<<

. 14
( 19)



>>

toutefois = nevertheless
and expressions like d™une part . . . de l™autre part = on the one hand . . . on the other, d™un
cot´ . . . de l™autre cot´ = on the one hand . . . on the other ; and words like bizarrement
ˆe ˆe
= strangely, franchement = frankly, naturellement = naturally, which are also adverbs
of manner but as conjuncts convey some assessment of what is being said.
au / du moins = at least; au moins is also used as an adverb of degree
puis = then, both as an adverb of time and a connector.


414 Examples of connectors
Alors, j™ai opt´ pour le francais = so I opted for French
e ¸
En revanche, tu n™as aucune raison de culpabiliser = on the other hand, you™ve got
no reason to feel guilty
ˆ
Mˆ me si l™on ne peut compl` tement controler sa vie, on peut au moins en
e e
donner l™impression = even if you can™t control your life, you can at least give the impression
you do
De l™autre cot´ ce n™est peut-ˆ tre pas la meilleure solution = on the other hand,
ˆe e
it™s perhaps not the best solution
De toute mani` re, tu me connais “ si je peux aider = in any case, you know me, if I
e
can help
Or, oui, je pense que c™est bien de se poser cette question = well, yes, I think it™s
a good idea to ask yourself that question


306
Exercises



Et [1] puis, [2] globalement, il est plus agr´ able de recevoir un bouquet de
e
¬‚eurs qu™une paire de baffes = and then, on the whole, it™s more pleasant to get a bouquet of
¬‚owers than a box round the ears



Exercises

Traduisez en francais les passages qui suivent en anglais “
¸

a Loneliness isn™t a medical defect or a stroke of fate, but a necessary
phase, from which you often emerge more aware, more sensitive and
more human.
b I think that the reason why I became a writer is to a large extent linked
to my father and my feelings towards him.
c Fast-food culture has completely changed our eating habits and, even
more seriously, the amounts we consume.
d We live in a very competitive society in which you construct your own
self-esteem by constantly comparing yourself to others.
e The symptoms of the crisis in the Catholic church in France are so well
known that it™s scarcely necessary to list them: in half a century regular
church-going has collapsed, it™s been divided by four and is stagnating
around 10%; the number of priests being ordained every year is
nowadays a tenth of what it was in the ™50s, and Catholic charities are no
more than the shadow of what they used to be.
f At the present time, no one is in a position to know if Lille will
´
equal Saint-Etienne and Marseille by pulling off a fourth consecutive
national title, nor what its fate will be in the Champions™ League.
g Allow it to cook for 15 mins. on a low heat, then add the stock and
cream, allow to cook for a further 15 mins. on a medium heat. Remove
the thyme and mix everything together with the remainder of the cream.
Add a little stock if it is too thick.
h Frequently used to relieve stress, essential oils can also be used,
according to their properties, to soothe your skin or ¬ght against
wrinkles.
i Apply black or very dark brown eyeliner in a classical style on your
upper eyelid, going from the centre and extending the line beyond the
outer corner of your eye. Once the make-up is completely dry, you apply
a slightly shorter identical line of eyeliner to the edge of your lower
lashes.
j Patches are good at performing conjuring tricks. They are applied
locally, like a cream, but they act on the whole of the body, like a pill.
The trick consists in enclosing the active ingredient under a small piece
of adhesive material, which allows it to spread through the skin in order
to connect with the blood supply.
k On a wall pur´ e of broccoli is spread like a coating, at the foot of the wall
e
there are two cones of carrots. With time the wall and the cones will


307
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



assume colours that will change under the effect of decomposition “
that™s contemporary art for you!
l Traditionally, it is accepted that boys belong to the ˜stronger sex™ and
girls to the ˜weaker sex™. This distinction may re¬‚ect a difference in
terms of muscles. But when you consider existence as a whole, the
reverse is clearly true. Generally speaking, women resist illness better;
they eat more healthily; they™re more cautious when driving and kill
each other less spontaneously. As a consequence, they live longer.




