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Pas - French Negative Adverb

Using pas without ne

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The French negative adverb pas is often used in conjunction with ne, but pas can also be used all on its own. There are different reasons for this; the one I get asked about the most is when pas is used to negate a verb, and it's addressed in my lesson on informal negation.

The focus of this lesson is the use of pas without ne to negate an adjective, adverb, noun, or pronoun. Note that this use of pas is somewhat informal - in most cases, it is possible to make a sentence using ne ... pas that means the same thing.

Pas + Adjective

   - Il doit être ravi ! - Pas ravi, mais content, oui.
   - He must be delighted! - Not delighted, but (yes, he is) happy.

   C'est un homme pas sympathique.
   He is an unkind man.

   Pas gentil, ça.
   That's not nice.

   Pas possible !
   That's not possible!


Pas + Adverb

   - Tu en veux ? - Oui, mais pas beaucoup.
   - Do you want some? - Yes, but not a lot.

   - Ça va ? - Pas mal.
   - How are you? - Not bad.

   Pourquoi pas ?
   Why not?

   Pas comme ça !
   Not like that!

   Pas si vite !
   Not so fast!

   Pas souvent, pas encore, pas trop
   Not often, not yet, not too much


Pas + Noun

   - Elle vient mercredi ? - Non, pas mercredi. Jeudi.
   - Is she coming on Wednesday? - No, not Wednesday. Thursday.

   - Je veux deux bananes. - Pas de bananes aujourd'hui.
   - I want two bananas. - No bananas today.

   Pas de problème !
   No problem!


Pas + Pronoun

   - Qui veut nous aider ? - Pas moi !
   - Who wants to help us? - Not me!

   - Tu as faim ? - Pas du tout !
   - Are you hungry? - Not at all!

   Ah non, pas ça !
   Oh no, not that!


Pas can also be used to ask for confirmation:

   Tu viens, ou pas ?
   Are you coming, or not?

   Je l'aime bien, pas toi ?
   I really like it, don't you?

   Pas vrai ?
   Right? Isn't that true?


Pas is also a noun meaning "step," and is found in many French expressions.
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