A native speaker friend said to me

ne t’inquiète pas vraiment, je comprends !!

It gave me pause, raising in my mind the question why it wasn't "ne t’inquiète vraiment pas", but far be it from me to question a native speaker. Google seems to suggest "ne t’inquiète vraiment pas" is by far more popular than "ne t’inquiète pas vraiment"

On a similar note, I never fully understood where to place adverbs in a negative construction: adverb placement always bugs me (should I place it before or after "pas" (or another negative adverb like "jamais", "plus", "que"? I always hesitate). In some cases I understand the difference, but sometimes I still get confused.

  • 2
    Placement of adverbs can be tricky, there are some rules of course, but is is not always straightforward. Since the rule on FL is "one question at a time", just ask another question when in doubt. In this case it was not a question of inquiéter being in the negative.
    – None
    Feb 9 at 9:24
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    I understand it as "ne t'inquiète pas, vraiment. Je comprends". Which is close "Don't worry, I mean it. I understand.". Vraiment doesn't have to apply to "je comprends". Feb 9 at 13:44

1 Answer 1


I would expect your friend made a tiny pause between the words pas and vraiment. Maybe you'll understand better if I write these words (which originally were spoken) with an extra comma:

Ne t'inquiète pas, vraiment, je comprends.

In this case vraiment relates to the following words ("Don't worry, I (really) do understand.")

If he'd said:

Ne t'inquiète vraiment pas.

Then, indeed, vraiment would relate to inquiéter and it would mean: "You really don't have to worry, I get it."

I'd like to add that vraiment is one of those adverbs that can take a different meaning whether it is placed before or after the word it modifies.

Je ne le pense vraiment pas, je te l'assure. (I really don't mean it. I'm not kidding)
Je ne le pense pas vraiment, je blaguais. (I don't really mean it, I was just kidding.)

Ce n'est pas vraiment rouge. (It's not really red.)
Ce n'est vraiment pas rouge. (It's definitely not red.)

But I really doubt your friend would have implied there was the slightest chance you should worry (which ne t'inquiète pas vraiment would have implied.)

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