308
Chapter 10 Negation


415 Negation + verb
To negate a verb, the negative particle ne is used:

alone (but very rarely) “
Si ce n™est de garder cette bonne habitude d™avoir toujours une bouteille
d™eau a port´ e de main = unless it is to keep this good habit of always having a bottle of water
` e
to hand

in conjunction with another item which may be
a negative particle “
Monogamie ne rime pas avec monotonie = monogamy and monotony are not the same
thing

a pronoun “
Personne ne veut provoquer un oed` me des cordes vocales et une laryngite
e
chronique “ ne fumez donc pas “ no one wants to cause oedema of the vocal cords and
chronic laryngitis “ so don™t smoke

a determiner “
ˆ
D™autres objets ne doivent en aucun cas etre introduits dans la bouche de
l™enfant = under no circumstances must other objects be placed in the child™s mouth

an adverb “
Un tiers des couples francais ne font plus l™amour = a third of French couples no
¸
longer make love
All these items require ne when negating a verb “ except in informal French when the
ne is often dropped “ see 431. However, when they are used without a verb, they still
retain their negative values; in other words, personne = no one (but une personne =
a person), aucun = no, none, jamais = never (but in certain circumstances, it can also =
ever).

416 ne + negative particle “ ne . . . pas = not
The negative particle most commonly used “ in fact in the vast majority of cases “
is pas. Point also exists but is rarely found in contemporary French usage.

Word order
Ne precedes the verb and any unstressed object pronouns or y, en that also precede it.
The particle follows the ¬nite verb in simple tenses and the auxiliary verb in compound
tenses. It can however be separated from the verb by certain adverbs “ see below.


309
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



ne . . . pas + ¬nite verb in simple tenses
L™important n™est pas d™ˆ tre meilleur que les autres mais d™ˆ tre au mieux
e e
de soi-mˆ me = the important thing is not to be better than others but to be at your best
e
Je crois fermement que le succ` s n™arrive pas par accident = I sincerely believe
e
that success does not come by accident
Les assurances les plus ch` res ne sont pas toujours les meilleures = the most
e
expensive insurance is not always the best
`
La mauvaise r´ putation des cr` mes a base de cortisone n™est pas justi¬´ e
e e e
si on prend les pr´ cautions n´ cessaires = the bad reputation of creams with a cortisone
e e
base is not justi¬ed if you take the necessary precautions

ne . . . pas + auxiliary verb in compound tenses
Malgr´ un service capricieux, la tenniswoman francaise ne s™est pas mise
e ¸
en danger face a sa rivale russe = despite a capricious serve, the French tennis player didn™t
`
cause herself any serious problems against her Russian opponent
L™´ quipe tch` que ne lui a pas laiss´ le temps de se construire = the Czech team
e e e
didn™t give him the time to get his game together
`
Le Ministre de la Justice n™a pas cach´ son inqui´ tude face a la situation
e e
dans les prisons = the Minister of Justice did not hide his anxiety over the situation in the
prisons
Ils n™ont pas pu riposter aux tirs de canon venant des rebelles = they couldn™t
return the cannon ¬re coming from the rebels
Je n™aurais pas cru que pr´ server sa sant´ dentaire est si dif¬cile = I
e e
wouldn™t have thought that preserving your dental health is so dif¬cult

ne + unstressed pronouns
Je ne me sens pas menac´ maintenant = I don™t feel that I™m threatened now
e
C™est de ceux qui ne l™ont pas connu que vient l™hommage le plus
emouvant = it™s from those who didn™t know him that the most touching homage has come
´
C™est d´ ja bien beau que le moral ne m™ait pas laiss´ e plus tot = it™s already
e` ˆ
e
very nice that my morale didn™t abandon me earlier
Ne te laisse pas abattre, prends ce mal en patience = don™t let yourself get depressed,
be patient with this problem
Si je voulais un pain de chocolat et qu™il n™y en avait pas, ca cr´ ait un
¸ e
mouvement de panique = if I wanted a bar of chocolate and there weren™t any, that created a
feeling of panic

ne . . . pas with imperative
Antibiotiques “ ne les m´ langez pas au lait de biberon = don™t mix antibiotics in
e
the baby™s bottle
Ne vous courbez pas sur votre assiette, tenez-vous droite = don™t bend over your
plate, sit up straight

