FR: nobody can not be affected

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by lovecoffee, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. lovecoffee Member

    English - England

    How do I use double negatives in French? I'd like to say 'nobody can not be affected by the techniques of publicity' as in 'everyone is affected by publicity'. Do double negatives exist, or do I need to use the second version?

    My attempt so far is 'personne ne peut être pas affecté par les techniques de la publicité', but this looks really wrong...

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Oddmania

    Oddmania Senior Member


    It should be Personne ne peut pas être affecté... but it'll always sound better to say something like Il est impossible que personne ne soit affecté par...
  3. lovecoffee Member

    English - England
    Thank you very much! I'll use the second version, it's a good way of getting the subjunctive into my essay :)
  4. Mauricet Senior Member

    near Grenoble
    French - France
    Littéralement, Personne ne peut ne pas être affecté. C'est d'ailleurs compréhensible, avec un peu de concentration ... Mais Il est impossible que personne ne soit affecté dit autre chose que "nobody can not be affected" (= personne ne peut être non affecté = tout le monde est affecté), à savoir qu'il y a forcément quelqu'un qui est affecté.

    Je traduirais Il n'y a personne qui puisse ne pas être affecté.
  5. englishman Senior Member

    English England
    It's worth pointing out, I think, that this sounds very odd in English. Much better is:

    "Nobody can remain unaffected by .."
    "Nobody can fail to be affected by .."
  6. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    I don't think it necessarily sounds very odd - although I would definitely agree that it's not "elegant" and best avoided in writing. I can imagine people saying it - particularly in a context to directly contradict the positive version "nobody can be affected by..." I can imagine someone replying "I disagree, nobody can not be affected"
  7. englishman Senior Member

    English England
    In the particular instance you describe, yes, it's OK, but without stress, I think that it's very non-standard.
  8. janpol

    janpol Senior Member

    France - français
    Personne ne peut pas être affecté. 3 négations = 1 affirmation.
    personne n' est à l'abri de l'influence des techniques... > 2 mots de négation
    Nul ne reste à l'écart de l'influence des...
    Personne n'est insensible à / au / aux...
    Nous sommes tous influencés par...

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