There are numerous occasions where ‘ne’ may be used without ‘pas’.
I assume you are not referring to the ‘ne explétif’ but rather to cases where the ‘ne’ on its own invokes a true negative connotation (which the ‘ne explétif’ does not).
This construction is often referred to as the ‘literery ne’ since its use is largely limited to the literary domain.
1. Certain fixed expressions and proverbs which are largely hangovers from medieval French. E.g.
À Dieu ne plaise ! – God forbid!
Qu’à cela ne tienne ! – Never mind !
Il n’est pire sourd que celui qui ne veut pas entendre – There is none so deaf as he who will not hear
2. Certain expressions using avoir and être e.g.
N’avoir cure de – not to care about
Je n’ai cure de sa réputation – I don’t give a hoot about his reputation
N’était – but for
N’était son courage la bataille aurait été perdue – But for his courage the battle would have been lost
3. The verbs cesser de (cease), oser (dare), pouvoir (be able), savoir (know (how to), when followed by an infinitive e.g.
Il ne cesse de crier – He never stops shouting, Il n’ose le faire – He doesn’t dare do it
Je ne peux vous aider – I cannot help you, Tu ne sais danser - You do not know how to dance
A useful acronym to help remember these verbs is COPS.
These are just some of the situations where ‘ne’ may be used on its own, I’m sure there are many more which can arise.
Hope it helps,
I would demur to the native speakers to detail the frequency of use in speech.
This site purports to support learning up to level CEFR level C1.
This being the case, users at the appropriate level should not be discouraged from exploring and/or utilising all registers of spoken and written French.
Students attaining C1 will have displayed the necessary learning commitment to be equipped to embark on fully independent study and will usually be open to all means and methods of ameliorating their facility with the language.
In my opinion discussion of any topic should not be curtailed on the basis of difficulty or register.
If I may add to Tom's excellent comments, the 'pas' will not often be omitted in everyday language as it sounds very 'precious'.
Hope this helps!
Sign in to submit your answer
Don't have an account yet? Join today
Test your French to the CEFR standard