Double negation - negative items
It caught my attention there can sometimes exist three negative items in a negative French sentence; for example: 'Ce n'est pas rien. ' My first question is: do you know more of these negative items like 'rien', which can co-occur with 'ne' and 'pas'? My second question is: can 'jamais' ever be used in this construcion with both 'ne' and 'pas', considering it can mean both 'ever' and 'never'?
Thanks a lot!
You will find the answer to your question about "jamais" here:
I did check this one out first; however, I do have my doubts this explanation is too descriptive. I want native speakers to confirm 'jamais' can never EVER be found together with 'ne' and 'pas', not even in sentence initial position. Thank you!
Never ever? Not even if 'jamais' occupies sentence initial position?
I thought we were talking about using it as part of the negative construction?
Anyway, the point is the same. No pas - http://www.linguee.com/english-french/search?source=auto=jamais
There are many forms of negation. Eventually you will get to the stage where you completely understand how to omit "ne". J'aime pas le Manchester United.
I am familiar with the colloquial omitting of 'ne', what I'm interested in are the negative items(adverbs, pronouns) which can be found in co-occurrence with 'ne' and 'pas'.
In concurrence? In any case, there are lists. Maybe I'm missing something but what's particularly interesting about this from a grammatical point of view? Is it the way they function?
It would be interesting to research why 'personne' - co-occurring with 'ne' and 'pas' can occupy sentence initial position, while 'jamais' cannot; in other words, what prevents 'jamais' to behave like 'rien' or 'personne'? It is obviously not syntax, so it might be the semantics of these negative polarity items.
Ah apologies, I must have misread.
Well the simple answer is that they mean different things. Depending on which pronoun/adjective/adverb is used, adding or omitting ne pas might change the meaning all together.
"Ce n'est pas rien [pronoun]" = (literal) "It's not nothing". Meaning "It's something";
"Ce n'est pas jamais [Adverb]" = (literally) "It's not never..." This doesn't work.
There's more! Check out this link - http://fr.tsedryk.ca/grammaire/negation/NEGATION_regle.htm
Also note that Jamais can and is often used as a standalone.
This is awesome! I thought maybe there could exist a sentence variant of fronting 'jamais', like in 'Never have I....', that might show that 'jamais' can behave in a different manner. Thank you for clarifying this. :) The link is very helpful!