Je ne peux rien t’apprendre que tu ne saches déjà.

Je ne devrais rien t'apprendre que tu ne sais déjà.

Que veux-tu que je te dise que tu ne saches déjà ?

  1. I understand that negations in French sometimes omit 'pas'. In this very expression, is it weird to say 'que tu ne saches pas déjà'?

  2. I don't know if 'savoir' in this expression has to be in subjunctive or if both are OK. If you can indeed only use subjunctive, what necessitates subjunctive?



The word "pas" can be omitted in the certain cases but not according a clear cut rule; in fact there is no rule at all and and whether you can omit it or not is decided by usage. Here is what the article négation en français in the on line encyclopedia says;

Emploi de « ne » seul

Dans un registre soutenu, on peut employer ne seul pour exprimer une négation totale :
1/ Je ne puis vous dire ma joie (langue courante: « je ne peux pas vous dire ma joie »)
2/ Que ne me l'aviez-vous dit ? (que signifiant ici pourquoi)
3/ À Dieu ne plaise !
4/ Si je ne me trompe, nous sommes arrivés (= « si je ne me trompe pas »)

All of that teaches us that this chaotic usage is essentially part of the old language; for instance "pas" can be omitted with "puis", which is nothing but another way of writing "peux" and means nothing else, but it is not so when the form "peux" is used; fortuntely this capricious usage is out: you don't say that in current speech anymore. The second sentence and the third also have a form that is not used anymore. The fourth is somewhat special as, occasionally, you'll hear this form in the speech of a cultured locutor in whose family the usage has been retained in spite of the trend at rationalisation of the language. In this case also you can say "si je ne me trompe" but not "si je n'ai mal compris" (ngram).

Personally, I do not find weird to hear "que tu ne sache pas déjà", the reason being that the occurrence is expected in this context. However, usage appears to be strong: "pas" is never used in this context (apparently, see this ngram).

II A justification for the subjunctive is found in the BDL ;


Subjonctif et proposition relative

Dans les cas où la subordonnée est une proposition relative introduite par que (aussi appelée subordonnée relative en nouvelle grammaire), on emploie généralement l’indicatif. Toutefois, l’emploi du subjonctif est aussi possible, selon le sens de la phrase.

Si la proposition principale est négative, interrogative ou hypothétique, la proposition relative est normalement au subjonctif.

Exemples :

  • Il n’y a que cette proposition qui soit acceptable.
  • En connaissez-vous d’autres qui aient la même compétence?
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