally

October 22, 2019
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