FR: ne pas <verbe> + article : partitif (du, de la, de l'), défini (le, la, l', les), indéfini (un, une, des) ou "de" ?

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py389

New Member
Canada and English
I am a new student of the French language. I have been taught that you should always follow ne..pas by de instead of un, une, des etc.

I wrote a little paragraph the other day for school and when I wrote:
D'habitude, je ne bois pas de lait et je ne mange pas de fromage.

The teacher corrected it and changed it to:
D'habitude, je ne bois pas du lait et je ne mange pas du fromage.

Can someone please explain why? Thank you.

Moderator note: Multiple threads have been merged to create this one.
 
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  • Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Bonjour py389,
    Welcome to the forum!
    Are you sure you did not make a mistake in copying your sentences? Because for me, the right one is... the first one, that is to say : yours ! ;)
     

    py389

    New Member
    Canada and English
    No. I didn't make a mistake in copying. I was puzzled by the teacher's correction and that was why I decided to come to the forum and ask.
     

    saramar

    Senior Member
    España / español
    Hi,
    I'm a student of the French language too and I've learned, as you say, that in the negative form you must use always "de" instead of du, de la, des, un/e (pronoms partitifs et indéfinis)
    Regards
    Sara
     

    py389

    New Member
    Canada and English
    Before I "question" the teacher, can I conclude from your replies that:
    D'habitude, je ne bois pas du lait is definitely wrong?

    Can I conclude that one cannot use du, de la, de l', des after ne...pas?
     

    Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Yes it is definitely wrong, py389... :(

    As for the use of du, de la, de l', etc...

    Je ne bois pas de lait
    Je ne bois pas de bière
    Je ne bois pas d'eau
    Je ne bois pas de boissons gazeuses
    Mais je bois du whisky!!!
    Hehe...
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    I once had this sentence. I wrote it with "ne ... pas de" and my teacher corrected it correctly to "ne ... pas les":

    Ils n'aiment pas les livres.

    My teacher explained that 'aimer' mustn't be followed by "pas de". Is that true?

    Sorry, if that's a little off-topic, but I once asked it in another thread where I didn't get an answer.
     

    Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Bonjour Who,

    The difference here is that "les" is definite and "de" and others are not. The rule formerly discussed does only apply to indefinite articles (de, de la, des, du, etc.).
    And your teacher was right about "aimer", but I really cannot explain why... :(
     

    py389

    New Member
    Canada and English
    I think you can use ne...pas followed by definite articles le, la, les. You just can't use un, une, des, du, de la etc.

    Je vois la fille qui rit. Je mange la pomme. Il frappe l'homme sur le dos.
    Je ne vois pas la fille qui rit. Je ne mange pas la pomme. Il ne frappe pas l'homme sur le dos.

    Didn't know about aimer. Learnt something new again. Thanks!
     

    Nywoe

    Senior Member
    Canada: English and French
    I have never learnt this rule, but I can definitely think of circumstances under which you can correctly use un and une....

    ex.: Je ne veux pas un câlin.

    So, it seems to me that there must be other specifics to the rule (such as to which verbs it applies, or to which ones it does not).

    N.
     
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    charlie2

    Senior Member
    […]

    On "ne pas ...... de" :
    I think you can see sentences like :
    Je n'ai pas l'habitude de regarder la télé.
    Je n'ai pas l'occasion de practiquer mon français.
    I hope my understanding is correct and has not confused anyone. ;)
     
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    jorge_val_ribera

    Senior Member
    Español
    Hello everybody!

    I've got a doubt...I was learning right now that you use the partitives this way:

    Elle mange de la viande.
    Nous buvons du vin.

    I've also learned that in a negative sentence, you only use de:

    Elle ne mange pas de viande.
    Nous ne buvons pas de vin.

    So far, so good, but then I have an exercise where I have to translate this phrase: "I don't have a car".

    I wrote: Je n'ai pas une voiture.
    But the answer reads: Je n'ai pas de voiture.

    So it's like they're using "car" as an uncountable noun! Is this right or is the answer wrong?

    Merci beaucoup!
     

    Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Je n'ai pas de chien
    Mon ordinateur n'a pas de virus
    Mon voisin n'a pas d'enfant
    Mon père n'a pas de dent
    Ma ville n'a pas de McDo (I live in Utopia)

    But I'm unable to give the rule.
    Let's wait for Gil's answer. ;)
     

    Benjy

    Senior Member
    English - English
    jorge_val_ribera said:
    Hi, Benjy, what do you mean by "apart from être"? Is there some special rule for être? Could you give me some examples?
    heres one i hear quite often:

    c'est pas du bon français ça! ;)

    basically with être the article is conserved.

    c'est pas une voiture ça c'est une poubelle :D

    edit:haha agnès ;)
     

    jorge_val_ribera

    Senior Member
    Español
    Hm...so this is harder than what I'd thought.... OK, let me recap and please tell me if I'm right.

