In the sentence: Tu ne peux rien mettre dans ce placard. Why is rien before mettre and not after?
Both Chris and Maarten are correct! In the case of a negation with a conjugated verb followed by an infinitive verb, the negations ne...pas / ne...jamais / ne...plus etc are placed on each side of the conjugated verb.
Je ne peux rien dire ! = I cannot say anything!
Je ne veux rien savoir ! = I do not want to hear about it!
See link here: Position of French Negations - with conjugated verb + infinitive
I hope this is helpful.
Bonne journée !
The standard of negation is to bracket the conjugated verb being negated (pouvoir in this case) between ne..rien. As I see you're linking another lesson, I think I'll better point out the difference to the usage of rien in the lesson:
Rien ne peut me déranger. -- Nothing can bother me. In this sentence, rien is the subject and therefore comes at the beginning.
Tu ne peux rien faire. -- You can't do anything. Here, rien is used in a classic ne..rien negation pair that brackets the verb being negated.
You will never use an infinitive verb form 'inside' a negation - the full negation structure comes before the verb when an infinitive is negated. Have a look at the link here. https://www.cliffsnotes.com/study-guides/french/french-ii/french-ii-the-infinitive/negating-an-infinitive
The negative (ne…pas / ne …jamais / ne… rien, etc.) surrounds the main verb. In this case the conjugated verb is followed by an infinitive but the negative must still be placed after the main or auxiliary verb. Ex: Je ne veux rien manger. Elle ne va pas étudier. Nous ne pouvons rien faire…..
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