310
416 ne + negative particle “ ne . . . pas = not



N™h´ sitez pas a vous faire plaisir, vous n™en serez que plus irr´ sistible =
`
e e
don™t hesitate to give yourself some pleasure, you™ll only look the more irresistible
ne . . . pas + inverted interrogative “ see 472.
Ne . . . pas surround the verb and pronoun “
N™avez-vous pas envie de lui dire d™aller se faire voir? = don™t you want to tell him
to take a running jump?
N™accepterez-vous pas de conformer aux r` gles, de respecter les interdits?
e
= won™t you agree to conforming to the rules, to respecting the taboos?
Ce besoin d™accumuler les conquˆ tes, ne r´ v` lerait-il pas une peur de la
e ee
solitude ou de l™engagement? = doesn™t this need to collect conquests reveal a fear of
loneliness or of commitment?
ne pas precedes an in¬nitive “
and also any pronouns that precede the in¬nitive “
Le mus´ e n™est pas encore n´ et pourrait ne pas voir le jour = the museum isn™t
e e
yet born and might not see the light of day
On lui reproche de ne pas tenir compte du facteur humain dans sa quˆ te de e
la rigueur scienti¬que = they reproach him for not taking account of the human factor in his
quest for scienti¬c rigour
Il est important de ne pas servir vos repas dans de grandes assiettes
blanches, mais dans de petites assiettes color´ es = it™s important not to serve your
e
meals on big white plates but on small coloured ones
Il vous faut des compl´ ments alimentaires “ indispensables pour ne pas
e
etre crev´ e de fatigue = you need some food complements “ indispensable so as not to be
ˆ e
exhausted with fatigue
Il est conseill´ de ne pas s™attarder, achetez maintenant = it™s advisable not to
e
delay, buy now
Pourquoi ne pas lui proposer une escapade dans les dunes? = why not suggest a
romp in the dunes to her?
ne . . . pas surround the auxiliary with a past in¬nitive “
Je m™en voulais de n™avoir pas su pr´ server notre bonheur = I was angry with
e
myself for not being able to preserve our happiness
ne . . . pas surround the present participle “
En n™oubliant pas de l™amener avec toi = not forgetting to bring her with you
Pour calmer votre stress, faites des promenades, mais en ne mangeant pas
en route = to calm your stress, go for walks, but without eating at the same time
ˆ
Le role du comique “ produire de la critique sociale mais en ne d´ versant e
pas trop son ¬el = the comic™s role “ to produce social criticism, but not venting his spleen
excessively
`
Vous faites un affront a vos lecteurs en ne respectant pas la voix du peuple
= you insult your readers by not respecting the voice of the people

311
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



pas separated from the verb by an adverb
The adverbs in question tend to consist of a single word only; but quand mˆ me = even
e
so, sans doute = probably are also used in this way “
Le champion n™´ tait peut-ˆ tre pas dans un grand jour si l™on en croit ses
e e
mimiques signi¬catives = perhaps the champ wasn™t on top form if you believe his signi¬cant
gestures
´
Votre b´ b´ a horreur du bruit “ ne soyez donc pas etonn´ e de le voir crier si
ee e
votre radio hurle = your baby can™t stand noise “ so don™t be surprised if you see him screaming
if your radio is blasting away
Il ne doit surtout pas se r´ veiller avec une gueule de bois = above all he mustn™t
e
wake up with a hangover
Le pr´ sident du club n™est mˆ me pas sur de rester en place = the president of the
ˆ
e e
club is not even sure of keeping his job
La soci´ t´ n™est cependant pas compos´ e uniquement de professeurs et
ee e
d™ouvriers = society is, however, not composed entirely of teachers and workers
Vous n™allez quand mˆ me pas vous lancer dans une autre aventure = even so
e
you™re not going to launch yourself into another adventure
Le fait de tomber amoureux n™est sans doute pas un pur hasard = the fact of
falling in love is not a pure accident

ne . . . pas + inde¬nite article (un, une, du, de la, de l™, des) + direct object “
the inde¬nite article is contracted to de (see 260) “
Les pates ne manquent pas d™atouts nutritionnels = pasta is not without nutritional
ˆ
bene¬ts
L™angoisse est consid´ rablement exacerb´ e s™ils n™ont pas de recours
e e
m´ dical = their anxiety is considerably increased if they haven™t got medical help
e
L™anesth´ siste est la pour s™assurer que le patient n™a pas de naus´ es = the
`
e e
anaesthetist is there to assure himself that the patient is not nauseous
J™ai remarqu´ qu™il n™y avait pas d™immigr´ s dans les cort` ges = I noticed that
e e e
there weren™t any immigrants among the marchers
Ca ne me pose pas de probl` me d™attendre = it™s no problem for me to wait
¸ e
Il n™y a pas de mal a se faire du bien = there™s no harm in doing yourself some good
`

This situation is to be distinguished from the following “
ne . . . pas + de combined with the de¬nite article, producing du, de l™, de la,
des “
Mais ne servez-vous pas encore du sirop que vous avez mis de cot´ = but
ˆe
don™t use the syrup that you™ve put to one side yet
Il ne se contente pas du shampooing quotidien “ il utilise en plus le gel
pour cheveux, et la cire a cheveux = he™s not satis¬ed with his daily shampoo “ he also
`
uses hair gel and wax

