Negative pronouns negate, refuse, or cast doubt on the existence of the noun that they replace, and can be the subject, direct object, or indirect object of a sentence.
Personne ne me connaît ici.
No one knows me here.
(personne is the subject)
Je ne vends aucun des livres.
I'm not selling any of the books.
(aucun is the direct object)
Il ne pense à rien.
He's not thinking about anything.
(rien is the indirect object)
Word orderIn simple tenses, the negative pronoun surrounds the verb, as in the above examples. With compound verbs and dual-verb constructions, the first and second word of most* negative pronouns surround the conjugated (first) verb:
Je n'ai rien vu.
I didn't see anything.
Je ne veux pas acheter un seul des livres.
I don't want to buy a single one of the books.
*The exceptions are personne and aucun, which place ne in front of the conjugated verb and the second word after the main verb.
Je n'ai vu personne.
I didn't see anyone.
Je ne veux acheter aucun des livres.
I don't want to buy any of the books.
Test on negative pronouns
French negative pronouns
|ne... aucun(e) (de)*||none (of), not any (of)|
|ne... nul(le)||no one|
|ne... pas un(e) (de)*||not one (of)|
|ne... pas un(e) seul(e) (de)*||not a single one (of)|
|ne... personne||no one|
|ne... quiconque||no one (learn more)|
|ne... rien||nothing, not... anything (expressions with rien)|
|*These pronouns must always have an antecedent. In addition, because they express a quantity, en must be used when these pronouns are the direct object of the sentence.|
Aucun de mes amis n'est venu.
None of my friends came.
Mes amis ? Aucun n'est venu.
My friends? None came.
Mes amis ? Je n'en ai vu aucun.
My friends? I didn't see any of them.