    Without être:
    You use de together with the article in a positive sentence (uncountable) or just the article (countable):

    J'ai bu du lait.
    Tu as bu de l'eau.
    J'ai une voiture.

    In negative sentences, you use the de without an article, even if it's a countable noun:

    Je n'ai pas bu de lait.
    Tu n'as pas bu de eau.
    Je n'ai pas de voiture.

    With être:
    The article is conserved:

    Je suis un chien. ---> Je ne suis pas un chien.
    C'est pas une voiture ça c'est une poubelle (someone needs some glasses)
    C'est pas du bon français ça!

    Correct me if I didn't get it right.

    […]
     
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    Benjy

    Senior Member
    English - English
    ok. you have it just about right. but i am going to analyse in a slightly different way. if ther is one thing i have learnt about french articles it's to keep them seperate. ie don't think of them as contractions. contractions are something different.

    d, de l', de la, (des) - partative article! not any combination of other articles
    un/une, des - indefinite article
    le/la, les - definite article

    usage of the partative is often for uncountable things.
    i bought some ham
    j'ai acheté du jambon etc etc..

    a mistake a lot of people make in my opinion is to try and conceive of the partative as "of the" ( "of the" ham in this case). in my opnion this just gets really confusing.

    with negation you loose the partative/indefinite articles. they are replaced with de. apart from when it's être. the definite article is always kept.

    *phew*

    ps une poubelle can also mean a car in a very bad state ;) a banger in brE
    pps i hope you don't think that i was implying that you never use the ne with être (ce n'est pas une voiture etc etc)
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    All the explanations that have been given have been excellent, with one tiny detail missing.

    It's actually a LITTLE more complicated.

    The article is maintained in negative constructions even when the verb is not être when the following noun is modified or restricted.

    Je n'ai pas d'ami. (I do not have a friend - at all.)
    Je n'ai pas un ami qui me fasse rire. (I do not have a friend who makes me laugh.)

    In the second sentence, you are only saying that you do not have one specific type of friend.

    Je ne veux pas de tarte. (I do not want a tart/pie - not one at all.)
    Je ne veux pas une tarte que tu aies faite. (I do not want a tart/pie that you made.)

    Again, the second sentence specifices a certain type of tart/pie.
     

    Benjy

    Senior Member
    English - English
    hum, since you bring it up (i wan't gonig to say anything lol) you can keep the un/une in the sense of un seul

    as in j'ai pas un rond and other expressions of this type. however, the contructionthat you have used seems *really* awkward to me. but i am no where near perfect so i will wait for other peoples opinions :)
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Quelle expression est-ce que vous préférez ? -

    Je n'ai pas d'ami qui me comprenne.
    Je n'ai pas un ami qui me comprenne.

    Où les deux conviennent ?
     
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    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Je n'ai pas d'ami qui me comprenne ne me pose pas de problème
    Je n'ai pas un ami qui me comprenne ne me convient qu'avec un gros accent tonique sur le "un"
    Je n'ai pas un ami qui me comprenne
    Auquel cas cette phrase se met à signifier :
    Je n'ai pas un seul ami qui me comprenne
     
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    Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Bonjour Tim,

    Tu peux dire les deux, à mon sens, dans deux cas différents :

    - Ce n'est pas parmi mes amis que je peux trouver quelqu'un qui me comprenne = je n'ai pas d'ami qui me comprenne (voix neutre, pas d'inflexion)
    - Bouh que je suis malheureux, pas un seul de mes amis ne me comprend = je n'ai pas UN ami qui me comprenne (accent mis sur le UN) ; j'ajouterais même, ici : je n'ai pas UN SEUL ami qui me comprenne
     

    Aupick

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    I've found a rule! I don't know if it's the same, but here it is:

    -Dans une phrase à la forme négative, l'article indéfini est remplacé par de : J'ai vu un chat. / Je n'ai pas vu de chat.
    Mais on conserve l'article indéfini pour souligner l'opposition : Je n'ai pas vu un chat mais un chien.
     
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    OlivierG

    Senior Member
    France / Français
    Right, it's rather logical after all. The "un" in "un chat" means you saw a cat (and only one cat). In the negative form, you didn't see any cat (neither one nor two or more).
    Note: you can also say "Je n'ai pas vu un seul chat", which means "not even one cat".