312
417 ne alone



ne . . . pas + de combined with the inde¬nite article, producing pas un, pas une “
Si elle n™a pas une bonne dose d™humour, oubliez = if she hasn™t got a reasonable
dose of good humour, forget it

417 ne alone
The use of ne without pas is limited to a small number of circumstances, with certain
verbs and expressions “

With cesser
Les choses n™ont cess´ d™empirer = things have kept on getting worse
e
Je ne cessais de me demander comment on avait pu en arriver la = I kept on
`
asking myself how things could have got to such a state

With n™avoir de cesse = to persist until
Cette fois, c™est d´ cid´ , vous sortez les grands moyens “ le love-coach “ il
ee
n™aura de cesse de vous caser avec votre id´ al = this time it™s for sure, you bring out
e
the big guns “ a love-coach “ he won™t give up till he™s ¬xed you up with your perfect partner
´e e`
Elle a et´ initi´ e a un nouveau monde qui n™aura de cesse de lib´ rer son e
esprit = she has been initiated into a new world which will continually liberate her mind

With pouvoir
Je ne peux m™empˆ cher d™ˆ tre nerveuse lorsque mon mari doit prendre
e e
l™avion pour ses d´ placements professionnels = I can™t help being nervous when my
e
husband takes the plane when he™s travelling professionally
ˆ `
La culpabilit´ de ne pouvoir etre a la hauteur de cette image sociale de la
e
sexualit´ = guilt at not being able to maintain this social image of sexuality
e
L™on ne peut pr´ tendre en permanence que les pr´ ceptes r´ publicains sont
e e e
bafou´ s chaque fois qu™on lance une r´ forme = you can™t keep on claiming that every
e e
time a reform is launched republican principles are ¬‚outed

With si ce n™est = but for, unless
Si ce n™est de garder cette bonne habitude d™avoir toujours une bouteille
d™eau a port´ e de main = unless it is to keep this good habit of always having a bottle of water
` e
to hand

With je ne sais quoi = goodness knows what
J™en ai marre de ces f´ ministes agressives qui veulent que leurs mecs
e
fassent le m´ nage, la vaisselle, le repassage et je ne sais quoi encore = I™m
e
fed up with those aggressive feminists who want their fellers to do the housework, the washing up, the
ironing and goodness knows what else

With n™importe qui = anyone, n™importe quoi = anything “ see 245
N™importe qui accepterait pour lui faire plaisir = anyone would accept to please her
Vous feriez n™importe quoi pour eviter une situation p´ nible = you™d do anything
´ e
to avoid a painful situation

313
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



With some archaic formulae
Qu™a cela ne tienne! = never mind!
`
There is also the case of ˜expletive™ ne “ used, optionally, in certain types of clause.
Unlike the previous cases, this ne has no negative value. Its use here is often but not
always associated with high-register French “

After avant que = before
On ne pouvait pas l™empˆ cher de voir ses copains, on le harcelait avant
e
qu™il ne parte = you couldn™t stop him seeing his mates, you tackled him about it before he left

After expressions of prevention
En fait ca evitera qu™il ne se sente oblig´ de se rendre a la fac ce soir = in fact
¸´ `
e
that will save him from going back to the uni. this evening

After sans que = without
C™est le cas des employ´ s qui suivent leur entreprise sans que leur conjoint
e
ne puisse partir avec eux = it™s the case of workers who follow their ¬rm around without their
spouse being able to go with them
ˆ
Si vous etes mal dans votre peau, vous ne serez pas percu positivement, ¸
sans que la personne ne puisse r´ ellement en expliquer la cause = if you™re not
e
comfortable with yourself, you won™t be perceived positively, without the person being really able to
explain the reason why

418 ne . . . personne = no one, not anyone
As subject
Personne ne doit perdre la face = no one must lose face
La soci´ t´ actuelle souhaite nous aligner tous sur le mˆ me mod` le “
ee e e
personne n™ose ne pas paraˆtre jeune, beau, productif = contemporary society wants
±
to make us all conform to the same model “ no one dares not appear young, good-looking, productive
La combine fonctionne “ mais personne n™est dupe = the scams work “ but no one
is taken in
Personne ne devrait manquer une telle possibilit´ = no one should miss such a
e
chance
Personne ne voulait de moi = no one wanted me

