How to use negatives - ne ... pas

An explanation of how to make a sentence negative in French by forming a 'sandwich' around the main verb

The negative form ne ... pas means 'not' and it forms a sandwich around the main verb of a sentence to turn it from a positive into a negative, for example:

  • (positive) vous visitez Paris demain - you are visiting Paris tomorrow → (negative) vous ne visitez pas Paris demain - you’re not visiting Paris tomorrow
  • (positive) je jouais au foot - I was playing football → (negative) je ne jouais pas au foot - I wasn't playing football

Remember that ne becomes n' before a vowel or silent -h, for example:

  • (positive) tu habites à Poitiers ? - you live in Poitiers? → (negative) tu n’ habites pas à Poitiers ? - you don’t live in Poitiers?
  • (positive) j’aime la musique pop - I like pop music → (negative) je n’aime pas la musique pop - I don’t like pop music