I'm a bit confused about the following sentence (from Robert Merle's Malevil): "Il ne me faut pas moins que ce souvenir heureux pour ne pas céder au désespoir..."
I assume it means "I need no less than this happy memory to not give in to despair". (Anything less happy wouldn't have been enough.)
I think what's tripping me up is that I'm used to thinking of negating "falloir" as having the connotation of "must not" (as opposed to "not must", if you will), but here the "pas" seems like it goes with "moins" more than "faut". I'm surprised I had never really thought about this before, but negating "falloir" is more complicated than I thought:
- Il ne faut pas... (One mustn't...)
- Il ne faut pas longtemps... (It doesn't take long, not it mustn't take long.)
- Il n'en faut pas moins que... (Néanmoins, il faut que...)
- Il ne me faut pas y aller toute suite. (I don't have to go there right away, not I mustn't go there right away.)
I'm sure I can come up with other examples. Is there a nice way to think about all these different forms of negating falloir?