ne...que

Vincent B1Kwiziq community member

ne...que

Hi, Can you please help me with this?________ une clé. (I have found only one key.) Why "Je n'ai que trouvé" is not accepted as a correct answer? But Only "Je n'ai trouvé qu'" and "J'ai trouvé seulement" are correct. I checked the theory but I think "Je n'ai que trouvé" is also correct.

Asked 1 month ago
MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Vincent, 

French is not like English in this situation. 

Although in English nowadays ‘only’ gets moved around every which way in a phrase without necessarily being understood as changing the meaning, in French the restrictive ‘ que ‘ has to be placed directly before the thing being restricted. 

In the example sentence it is ‘only one key’ not ‘only found’ - any loss of distinction between these 2 different expressions is an English usage issue, but has not occurred in French.

 “ In constrast, the restrictive que in ne ... que can be placed either after the auxiliary verb or in front of the word it's restricting. Always place que in front of the word you restrict. “ 

Note that ne is always placed in front of the auxiliary verb, BUT que can never be in front of the auxiliary verb.
JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Just supplement to Maarten's point ---- it is the verb trouver that is being resticted and so "que" appears immediately after trouver. Also seulement (adverb modifying the verb) again a restriction.

ne...que

Hi, Can you please help me with this?________ une clé. (I have found only one key.) Why "Je n'ai que trouvé" is not accepted as a correct answer? But Only "Je n'ai trouvé qu'" and "J'ai trouvé seulement" are correct. I checked the theory but I think "Je n'ai que trouvé" is also correct.

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