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14 votes
Accepted

Does jamais mean always or never in this context?

Using "... ne ... jamais que X", in conversation you can say something like: Tout ce qui sort de sa bouche, ce ne sont jamais que des excuses pour se la couler douce. Grammar-wise (...
Con-gras-tue-les-chiens's user avatar
6 votes

Does jamais mean always or never in this context?

Generally speaking, French doesn't do double negation. A sentence is either negative or not. But it can be difficult to figure out, because the words involved can have multiple meanings, and because ...
Gilles 'SO nous est hostile''s user avatar
5 votes

"vous ne laisserez pas que de m'estimer"

Ne pas laisser de = Ne pas cesser de. C'est une expression vieillie, qui ne s'emploie plus. On trouve aussi: Ne pas laisser que de, sur Wikipedia: C’est une aventure qui ne laisse pas que d’...
guillaume girod-vitouchkina's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Double negation in French

In a vacuum and intuitively, nous ne saurons plus rien means "we won't know anything anymore". In a conversation, you could pause before rien and emphasize it or surround it with context to ...
guillaume31's user avatar
  • 3,818
3 votes

"vous ne laisserez pas que de m'estimer"

The form with an added que is an older variant which has the same meaning, que means but. From the cnrtl "laisser" entry II. − Littér. Ne pas laisser de + inf. Ne pas cesser de, ne pas manquer de (...
jlliagre's user avatar
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3 votes
Accepted

"Il ne me faut pas moins que..."

TL;DR : when applied to a noun, the positive form expresses a need while the negative form indicates the absence of need. When applied to a verb, the positive indicates an obligation while the ...
DaWaaaaghBabal's user avatar
3 votes

What is the meaning of “ne serait-ce que” in a negative sentence?

Your question is based on the incorrect assumption that this French sentence contains a double negative while it doesn't. There is only a single negation "aucun xxx ne xxx" and no negation but a ...
jlliagre's user avatar
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3 votes

Correctness of “je ne connais (pas) personne”

Pas personne is not grammatical. Should you want to add pas after connais, you would need to add de or une too: Je ne connais pas de personne qui sache lire le latin. Je ne connais pas une personne ...
jlliagre's user avatar
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2 votes

"ne...que" with an infinitive?

Je ne peux pas vendre que... is just the negation of Je ne peux vendre que... Je ne peux pas ne que vendre is agrammatical. Here are some examples: Il n'a pas bu que de l'eau. Je repensais à ...
jlliagre's user avatar
  • 151k
2 votes

Does jamais mean always or never in this context?

"Une tradition, ce n'est jamais qu'un progrès qui a réussi" is translated in "A tradition is nothing more than a progress which has succeeded".
ON5MF Jurgen's user avatar
2 votes

Does "ne" not negate words that are already negative?

You can hear rien peut arrêter ça in spoken French with the expected meaning. In written/formal French, a negation is built with a split negative form composed with the adverb ne and a pronoun like ...
jlliagre's user avatar
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2 votes

Using ne...ni...ni with rien and personne

The first one would just be: Je ne vais ni manger ni boire. Rien is redundant but if you want to emphasize the fact you'll eat/dring nothing: Je ne vais ni manger ni boire quoi que ce soit. Using ...
jlliagre's user avatar
  • 151k
2 votes

On n'arrêtera pas les antibiotiques jusqu'à ce que l'on (ne) fasse (pas) un deuxième scan

… jusqu'à ce que l'on ne fasse pas un deuxième scan. Cette phrase est grammaticalement correcte, mais est un non-sens. Elle ne peut pas avoir le même sens que la deuxième phrase. « A jusqu'à ce que B ...
Gilles 'SO nous est hostile''s user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

Does double negation confirm or annihilate the original negation

All of your sentences are valid and usual French. The third sentence indeed negates the first one : (1) Il n'y a qu'un livre: there is just one book (i.e. there are no more books than that one) (3) Il ...
jlliagre's user avatar
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1 vote

Does "ne" not negate words that are already negative?

No, ne does not create a double negative in French, no matter what is paired with it. Rather, the pair ne ... pas is only one negative. You can substitute several other items for the pas, and you'll ...
Luke Sawczak's user avatar
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1 vote

"Je doute qu'aucun d'eux (ne)"

This translation may not be perfect, but is its general sense correct? (I.e. the speaker believes that none of the listeners understands.) Je doute is a little bit ambiguous. If you say "Je ...
Maël's user avatar
  • 1,181
1 vote

L'usage de « il ne faut pas » pour l'interdiction

Je vois ce que tu veux dire, en terme de logique pur c'est correct mais non, "il ne faut pas" ne peut pas avoir le sens de "il n'est pas obligatoire de". Pourtant, on pourrait faire la distinction ...
Teleporting Goat's user avatar
1 vote
Accepted

"ne...que" with an infinitive?

Je ne peux pas vendre que des parties de la voiture. You are dealing with a "ne ... pas ... que ..." construction here. Without "pas", "I can only/just sell parts of the car, but not the whole thing"....
Con-gras-tue-les-chiens's user avatar
1 vote

Correctness of “je ne connais (pas) personne”

You can however say: Je ne connais pas quelqu'un qui sache lire le latin.
WaterBearer's user avatar
1 vote

Correctness of “je ne connais (pas) personne”

Surtout pas! il y aurait une double négation avec "personne".
user45784's user avatar
  • 564
1 vote

What is the meaning of “ne serait-ce que” in a negative sentence?

I'll try my go at an answer, mostly to try and distribute the comments a little and have more space to clarify my point. First thing, as Jlliagre said, your sentence is not correct. Maybe it was said ...
Teleporting Goat's user avatar
1 vote

Why didn't the author add “pas” after “parvenir”

That's not a split negative here like "ne … pas", "ne … rien" or "ne … personne" but the restrictive expression ne … que so rien is optional here. Ne … que means "...
jlliagre's user avatar
  • 151k
1 vote

"ne... jamais que": confused about the double negation

That's a tricky one. Actually "jamais" can translate to both "never" and "ever". It's pretty rare and dated though. You can find sentences like "A-t-on jamais vu ..." meaning "have we/has anyone ever ...
Teleporting Goat's user avatar
1 vote

"ne... jamais que": confused about the double negation

This is an interesting post. When you write "Il n'y a jamais qu'une seule explication", there may be indeed two different meaning. Depending on the context, either you would mean there is always one ...
user28034's user avatar
1 vote

"Il ne me faut pas moins que..."

Depending on the context and the expression, il faut has several translations : one need, one must, one should, it is required, it is suitable, it takes, ... In all of your examples, falloir might be ...
jlliagre's user avatar
  • 151k

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