1

Les garçons ne devraient pas avoir que la peau sur les os.

When I say this in conversation, for instance, I see no other way to phrase the sentence than with "ne ... pas ... que". I mean, when "pas" and "que" are placed side by side or close to each other.

However, when "pas" and "que" are placed quite far apart, in spontaneous speech I sometimes find myself inserting the second "ne" like this:

Les garçons ne sont pas faits pour n’avoir que la peau sur les os.

{Instead of}:

Les garçons ne sont pas faits pour avoir que la peau sur les os.

It's not just me, but I sometimes hear French speakers around me use two "ne"s in a similar fashion, too. In conversation, how common is it to use this construction?

  • In hindsight, I should have phrased my question differently to better reflect the point that I truly wanted to ask about. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Aug 27 at 1:55
5

The first form is the expected one:

Les garçons ne sont pas faits pour n’avoir que la peau sur les os.

Unlike in you first sentence, there are two independent negations here: ne pas and ne que as show:

Les garçons ne sont pas faits pour avoir la peau sur les os.

Les garçons sont faits pour n’avoir que la peau sur les os.

Of course, in spoken French, both ne are often dropped leading to:

Les garçons sont pas faits pour avoir que la peau sur les os.

Your last sentence contains a partial drop, which might be possible too.

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