generally when rien is followed by an adjective, the structure is:
rien + de + adjective
rien de pareil / rien de tel - nothing like it
Rien de neuf- nothing new
Rien d’intéressant - nothing interesting
Rien de bon - nothing good
Il n’y avait rien d’intéressant dans le magasin. - There was nothing interesting in the store.
je ne cherche rien de précis - I am not looking for anything specific
il n'a rien dit de nouveau - he didn't say anything new
presque rien d'autre - almost nothing else
and when rien is followed by a passive infinitive the structure is:
rien + à + passive infinitive
n'avoir rien à se mettre - to have nothing to wear
je n‘ai rien à faire. - I have nothing to do
Je n'ai rien à ajouter. - I do not have anything to add.
Je n'ai rien à cacher. - I have nothing to hide
il n’y a rien à voir ici. - There is nothing to see here
il n'ya rien à acheter - there is nothing to buy.
rien à déclarer - nothing to declare
Could it be because of the structure," il est + adjective + de/a+ infinitive" where de is used for dummy subject.
In the example that you gave, "aucun d'entre eux n'est mon ami", what does n'est stand for? Also, why is there no pas?
In "rien de sérieux ne peut arriver", why is there no "pas".
Remember that French negatives work in tandem: "ne" + another word.
Therefore, "rien... ne" and "aucun... ne" work exactly as "ne... rien" and "ne... aucun", the only change is that "rien" and "aucun" are subjects in the first case and objects in the latter case.
In the sentence "ce n'est rien de sérieux", there is a real subject (= this/that is nothing serious), but there is no matching impersonal structure, contrary to other cases like "il est utile" de vs "c'est utile à". We cannot compare these cases because "rien" is not an adjective.
However, "rien + à + infinitive" is possible, when "rien" is an object.
- Je n'ai rien à faire = I have nothing to do
Hopefully Sitesurf will reply. Meanwhile...
There is no infinitive in the sentence we are studying. The only verb is etre, which is conjugated. (est)
In the "aucan" example, "est" is the verb of the sentence. There is no "pas" in this sentence or the next one because there is a different negative construction instead: aucan/rien as the subject of the sentence, which then requires "ne" before the verb. "None of them is my friend." "Nothing serious can happen."
If we added a "pas," it would create a double negative, which is impossible: None of them isn't my friend/Nothing serious cannot happen.
May i know why there is a "ne" before "est" in your above example of "aucun d'entre eux n'est mon ami"?
I've seen the term "n'est" used in other phrases as well where there is no second word of the negation (e.g. "ne...pas" or "ne...plus"). Is there a standalone use of "n'est"?
It's easy to be fooled that every time you see "ne," it's already a negation. But it's not really that, "ne" doesn't really mean anything on it's own, it's more like an alert that something is coming up (usually after the verb), but that something could be pas/rien/jamais/plus/personne/aucun, etc...including que, which means "only" - so that one is not really negative at all.
Sometimes very tricky if there are a lot of words between the "ne" and the other word - you can be thinking the whole time that it will be pas or some other negation, and it turns out to be "que!" So the sentence doesn't turn out to mean what you were thinking it would...
My pleasure. I think most people struggle with this. I know that for me, I really have to watch the tendency to think negation as soon as I see "ne," because sometimes you have another five words and then you come to the other half of the construction, and it is "que!"And so if you are thinking in the negative, you have to rethink the whole thing because "ne...que" is not really a negation.
After negation, "de" replaces the indefinite and partitive articles (un, une, des, du, de la). But in this case it is because rien is followed by de when there is then an adjective (also true for quelque chose). Rien de spécial, quelque chose de sérieux, etc. De is also used in expressions of quantity - assez d' argent, trop de travail, beaucoup d'amis, etc.