How to say "I only told him about it"

ThyB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

How to say "I only told him about it"

Hello,

I wonder how I should say: "I only told him about it" ? 

Is it: "Je ne lui ai parlé que de ca" (this is translated by deepL but it seems wrong to me)

Or should I just say: "I told no one but him" -> "Je n'ai personne parlé que lui"

Merci.

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

"I only told him about it." would probably be translated as Je n'ai dit a personne que lui. I realize that this isn't an exact translation but I suspect that most French would use a sentence like this.

Je n'ai dit qu'à lui. -- I told only him.

This is the construction using ne..que. Again, I have a feeling that in practice, one would say Je ne l'ai dit qu'à lui.

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Bonjour Thy,

To express "I only told him about it" --> Je n'ai que lui dit au sujet de cela (ça)

The restriction takes place around the verb  -->  literal, "I have only to him said (told) about that (it)" 

Bonne continuation

Jim

ThyB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hello Jim,

Thank you for your answer. It's very great. But a question popped up in my mind: Why is it "... que lui dit au ..." but not "... dit que lui au ...". Because in all of the examples in the lesson, it's always ne + verb + que + object.

ThyB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hello Chris,

Thank you so much for your answer. "Je ne l'ai dit qu'à lui" is what I'm looking for.

I do have a question relating your other answer: "Je n'ai dit a personne que lui". This is a great mix of two grammar points, I like it a lot. But why is it "a personne" and not just "personne". I thought the structure "ne ... personne" already means anyone/no one so what is the "a" doing there?

Merci.

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Personne and rien are two negating particles that also take on other functions in a sentence. They can be, for example, the subject or object of a sentence. When they are, you treat them as such, including all the prepositions that requires.

Je ne vois personne. -- I see nobody. (personne is the COD)
Je ne parle à personne. -- I talk to nobody. (à personne is the indirect object)

How to say "I only told him about it"

Hello,

I wonder how I should say: "I only told him about it" ? 

Is it: "Je ne lui ai parlé que de ca" (this is translated by deepL but it seems wrong to me)

Or should I just say: "I told no one but him" -> "Je n'ai personne parlé que lui"

Merci.

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