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FR: négation - on ne peut complètement écarter cette possibilité

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by shanx99, May 27, 2007.

  1. shanx99 Junior Member

    London
    English - N.Ireland
    De plus, bien qu’une reprise de la lutte armée soit très improbable, on ne peut complètement écarter cette possibilité

    context is N.Ireland.

    Was just wondering if in the second clause, pouvoir should take the subjonctif and if im right to leave out the "pas"?

    thanks

    David
     
  2. Punky Zoé

    Punky Zoé Senior Member

    Pau
    France - français
    Hi
    "pas" is optional here. I personaly would use "totalement" instead of "complètement" (but it is correct too)
     
  3. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod

    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    No subjunctive. "bien que" introduces a subordinate clause that "pouvoir" doesn't belong to.
    De plus, [bien qu’une reprise de la lutte armée soit très improbable], on ne peut complètement écarter cette possibilité .

    If you took off that clause, you would see that there is no reason for a subjunctive in the underlined clause, which is a main clause.

    I hope it's clearer :)
     
  4. juliobenjimino

    juliobenjimino Senior Member

    UK, English
    could someone just explain to me why the 'pas' is optional here?
    Thanks!
     
  5. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod

    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    I have answered this question many times but I still don't know what the reason is :(
    Avec certains verbes : savoir, pouvoir, oser, cesser, on peut omettre le "pas" dans une phrase négative (voir ici par exemple)
     
  6. gbozovic Junior Member

    Switzerland/french
    Well basically, with any verb, the "pas" is optional.. When you think about it, "ne" and "pas" are redundant : only one is sufficient to indicate the negation.

    The omission of the word "pas" was used a lot in french literature, but it is nowadays quite uncommon. So you use it essentially to give to sound literary :)
     
  7. marget Senior Member

    I'm not sure I understand what you mean. I think that the omission of "ne" is not unusual in spoken (informal) French, but I thought that "pas" could only be omitted with certain verbs, such as cesser, oser, pouvoir and savoir and a few others and still retain negative value. Would you be so kind as to elaborate. Merci d'avance !:)
     
  8. watergirl Senior Member

    San Francisco CA
    English, U.S.A.
    Hi Marget,
    I'm not sure but perhaps gbosovic is referring to the fact that the negation formed with both "ne" and "pas" (now standard French) was a later addition to the language, introduced (for the sake of clarity) in the early 17th century.

    Prior to that, it was "ne" alone (as in other Latinate languages) that carried the negating power. (You still find this in some literary texts -- which I think was his main point.)
    I find it fascinating that speakers now tend to drop the "ne" entirely in everyday speech, thus making the "pas" the key marker for negation.
    Languages do the darndest things, eh?! :)
     
  9. ascoltate

    ascoltate Senior Member

    Montréal, QC
    U.S.A. & Canada, English
    It's called the "Jespersen Cycle" and happens in the history of lots of languages (try Googling "Jespersen Cycle" and you'll see...)--including in the history of English. One negation seems not to be enough- it is strengthened through the addition of another, which ultimately becomes the negation, which ultimately becomes strengthened, etc., etc., etc.
    Now in spoken French, a lot of (albeit uneducated, in most cases) speakers, double up negations in structures like:
    "Il y a pas rien."
    not to mention the totally acceptable in all circles:
    "Je l'aime pas du tout."
    and its Québécois instantiation:
    "Je l'aime pas pantoute." - where "pantoute" comes from "pas en tout"...
     
  10. watergirl Senior Member

    San Francisco CA
    English, U.S.A.
    Great explanation, ascoltate. "Now it ain't no never mind....." comes to mind...:)
     
  11. juliobenjimino

    juliobenjimino Senior Member

    UK, English
    This is fascinating! Thanks ascoltate.


    how about that old jazz song 'Is you is or is you ain't my baby?' I imagine those learning english would have a nervous breakdown trying to translate that :eek:
     

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