    In "Je n'ai pas vu un chat mais un chien", you saw an animal (one animal), and it was not a cat but a dog.

    In summary, if you are talking explicitely about one subject, you'll use "un" (j'ai vu un chat), otherwise "de" in a negative form (je n'ai pas vu de chat), or "des" for a plural affirmative form (j'ai vu des chats).
     

    ESP

    Member
    USA - English
    Yes, you are correct.... ne pas is followed by "de"

    Je ne mange pas de gateau!
    Je ne mange pas d'oeufs!

    Whether for singlular or plural.... it remains as de...

    I am an American who studied in France and a French teacher.

    Bon travail!
     

    Gil

    Senior Member
    Français, Canada
    Just as a note, "ne pas" is not ALWAYS followed by "de".
    […]

    Example
    "Mais, ce n'est pas du lait qu'on m'a donné, c'est de l'eau"
     
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    OlivierG

    Senior Member
    France / Français
    Just to add some confusion ;), in some situations, "je ne bois pas le lait" could be correct. As Agnes explained earlier, it's a matter of definite or undefinite article.
    For example:
    "On m'apporte du lait et un gateau. Je mange le gateau, je ne bois pas le lait"
     

    jaysocrates

    New Member
    USA, English
    Actually, while it is likely that the student initially posting had the correct response, there are in fact cases in which it is correct to say "pas du/des/etc." This happens when you are referring to something specific that is followed by a modifying phrase; thus the following are correct:

    "Je ne veux pas de café." (I don't want (any) coffee.)
    BUT "Je ne veux pas du café que vous m'offrez. (I don't want any of the coffee you are offering me.)

    "Je ne mange pas de gâteau." (I'm not eating (any) cake or I don't eat cake.)
    BUT "Je ne mage pas du gâteau qui se trouve sur la table." (I'm not eating any of that cake on the table.)

    A technicality, not used too often, but one should still be aware of it.
     
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    trikkinder

    Senior Member
    italian
    Hi everybody.
    I've found this sentence:
    "Paul n’a pas de petite amie connue"
    Why we use this construction and not instead this other one: "Paul n'a pas une petite amie connue"
    There are difference in the meaning?
    Thanks in advance.
    Triks
     

    lemonjelly

    Member
    france (francophone natif)
    You can't say "Paul n'a pas une petite amie connue".

    He has no girlfriend = Il n'a pas de petite amie

    He has a girlfriend = Il a une petite amie

    Je n'ai pas de voiture.
    Je n'ai pas d'argent.
    Je n'ai pas de chance.

    However you can find some expression such as : Il n'a pas une (seule) chance de s'en sortir.

    When you ask a question you must use the definite article : As tu une petite amie?
     

    Cyrrus

    Senior Member
    Yes, there's a difference.
    In the first one, we assume that Paul has no girlfriend
    In the second one, it could mean : Paul has a girlfriend, but she's not famous.
     
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    geostan

    Senior Member
    English Canada
    While your second sentence is not one I would say, one could argue that the first one indicates mere absence, while the second one suggests that he has more than one known girl friend.

    Cheers!
     

    Fred_C

    Senior Member
    Français
    The object of the verb is for example "du vin" in the sentence
    "je bois du vin".
    If the sentence is negative, it becomes "Je ne bois pas de vin",
    because "de" is the form of the partitive article when it is the object of a negative sentence.
    "de" is also the feminine partitive negative object article.
    Je renverse de la farine -> Je ne renverse pas de farine

    Same for the indefinite article :
    "Je vois un chien" -> "Je ne vois pas de chien".
    Je mange une grive -> Je ne mange pas de grive.
    This true also in the plural :
    Je plante des clous -> Je ne plante pas de clous.

    It works only if the article is part of the object. Not when it is attribute :
    "Je suis un petit malin" -> "Je ne suis pas un petit malin". (un remains un because it is not object, but attribute)
     
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    Bonjour,
    J'ai des questions concernant des articles.

    1. Pourquoi l'article DE est dans la première phrase, et l'article DES est dans la deuxième phrase?
    Je ne fais pas DE dépenses.
    Je ne fais pas DES dépenses inutiles.

    2. Pourquoi l'article DE est dans la première phrase, et l'article DE LA est dans la deuxième phrase?
    Je ne mange pas DE viande.
    Je ne mange pas DE LA viande tous les jours.

    3. Pourquoi l'article D' est dans la première phrase, et l'article DES est dans la deuxième phrase?
    Vous n'avez pas D'amis.
    N'avez vous pas DES amis?