As object
With compound tenses the pronoun follows the past participle (instead of preceding it,
as with most of the other negators) “
Je n™ai personne a qui me con¬er = I haven™t got anyone to con¬de in
`
Je n™ai reconnu personne dans la salle “ I didn™t recognise anyone in the room
´
Je vous ecris parce que je ne trouve personne avec qui je peux partager ma
passion des cravates et petits boutons fantaisie = I™m writing to you because I can™t
¬nd anyone with whom I can share my passion for ties and small novelty buttons

314
419 ne . . . rien = nothing, not anything



As indirect object
Ne parlez a personne comme ca, pas de r´ ¬‚exion, ni de prise de tˆ te = don™t
` ¸ e e
speak to anyone like that, without thinking, without arguing
Ne faites con¬ance a personne et gardez votre langue dans votre poche =
`
don™t trust anyone and keep your tongue buttoned up
`
L™id´ e n™arriverait a personne d™utiliser de tels comprim´ s sans
e e
l™autorisation de son m´ decin = the idea wouldn™t occur to anyone to use those pills without
e
their doctor™s authorisation

After a preposition
J™ai d´ couvert que je ne peux compter sur personne sauf mon amie = I™ve
e
discovered that I can™t count on anyone except my girlfriend
Les poign´ es d™amour ne ¬‚attent l™image de personne = love handles don™t ¬‚atter
e
anyone™s image
Les divorc´ s qui sont rest´ s des ann´ es sans personne = divorcees who go for years
e e e
without anybody

Without a verb
Avec qui es-tu sortie hier soir? “ Personne = who did you go out with last night? “ No
one
Qui est responsable des ¬ches de paie des travailleurs int´ rimaires? “
e
R´ ponse habituelle “ personne = who is responsible for temporary workers™ pay slips? “
e
Usual answer “ nobody

419 ne . . . rien = nothing, not anything
As subject
Rien n™est prouv´ , mais vous pouvez essayer = nothing is proved, but you can try
e
Rien ne doit vous empˆ cher de r´ gler vos histoires de coeur = nothing must
e e
prevent you from sorting out your romantic attachments
Rien n™est plus dangereux pour la sant´ que le cholest´ rol de basse densit´
e e e
= nothing is worse for our health than low-density cholesterol
Rien n™y fait “ tout le monde est toujours fach´ = nothing can be done about it “
ˆe
everyone is still cross

As object
Ces positions n™ont rien de tr` s confortable = these positions aren™t at all comfortable
e
Si vous ne faites rien la situation va empirer = if you don™t do something the situation
is going to get worse
Il ne faut rien effacer, tout se rappeler, pour mieux rebondir = you mustn™t leave
out anything, remember everything, to bounce back more effectively
Les hauts fonctionnaires n™ont rien sacri¬´ de leurs privil` ges = the top civil
e e
servants have not sacri¬ced any part of their privileges

315
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



Before an in¬nitive
ˆ
Vous etes un peu maladroite, mais c™est toujours mieux que de ne rien
faire = you™re a bit clumsy, but it™s always better than doing nothing

After a preposition
Il ne faut toucher a rien = you mustn™t touch anything
`
Elle ne se souvient de rien de cette nuit-la = she can™t remember anything about that
`
night
Je ne sortirais avec lui pour rien au monde = I wouldn™t go out with him for anything
in the world
Je n™´ changerais pas ca pour rien au monde = I wouldn™t change that for anything in
e ¸
the world

rien de + adjective = nothing + adjective
The adjective is invariable; the expressions may be used with a verb, in which case ne is
required before the verb, rien precedes the participle when the verb is compound and
the adjectival part follows it, or rien de may be used without a verb, in which case it
retains its full negative value “
with simple tense
Je crois qu™il n™y a rien de pire qu™une ¬lle qui fait l™´ talage de ses
e
conquˆ tes comme pourrait le faire un mec = I think there™s nothing worse than a girl
e
who displays her conquests, like a guy would do
with compound tense
Je n™y ai rien appris de nouveau = I didn™t learn anything new there
Il n™y avait rien eu d™extravagant a la « Disco Infernale » = there hadn™t been
`
anything that out of the ordinary at the ˜Disco Infernale™
without ne, rien still preserves its negative value
Rien de plus triste que des petits d´ jeuners qui se suivent et se ressemblent
e
= there™s nothing sadder than breakfasts one after the other all the same
Rien de tel qu™une bonne fˆ te paillarde pour echapper au stress = there™s
´
e
nothing like a good old wild knees-up to avoid stress
Rien de pire que les pates trop cuites = there™s nothing worse than over-cooked pasta
ˆ

