Negative use of falloir

CharlesC1Kwiziq community member

Negative use of falloir

I just opened a french novel and the first line is: "Il ne faut pas que l'on nous voie." I searched for negative statements like this on Lawless and found the example here: "Il ne faut pas que nous mangions avec les doigts." So I guess putting the 'ne . . . pas' round 'faut' is correct. It seems strange to me as an Anglophone. If I were making this up, I guess I would say: "Il faut que nous ne mangions pas avec les doigts." Is that incorrect? 

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Charles, 

Just to add to what Maarten and Chris, I prefer to translate il ne faut pas by must not.

Il ne faut pas que l'on nous voie = We must not be seen 

you could say 

Il faut qu'on ne nous voie pas 

Il ne faut pas manger avec les doigts = You must not eat with your fingers ( general statement)

Il ne faut pas qu'on perde we musn't lose

Il faut qu'on parle de Kevin = We must talk about Kevin ( ref- Lionel Shriver)

Il faut qu'on ne parle pas de mes parents en public = We mustn't talk abour my parents in public

Hope this helps!

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Effectively the difference  between   “ it is not necessary that (one) does …. “ and  ‘it is necessary that (one) does not …..’ .

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Yes, Maarten's correct. Just for completeness' sake, here are the three ways I can think of to use falloir with negation. To make it clear, in English, where the negation belongs to, I'll use "to be necessary" instead of "must".

Il ne faut pas que nous mangions avec les doigts. -- It is not necessary that we eat with the fingers. 
Il faut que nous ne mangions pas avec les doigts. -- It is necessary that we not eat with the fingers.
Il faut ne pas manger avec les doits. -- It is necessary not to eat with the fingers.

Negative use of falloir

I just opened a french novel and the first line is: "Il ne faut pas que l'on nous voie." I searched for negative statements like this on Lawless and found the example here: "Il ne faut pas que nous mangions avec les doigts." So I guess putting the 'ne . . . pas' round 'faut' is correct. It seems strange to me as an Anglophone. If I were making this up, I guess I would say: "Il faut que nous ne mangions pas avec les doigts." Is that incorrect? 

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