ne...pas, ne...jamais, ne...que

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by natalie_tyw, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. natalie_tyw Member

    Cantonese, HK
    Salut tout le monde,
    For the first part of the sentence below, does "Je n'ai jamais suivi de science" same as "Je n'ai pas suivi de science"?
    Moreover, does the words "ne" et "qu" that I has underlined form a meaning of "only"?
    Please translate the sentence for me.

    "Je n'ai jamais suivi de science, riche ou pauvre, dure ou souple, chaude ou froide, qui ne trouve son moment de verite sur une surface plane d'un ou deux metres carres qu'un chercheur, un crayon a la main, peut inspecter du regard."
  2. MattF

    MattF Senior Member

    English UK
    It's more precise than that. "I have never ... " would be the normal translation.

    I think not in this case; I should translate it as though it read "qui ne trouve [ pas ] ... "where the "pas" has been left out for aesthetic reasons, to make the sentence "flow" better
    I'd say something like:

    "I have never followed any science, be it rich or poor, hard or soft, hot or cold, whose moment of truth could not be found on a flat surface of one or two square metres that a researcher, pencil in hand, could inspect with the naked eye."

    It's a bit literal, but I think that's the sense of it.
    It's also a bit ambiguous: it isn't clear to me whether "suivi" is meant in the sense "understood" or "studied", so I have preserved that ambiguity in the English.
  3. judkinsc

    judkinsc Senior Member

    English, USA
    ne <verb> que = only <verb>
    ne <verb> pas = not/negation of <verb>
    ne <verb> jamais = never <verb>
  4. natalie_tyw Member

    Cantonese, HK
    Thanks MattF very much.
  5. ethan_hines New Member

    Does anyone know if a person can get away with this sentence if they are being informal......
    Je parle français et que français. or does it really need the NE as in Je parle français et ne que français?
  6. Michelvar

    Michelvar quasimodo

    Marseille - France
    French from France

    We would not use "que" in the first structure you propose : "Je parle français, et uniquement / seulement français".

    But, you are right, in an informal French, one could say "je parle français, et que français".

    "Je parle français et ne que français" would never be used, even in an informal way.

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