With sans = without anything
Monaco se trouve bredouille, sans rien = Monaco ends up empty-handed, without a
thing

rien que without negative = only, just
` `
Voila pourquoi elle peut s™octroyer de temps a autre des moments rien que
pour elle = here™s why she can allow herself from time to time some moments just for herself
`
Rien que de penser a tout ce que ma copine va endurer, je me dis que j™ai la
chance d™ˆ tre solo = simply thinking about what my friend is going to go through, I tell myself
e
I™m lucky to be on my own

316
421 ne . . . nul = no, no one



rien as noun = the slightest thing and functions as a normal noun
Il ne suf¬t pas de r´ aliser un bon match, tout se joue sur des petits d´ tails,
e e
des petites erreurs, des riens = it™s not enough to play a good match, everything turns on
small details, minor errors, the slightest thing
Les repas prˆ ts en un rien de temps, vous vous en souvenez? = meals ready in
e
the blink of an eye “ do you remember them?


420 ne . . . aucun = no, none
As adjective
Je ne plaisais a aucune ¬lle = I didn™t appeal to any girl
`
Je n™ai aucun lien de sang avec ce monsieur-la = I™ve no blood tie with that man
`
Dans aucune d´ mocratie du monde, on ne trouve pareille situation = in no
e
democracy in the world do you ¬nd a similar situation
Aucune plan` te ne vous nuit ce mois-ci = no planet will harm you this month
e
Elle n™a aucune trace ecrite de son travail = she™s not got any written proof of her job
´

Without a verb
Quel homme r´ sisterait a une jolie femme? “ Aucun = what man could resist a
`
e
pretty woman? “ None
ˆ
Vous etes tomb´ e sur un mec en boˆte, mais vous apprenez qu™il est mari´
e ± e
“ votre r´ ponse? “ Aucun probl` me, suis pas jalouse = you come across a bloke in a
e e
club, but you ¬nd out he™s married “ your reaction? “ No prob, I™m not jealous
Aucun is not used as an adjective in the plural “ its role there is assumed by the
partitive article de or sans “ see 260, 383.

As pronoun
Aucun de mes amis ne comprend pourquoi je pr´ f` re vivre en solo = none of
ee
my friends understands why I prefer to live alone
Aucune de ses victimes n™a os´ d´ crire leur calvaire personnel = none of his
ee
victims dared describe their personal suffering


421 ne . . . nul = no, no one
Ne . . . nul is not very common in contemporary French “ it survives particularly
in the expression nulle part = nowhere and occasionally as a pronoun and also as an
independent adjective.

As adjective
Partout et jamais nulle part = everywhere and never nowhere

As pronoun
´
Pieds malodorants, pellicules, mauvaise haleine, nul n™est epargn´ = smelly
e
feet, dandruff, bad breath, no one is spared

317
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



= nil, useless
Son taux de croissance n™est pas nul = its growth rate is not unimportant
La Norv` ge a gagn´ nuls points = Norway got no points
e e

422 ne . . . guere = hardly, scarcely
`
`
Il n™eut gu` re de peine a montrer qu™il aurait pu aussi partir dans le Tour
e
avec le maillot jaune = he scarcely had dif¬culty showing that he could have set off in the Tour
[cycle race] wearing the yellow jersey
`
La r´ gion, ou dominent les grosses chemin´ es pleines de fum´ es
e e e
industrielles, n™amuse gu` re = the region, where enormous chimneys spout industrial fumes,
e
is hardly attractive

423 ne . . . jamais = never
As with ne . . . pas, an inde¬nite article dependent on jamais is contracted to de “
see 416.

After the verb
Du fait que la France n™a jamais connu de gouvernement lib´ ral, la gauche
e
n™a pas eu a bouger vers le centre = since France has never had a liberal government, the
`
left has never had to move towards the centre
`
Elle tombe amoureuse une fois par mois, mais a son grand d´ sespoir, le
e
coup de foudre n™est jamais r´ ciproque = she falls in love once a month, but, to her great
e
despair, the crush is never reciprocated
Ce grand champion, Raymond Poulidor, n™a jamais port´ le maillot jaunee
= this great champion, Raymond Poulidor, never wore the yellow jersey

Before the verb
Unlike English, French does not invert the verb when jamais precedes it “
Jamais les Portugais ne donnent l™impression d™ˆ tre d´ pass´ s = never do the
e e e
Portuguese give the impression of being outdone

With in¬nitive
Au coup de sif¬‚et ¬nal, on le voit balancer le ballon dans le ciel en esp´ rant e
ne jamais le voir r´ apparaˆtre = at the ¬nal whistle, you could see him boot the ball into the
e ±
sky hoping never to see it reappear
` `
Les jeunes vieux d™aujourd™hui cherchent a rajeunir et surtout a ne jamais
faire leur age = today™s young oldies try to look young and especially not to act their age
ˆ

