@Aoi75@yu-lia I think this question may be more about the retention of the 'ne'. @helloreba it is quite common in spoken French, especially of a lower register, to drop ne completely, or use enchaînment (joining together words and sounds) so it's not it's own syllable. For example Je ne sais pas becomes je sais pas (or very informally, j'sais pas). Another example is je ne veux pas, which may be said as either je veux pas (j'veux pas) or je n'veux pas. Je ne suis pas would commonly contract right down to j'suis pas (pronounced "chui pa"). This type of contraction is very common in French and just adds to it's beautiful flowing sound.
@izaak Yeah this is what I thought in his question but wasn't absolutely sure. Actually I hope one day this "ne" will disappear as a strict rule because it is use less and less nowadays when you speak (totally different when you write either a letter or a text message). People will prefer to say "aucune idée" instead of "je ne sais pas" in formal way. But for now unfortunately I am assuming it is better to learn the "pas" with the "ne" and the "without 'ne' negative form" as an exception you would hear only when you speak or use when you speak with friends.
@yu-lia Yes of course. Jamais pas sans ne! Or so we're told... but this is something every learner will just discover as their level improves. I still keep my ne when I'm explaining things to people. I only drop it in informal conversation as advised. I quite like the method of enchaînment to kind of get rid of the ne without actually breaking any rules. I've always thought ne was sometimes useful to get rid of ambiguity, but languages always make themselves more efficient, and I can't see ne standing the test of time.
@izaak Yeah, because actually in French the context is damn important. We always say that Korean or Japanese languages are contextual languages but French is one of them too. The variety of politeness you can have on one word, expression, the way you say it, the 'ne' is also involved in that! It depends so much on the person you talk with! And this kind of subtle rules and differences are understandable only at a certain level you have in the language. And I know how much it is frustrating! ! But when you're able to feel the difference, you're definitely on your way to become bilingual :) !
@yu-lia it's especially challenging coming from an English-language background where these subtleties are not commonly inferred or even present. The way I talk to strangers and even elders and teachers is very similar to how I talk to friends and family. The choice of words may vary, but the tone, sentence structure, and general manner of expression doesn't differ greatly. Certainly some people do take more offence to certain tones and phrases than others (a lot of people around 45 or older don't like referring to people as 'he' or 'she' when they're present, yet people younger than them see no problem).
@izaak Which is funny is that usually french people don't even notice differences because they suppose they use different expressions with their friends but that's all. In fact is a way more complicated.. and it is so automatic that they won't notice. If someone ask me "what is the difference between "lieu" and "endroit"?" I could answer "same bro" but actually there's a difference! subtle one but there is one :)
However, if you want to speak more about all that, feel free to mail me (email@example.com). I don't want to spam the question too much even if I think the subject of our discussion definitely worth the spamming 😅
The Language Level symbol shows a user's proficiency in the languages they're interested in. Setting your Language Level helps other users provide you with answers that aren't too complex or too simple.
Has difficulty understanding even short answers in this language.
Can ask simple questions and can understand simple answers.
Can ask all types of general questions and can understand longer answers.
Can understand long, complex answers.
This answer was given within 60 minutes of the question being posted.
How do you say "Hello" in Korean? Find out on HiNative!