Ni l'un(e) ni l'autre ne ... = Neither [one nor the other] (negation)

Ni l'un(e) ni l'autre ne... means neither one nor the other or neither (of them).

Look at these examples:

J'ai appelé Paul et Hadrien, mais ni l'un ni l'autre n'a répondu.
I called Paul and Hadrien, but neither one nor the other answered

Qu'en est-il de Julien et Sophie? - Ni l'un ni l'autre ne peut venir.
What about Julien and Sophie? - Neither one nor the other can come

Mes filles sont bonnes en maths, mais ni l'une ni l'autre n'est bonne en français.
My daughters are good in maths, but neither [one nor the other] is good in French.

 

L'un/l'une agrees in gender with the object it refers to.
Note also that the verb following is conjugated as with il/elle.

Ni l'un/e ni l'autre can also be used on its own to express neither:

Quel parfum tu veux ? Fraise ou vanille? - Ni l'un ni l'autre.
What flavour do you want ? Strawberry or vanilla? - Neither.

Tu aimes Fiona ou Pauline? - Ni l'une ni l'autre.
Do you love Fiona or Pauline? - Neither.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

J'ai appelé Paul et Hadrien, mais ni l'un ni l'autre n'a répondu.
I called Paul and Hadrien, but neither one nor the other answered


Quel parfum tu veux ? Fraise ou vanille? - Ni l'un ni l'autre.
What flavour do you want ? Strawberry or vanilla? - Neither.


Mes filles sont bonnes en maths, mais ni l'une ni l'autre n'est bonne en français.
My daughters are good in maths, but neither [one nor the other] is good in French.


Tu aimes Fiona ou Pauline? - Ni l'une ni l'autre.
Do you love Fiona or Pauline? - Neither.


Qu'en est-il de Julien et Sophie? - Ni l'un ni l'autre ne peut venir.
What about Julien and Sophie? - Neither one nor the other can come


Q&A

Tom

Kwiziq community member

23 July 2018

1 reply

Aucun(e) des deux

Is "aucune des deux ne vient" a valid alternative to "ni l'une ni l'autre ne vient"?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

26 July 2018

26/07/18

Hi Tom,

Both sentences are similar in meaning and correct.

Aucune des deux ne vient = Neither is coming

Ni l'une ni l'autre ne vientNeither one nor the other is coming

Hope this helps!

 

helen

Kwiziq community member

30 January 2018

5 replies

Can you use aucun/aucune to shorten these sentences?

Especially, if you are saing "neither". Could you use aucun/aucune with "ne" in front fo the verb: J'ai appelé Paul et Hadrien, mais aucun (or personne) n'a répondu." (I'm thinking now that aucun is about things not people? So, what about personne?)

helen

Kwiziq community member

30 January 2018

30/01/18

Oops. Just found out aucun/e can apply to people....so would the use of aucun or personne be correct?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

31 January 2018

31/01/18

You can say either: "aucun n'a répondu" or "personne n'a répondu".
They mean about the same thing with a slight difference in connotation:
"aucun" seems to imply a known group of people of which nobody replied. "personne" is simply "nobody".

Comparing it to English, it seems to me that "aucun" is similar to "none" and "personne" to "nobody".

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

31 January 2018

31/01/18

helen

Kwiziq community member

31 January 2018

31/01/18

Bonjour, Chris and Aurelie-- Thank you both!! Very helpful. Somehow I can remember aucun(e) more easily!

Tom

Kwiziq community member

22 July 2018

22/07/18

I believe that Aucun in the plural can be used with those nouns that only exist in a plural form and also for those nouns whose meanings differ from singular to plural.

e.g.Aucuns agrès (No equipment), Aucunes arrhes (No deposit);  Aucuns frais (No charges).

 

Also,

D'aucuns (Some (people)) acting as an equivalent of Certains or Quelques-uns is sometimes used:

          D'aucuns croient que la terre est plate.

Ajit

Kwiziq community member

26 July 2017

1 reply

What will be the case when one thing is masculine and the other is feminine?

Ni l'un ni l'autre OR Ni l'une ni l'autre OR something else?

Lanny

Kwiziq community member

28 July 2017

28/07/17

Much like ils/elles if the group is all female (or in your question both components are female) use l'une, otherwise for all male or mixed groups use l'un.

James

Kwiziq community member

23 June 2017

3 replies

Note that l'un/l'une agrees in gender with the object it refers to.

Tu veux fraise ou vanille? - Ni l'un ni l'autre. I note that both `fraise` and `vanilla` are feminine, therefore should the reply not be Ni l`une ni l`autre?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

24 June 2017

24/06/17

Bonjour James, I think that you are correct because «fraise» is definitely a feminin noun. This is one that Aurélie needs to reply to as there could be a grammaire rule that I am unaware of. Note that l'un/l'une agrees in gender with the object it refers to. Tu veux fraise ou vanille? - Ni l'un ni l'autre. Do you want strawberry or vanilla? - Neither. Bonne chance !