With in¬nitive as imperative
Ne jamais donner une r´ ponse imm´ diate si l™on sent que le « petit
e e
service » que l™on vous demande va se transformer en gros calvaire = never
reply straightaway if you feel the ˜small service™ they™re asking you is going to change into a real ordeal

Without ne = never
On peut s™habiller en bleu, jamais en rouge = you can wear blue, never red

318
424 ne . . . plus = no longer, not any more



On y va pour draguer les ¬lles, jamais pour ecouter la musique = you go there
´
to chat up girls, never to listen to the music
Le conseil de mes amies “ jamais le premier soir = my friends™ advice “ never the
¬rst night

After sans, jamais = ever
Il y retourne dix minutes plus tard sans jamais trouver la ¬lle qu™il voulait
draguer = he goes back ten minutes later without ever being able to ¬nd the girl he wanted to
chat up
`
Elle enchaˆne les relations sans jamais parvenir a construire une histoire
±
durable = she goes from one relationship to another without ever managing to construct one that lasts
Vous attendez qu™il vous appelle, sans jamais oser l™appeler = you wait for him
to call you, without ever daring to call him


424 ne . . . plus = no longer, not any more
Je ne sais plus comment me coiffer = I no longer know how to do my hair
Il a compris que la France ne pouvait plus refuser la r´ forme = he understood
e
that France could no longer refuse reforms
N™ayez plus peur de l™anesth´ sie = don™t be afraid of anaesthetics any more
e
`
Apr` s 70 ans, il faudra veiller a boire suf¬samment, car les m´ canismes
e e
de la soif ne fonctionnent plus comme avant = after 70 years of age, you have to be
careful to drink enough, because the mechanisms controlling your thirst no longer work as they used to
ˆ ˆe
Il faudra r´ former le syst` me de sant´ dont les couts ne sont plus control´ s
e e e
= it will be necessary to reform the health system whose costs are no longer under control

With in¬nitive
ˆ `
Les craintes du b´ b´ peuvent etre dues a des angoisses de toute sorte, celle
ee
de ne plus vous voir dans son champ de vision = the baby™s fears may be due to all
sorts of anxieties, such as no longer having you in its ¬eld of vision
Il lui suf¬sait de garder son calme et ne plus chercher l™as mais de mettre
sa premi` re balle en jeu = all he had to do was to keep calm and no longer go for the ace but
e
get his ¬rst ball in

`e
Ne plus se r´ veiller “ la r´ side la source d™angoisse principale des patients
e
devant l™anesth´ sie = not to wake up again “ that™s the principal source of anxiety for patients
e
when faced with going under an anaesthetic
Je me disais qu™elle ¬nirait par ne plus y penser = I told myself she™d end up not
thinking about it any more
Depuis que vous avez trouv´ le cr´ neau qui vous convient au mieux vous
e e
devriez ne plus en sortir = since you™ve found the slot that suits you best, you shouldn™t
abandon it ever again

319
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



In the expression n™en plus pouvoir = not to be able to bear
Elle n™en peut plus de sa solitude = she can™t bear being alone any more

425 ne . . . que = only
In French the que of this combination immediately precedes the element it quali¬es “
unlike English where the position of only is less strictly applied. Ne . . . que can be used
to exclude clauses as well as items which do not involve a verb “
10 kilos de trop “ ca ne se perd que sous controle m´ dical = 10 kilos overweight “
ˆ
¸ e
that can only be lost under medical supervision
Pour moi, une femme qui fume dans la rue ne peut etre que vulgaire = to me,
ˆ
a woman who smokes in the street can only be common
Ce n™est qu™un geste anodin, mais vous etes sur de le d´ sorienter = it™s only a
ˆ ˆ e
harmless gesture, but you™re sure to put him off his stroke
Le reste, ce ne sont que quelques images vol´ es ci et la = as for the rest, it™s just a
`
e
few images stolen here and there
Cette soupe l´ g` re ne contient que 25 calories aux 100 millilitres = this light
ee
soup only contains 25 calories per 100 millilitres
Je viens de prendre conscience que je n™ai que 20 ans = I™ve just realised that I™m
only 20 years old
Ne . . . que is often used with a verb to = the only thing, all
Peut-ˆ tre vivez-vous avec un volcan qui ne demande qu™a se r´ veiller = `
e e
perhaps you™re living with a volcano and all she wants is to burst into life
Elle n™a qu™a se laisser aller et savourer = all she has to do is let herself go and enjoy
`
Pour se prot´ ger des moustiques, on n™a qu™a s™asperger de citronnelle = to
`
e
protect yourself from mosquitoes, all you have to do is sprinkle yourself with citronella

