I have a question about "non plus", in the sense of "neither".

Yesterday, I was telling my teacher that a particular person was absent: "Je ne l'ai pas vu aujourd'hui. Et ses amis non plus." What I meant was "I haven't seen him, and neither have his friends", which was understood. But could the second sentence also have meant "And I haven't seen his friends either?"

I know that "Ni moi ni ses amis l'ont vu" removes the ambiguity, but the second idea had not occurred to me until I finished the first sentence, and I am looking for the most natural construction. Thank you for shedding any light on this subject!


Yes, et ses amis non plus is ambiguous here.

Should you need to avoid it, you might just clarify the second part that way:

Je ne l'ai pas vu aujourd'hui. Ses amis ne l'ont pas vu non plus.

| improve this answer | |

Yes, you're right, it could have the same meaning. I would personally use this translation :

Ni moi ni mes amis ne l'avons vu aujourd'hui

to correct tense usage

| improve this answer | |

Your sentence is almost correct. You can avoid ambiguity, if you remove the "et" that can give a different sense, which would give this correction:

Je ne l'ai pas vu aujourd'hui, ses amis non plus.


Je ne l'ai pas vu aujourd'hui. Ses amis non plus.

If you say, "Je ne l'ai pas vu aujourd'hui, et ses amis non plus", it's like saying "I haven't seen him today, such as his friends".

Truth is, my answer is like saying:"Je ne l'ai pas vu aujourd'hui, ses amis ne l'ont pas vu non plus." It's just less heavier than including a verb, especially if this one can be omitted.

I hope it will help you.

| improve this answer | |
  • IMHO, the sentences are still ambiguous without the et, e.g. Je n'ai pas mangé son hamburger, ses frites non plus – jlliagre Dec 8 '16 at 22:49
  • To be honest, you can't consider ambiguity, even with a "et" that could alter the chosen emphasis. When someone is speaking French as a mother tongue, or has a great level of fluency, saying "je n'ai pas vu Tom aujourd'hui, ses potes non plus", for saying I havens – Empy1985 Dec 9 '16 at 2:43
  • ... saying that I haven't seen his friends too, could be considered as a bad sentence construction in France. But everything depends on the person you are talking to, and his French level. So, to avoid any hesitation, I think it's best to stick to your solution, which is more complete than mine. :) And sorry for the double answer, but I couldn't edit my first comment, so it was the only solution for me to clarify the situation. :s – Empy1985 Dec 9 '16 at 3:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.