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Ne ... personne = No one, nobody (negation)

Look at these negative sentences:

Je ne vois personne.
I see no one.I don't see anyone.

Il n'entend personne.
He hears no one.He doesn't hear anyone

Je ne sors avec personne.
I don't date anyone.

Ma soeur n'aime personne.
My sister doesn't like anyone.

 

Just as the construction ne… pas is used to negate a sentence, use ne.. personne to express 'no one / not anyone'.

 

ATTENTION:

Personne on its own means ''no one'', but une personne means ''a person''!

Qui est là? - Personne.
Who's there? -Nobody.

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Ma soeur n'aime personne.
My sister doesn't like anyone.


On ne reconnaît personne.
We don't recongnise anybody.We recognise nobody.


Il n'entend personne.
He hears no one.He doesn't hear anyone


Qui est là? - Personne.
Who's there? -Nobody.


Je ne vois personne.
I see no one.I don't see anyone.


Je ne sors avec personne.
I don't date anyone.



Micro kwiz: Ne ... personne = No one, nobody (negation)
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Q&A

Stuart

Kwiziq community member

1 January 2018

3 replies

What is the difference between n’importe qui and personne?

I’m probably missing something obvious, but I can’t find it elsewhere, sorry :)

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

2 January 2018

2/01/18

Bonjour Stuart !


The nuance here is of meaning, but it is indeed quite tricky as in English, you could translate either with "anyone".


However, personne means the absence of a person, i.e. noone/not anyone, hence it being used with the negative ne.
N'importe qui means a non-specific person, but definitely someone, i.e. anyone, and therefore will not be used with ne.



N'importe qui peut le faire.
Anyone can do this.


Personne ne peut le faire.
Noone can do this.



I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Jim

Kwiziq community member

2 January 2018

2/01/18

Personne is a pronoun.
N'importe comes from the verb importer -- to be important - to matter, (not the version "To import")
In the negative, they seem to convey a similar sense but there is probably a nuance that would be better explained by an expert.
Jim

Stuart

Kwiziq community member

2 January 2018

2/01/18

Thanks!

Michael

Kwiziq community member

9 October 2017

2 replies

Il n'y a personne

Hi - in the Kwik kwiz one of the answers includes the construction Il n'y a personne. Why is it Il n'y a personne and not Il y n'a personne? The lesson doesn't explain it. Thank you.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

10 October 2017

10/10/17

Bonsoir Michael,
Il y a is a fixed expression. The placement of negation ne . . .personne is covered in another lesson:
There are two important patterns to notice in these sentences that are different to English.
1) the two pronouns both go before the verb:
Tu attends Patricia à la banque -> Tu l'y attends.
You're waiting for Patricia at the bank -> You're waiting for her there
2) The order is ALWAYS:
me/te/le/la/l'/nous/vous/les (before) y
In negation formation, the ne or n'. . . always goes before the pronoun y.
Bonne chance,

Chris

Kwiziq community member

17 October 2017

17/10/17

Hi Michael, French has a very strict word order. In a negation, you will always find this order:

1) Start the negation with "ne"
2) Then come: me, te, se, nous, vous (reflexive pronouns)
3) Followed by: le, la, les (direct object pronouns)
4) Followed by: lui, leur (indirect object pronouns, 3rd person)
5) The pronoun "y"
6) The pronouns "en"
7) The verb to be negated
8) And finally the other half of the negation: pas, rien, personne, plus, etc.

Example: Il n'y a personne :
Il = subject
n' (ne) = start of negation
y = pronoun
a = verb
personne = the concluding part of the negation.

That is the standard order. Normally, not all elements in the list above actually occur in one sentence, so you just skip them. The order remains nonetheless the same.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).
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