Andy

Kwiziq community member

25 June 2017

25/06/17

Really interesting. I can't say for sure but I do know that "ni l'un ni l'autre" is often a fixed expression in French. I also notice that in the examples given, that agreement is shown in relation to an aforementioned masculine or feminine person, and is perhaps not required (or maybe it just gets forgotten) when relating to the gender of an object. I suspect it would apply to animals but perhaps not with asexual nouns (which still technically have a grammatical gender of course).

Susan

Kwiziq community member

2 November 2017

2/11/17

Bonjour Ron, Did Aurélie ever respond to this question? The lesson hasn't been changed to "Ni l'une ni l'autre" to respond to the "fraise ou vanille" question.

James

Kwiziq community member

23 June 2017

2 replies

Tu veux fraise ou vanille? - Ni l'un ni l'autre

Ron

Kwiziq community member

24 June 2017

24/06/17

Bonjour James, I do believe you are correct as «fraise» is a feminine noun. Perhaps this is one that Aurélie needs to respond to in case there is a grammar rule that I am unaware of that would make this an exception. Note that l'un/l'une agrees in gender with the object it refers to. Ni l'un/e ni l'autre can also be used on its own to express neither: Tu veux fraise ou vanille? - Ni l'un ni l'autre. Do you want strawberry or vanilla? - Neither. Bonne chance !

James

Kwiziq community member

25 June 2017

25/06/17

Thanks Ron, I would assume that if one of the subjects had been masculine, then it would be Ni l`un..., but both are feminine.

Michael

Kwiziq community member

15 June 2017

6 replies

In the first quiz question of ni ni ne I noticed that the answer is

n'a mangé...ni ni isn't this neither nor rather than neither of them.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

17 June 2017

17/06/17

Bonjour Michael,
In the context of the phrase, ni. . .ni. . n'a mangé, it would translate as neither of them ate. However, literally speaking yes ni . . . ni is neither. . . nor.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

19 June 2017

19/06/17

Bonjour Michael !

The translation of ni...ni... varies depending on sentences.
In the lesson you referred to, "ni l'un ni l'autre" literally mean "Neither one nor the other", which would sometimes be better translated in English as "Neither of them".

But I agree that it applies mostly to people, and we could prefer "neither one nor the other" when it comes (like here) to food...

I've therefore decided to update the lesson title to : Ni l'un(e) ni l'autre ne ... = Neither [one nor the other] (negation) :)

I hope that's helpful!
Merci beaucoup et à bientôt !

Michael

Kwiziq community member

20 June 2017

20/06/17

Ron, Aurélie. Thanks for your clear and succinct answer, as usual. Cheers Mike.

James

Kwiziq community member

9 July 2017

9/07/17

Bonjour, I am correct then in saying; Ni l`une ni l`autre? As both fraise and vanille are feminine? The lesson is already entitled `Ni l'un(e) ni l'autre ne...` Therefore no update is required.

Tom

Kwiziq community member

23 July 2018

23/07/18

I have read this thread attentively and am none the wiser as regards the fraise/vanille problème.

To quote Ron:

"

Note that l'un/l'une agrees in gender with the object it refers to.
Ni l'un/e ni l'autre can also be used on its own to express neither:
Tu veux fraise ou vanille? - Ni l'un ni l'autre.
Do you want strawberry or vanilla? - Neither.

"

Surely since frais/vanille has already been referenced the only valid reply in this case should be "ni l'une ni l'autre"

Am I not understanding properly?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

10 August 2018

10/08/18

Bonjour Tom !

Ok, I completely agree that this example is confusing at best :)

The explanation is that here we're talking about flavours (ice cream, yoghurt...), which in French is masculine = un parfum.

Therefore, it's my humble opinion that that's why we use the masculine here, but I agree that it looks so illogical to non-French natives!

I've decided to rephrase this example, to make the antecedent clearer.

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

diana

Kwiziq community member

15 January 2017

5 replies

qu'en est-il

diana

Kwiziq community member

15 January 2017

15/01/17

can you please give another example of this construction. I can't intuitively understand it.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

16 January 2017

16/01/17

Bonjour Diana ! Are you talking about "qu'en est-il" or "ni l'un ni l'autre" ?

diana

Kwiziq community member

16 January 2017

16/01/17

qu'en est-il is one of the example sentences in that topic. so yes, qu'en est-il de J et S means what about J and S. It's just a strange construction for me.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

17 January 2017

17/01/17

Bonjour Diana ! "Qu'en est-il ?" literally means "What is of it?". When used with "de", as such: "Qu'en est-il de ... ?" , it means "What is it of ...? / What about ...?". I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

diana

Kwiziq community member

17 January 2017

17/01/17

thank you! that is very helpful!

Héctor

Kwiziq community member

12 November 2016

1 reply

But you use this only when you're talking about two subjects, right?

I mean, In all the previous examples you were only talking about two people. What if I want to talk about three or more people/objects/animals?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

21 November 2016

21/11/16

Bonjour Héctor ! Could you please give me a specific example of what you mean, and I'd be happy to look into it for you :)

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