FR: C'est peut-être pas mal

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by Pierre_zane, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. Pierre_zane Member

    Hi, everyone.
    I can easily understand the expression "C'est peut-être pas mal". But grammatically, is this the colloquial form that has omitted "ne", or "pas mal" can be seen as one adjective? (Assuming it is the first case, then) If I want to negate the sentense in a grammatically correct way, should I say "Ce n'est pas peut-être mal" or "Ce n'est peut-être pas mal"?
    Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    {Pas mal} will be understood as one adjective that means "pretty good," so people will understand this as an affirmative sentence:

    C'est peut-être {pas mal} = It might be okay/pretty good.

    It's true that we often drop the "ne" in casual negation, so I understand your confusion. But to say that something was bad, you would be far more likely to use mauvais. As you can see, there is no ambiguity with that word:

    C'est mauvais --> Ce n'est pas mauvais --> C'est pas mauvais (informal) --> C'est peut-être pas mauvais
    = Maybe it's not (so) bad.

    And as you can see, we leave peut-être inside the ne...pas negation. For more information on that, please see FR: peut-être - place de l'adverbe
  3. Pierre_zane Member

    Thanks jann for your quick response. Now I see.

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