    Merci d'avance
    Cordialement,
    MN
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Bonjour Nathalie,

    Voici mes réponses :

    1. D'habitude on met de dans la négation s'il remplace l'article indéfini où partitif. Cependant, il y a des exceptions. Si l'on veut mettre l'accent sur la négation, on peut laisser "des". En d'autres termes, la négation n'est pas absolue, elle est partielle. Donc, la deuxième phrase dit que quelqu'un ne fais pas des dépense inutiles, mais généralement, il les fait. Par exemple : il paie des factures de gaz/ d'électricité (des dépenses pas inutiles).

    2. C'est une situation pareille :
    Je ne mange pas de viande. négation est absolue
    Je ne mange pas de la viande tous les jours. négation est partielle, on mange de la viande, par exemple, tous les trois jours.

    3. Vous n'avez pas d'amis. exposé des faits (négation absolue)
    N'avez vous pas des amis? question, on demande quelqu'un s'il a des amis.
     

    jolieaimee

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    On offre pas de fleurs à homme.

    For the `de fleurs’ here, fleurs is plural, I could not understand why not using plural –des?
    Thanks!
     
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    Donaldos

    Senior Member
    French - France
    In a negative sentence des is usually replaced by de.

    J'offre des fleurs.
    Je n'offre pas de fleurs.
     

    Alphonso2728

    Member
    Mexican Spanish
    aux phrases négatives il faut changer les articles partitifs de "de la, du, etc." à "de" mais ce que je me demande est si l'on doit faire le même aux questions négatives.

    Ne donnes-tu pas de leçons particulières?

    ou

    Ne donnes-tu pas des leçons particulières?



    Merci de votre aide.
     

    iguy

    New Member
    English - Ireland
    Quand transforme-t-on l'article des en de? J'ai cru qu'après chaque phrase négative il faut changer les articles indefinis et les articles partitifs (du, de la, de l', des, un, une ,des) en de.

    eg J'ai des pommes.
    Je n'ai pas de pommes.

    Mais 'Il faut porter des bijoux' change en 'ne portez pas des bijoux', pourquoi?

    Merci!
     

    Gary123

    Member
    English
    Hi all,

    I have a question regarding what follows a negative in French. I have seen a thread on this previously but cannot find it, sorry!

    We were always taught in school that after a negative, the following article becomes de, the exception being if the verb was être.

    eg.
    J'ai un crayon >> Je n'ai pas de crayon.

    But this doesn't seem correct to me in some circumstances. For example, je ne joue pas de foot doesn't seem correct to me, or is it?

    The sentence I was actually thinking about was with vouloir:
    Je voudrais une pizza.
    Je ne voudrais pas de pizza / je ne voudrais pas une pizza.

    Is that difference that when using de, you say that you would not like any pizza whereas une suggests that you don't want a pizza?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
     

    jann

    co-mod'
    English - USA
    We were always taught in school that after a negative, the following article becomes de, the exception being if the verb was être.
    You misremember every so slightly. You need to know a little more about the nature of the article. :)

    The definite article is not affected by negation; not even when it's part of a contracted form like à + le = au. Hence no replacement with de for sentences like "I don't play soccer."

    But you remember correctly that the indefinite article and the partitive article become de unless you're
    (a) identifying something with être (examples),
    (b) negating/correcting the quantity (example), the direct object (example), or the adjective that describes the subject complement (example) rather than the verb itself
    (c) emphasizing "not a single one" with an expression like pas un seul (example)
    (d) in a negative interrogative (example)

    Your pizza sentence could fall into category (b) depending on your intended meaning (e.g., wanting pizza vs. wanting stromboli, wanting a slice vs. wanting a whole pizza, wanting one pizza vs. wanting two pizzas, etc.) But if the distinction is just the basic one between wanting vs. not wanting, you'll need de in the negative.

    […]
     
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    ride7359

    Senior Member
    Dans une phrase à la forme négative, l'article indéfini est remplacé par de : J'ai vu un chat. / Je n'ai pas vu de chat.
    Mais on conserve l'article indéfini pour souligner l'opposition : Je n'ai pas vu un chat mais un chien.
    What if you don't mention the thing in opposition?

    For example. Today I am not wearing jeans; I am wearing a skirt. Can I say Je ne porte pas un jean even if I don't go on to sayJe porte une jupe ? Does using the indefinite article suggest that I am wearing something other than jeans?

    Now that I think of it, does Je ne porte pas de jean mean that I am wearing nothing over my culotte?
     
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