ne . . . que + pas = not just, not only
On n™y va pas que pour rencontrer le mec dont on a toujours rˆ v´ = you don™t
ee
just go there to meet the guy of your dreams
On ne partage pas que des souvenirs = you don™t only share memories
Dans sa bande d™amis, il n™y avait pas que des mecs bien = in his gang of mates,
there were not only good guys
Mais le pire c™est qu™il n™y a pas que les proches qui tirent partie de votre
gentillesse = but the worst thing is it isn™t just your own relatives that exploit your kindness

426 ne . . . (pas) . . . ni . . . ni = neither . . . nor, not . . . or,
not . . . either . . . or
Ne . . . ni . . . ni can be used with any part of speech “ from adjectives to clauses (see
452).
If ne . . . pas (or equivalent) is used “ and this is the most frequent combination “ ni
does not occur before the ¬rst of the set of items “

320
427 pas alone = not



Le r´ sultat n™est pas d´ nu´ de charme, ni parfois d™´ motion = the result is not
e ee e
without charm or at times emotion
Le rapport vite fait n™est pas moins respectable qu™un rapport long, ni
moins utile dans la vie quotidienne d™un couple = a relationship that is quickly made
is no less respectable than a long one, nor less useful in a couple™s everyday life
Je n™ai pas crois´ ses yeux bleus le lendemain ni les jours suivants = I didn™t
e
come across his blue eyes the next day or the following days

With ne . . . plus
`
Avec tous les nouveaux r` glements, a quoi ca rime d™ˆ tre gardien, si on ne
e ¸ e
peut plus se servir de ses mains, ni de ses pieds, ni de rien? = with all the new
regulations, what™s the point of being a goalie, if you can™t use your hands, your feet or anything any more?

With ne . . . aucun
ˆ
Cela va faire bientot un an que je n™ai aucune vie sentimentale ni sexuelle
= it™s soon going to be a year since I had any emotional or sexual attachment
If no negative particle is used (ie, no pas), then ni precedes every item of the set “
Ce n™est ni l™endroit ni le moment = it™s neither the right place nor the right moment
Je portais des talons hauts et il ne fallait ni que je perde l™´ quilibre ni que
e
je d´ vie de la cible = I was wearing high heels and it was necessary for me not to lose my
e
balance or deviate from the target
Parfois on n™est ni homo, ni h´ t´ ro, mais les deux = sometimes you™re neither
ee
homosexual nor heterosexual, but both

ni . . . ni without a verb
S™agit-il d™une mode ou d™un ph´ nom` ne de soci´ t´ ? “ Ni l™un, ni l™autre =
e e ee
is it a matter of fashion or a social phenomenon? “ Neither one nor the other
Ni coinc´ e, ni d´ vergond´ e, vous avez une perception assez r´ aliste des
e e e e
mecs = neither stuck in your ways nor outrageous in your behaviour, you™ve got a fairly realistic
perception of men


427 pas alone = not
Pas is used alone to negate a word or a phrase that does not contain a verb.
Remplacez la bouffe par des mots, mais pas par des clopes = replace your food
with words, but not with fags
La vie pas toujours facile des solos = the not-always-easy life of those who live alone
´
La France epouse la logique des loisirs et pas celle du travail. Pourquoi
pas, d™ailleurs? = France is wedded to the demands of leisure but not of work. Whyever not?
Nous avons celle qui est la plus d´ cente, mais pas la moins sexy = we™ve got
e
the girl who™s the most decent, but not the least sexy
Ca marche? “ Pas du tout = OK ? “ Not at all
¸

321
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



Pourquoi pas organiser un voyage? = why not organise a trip?
J™´ tais venue pour m™amuser, pas pour me lamenter = I™d come to enjoy myself not
e
to moan
Je l™utilise ou pas? = shall I use it or not?
Je n™ai jamais su s™il plaisantait ou pas = I never knew whether he was joking or not
With inde¬nite articles, pas de (instead of du, de la, des, etc) is used, as with ne . . .
pas above (see 416) “
Pas d™alcool, bien sur = no alcohol, that™s for sure
ˆ
Pas de linge sale a ramasser au quatre coins de la maison = no dirty clothes to
`
pick up from the four corners of the house

428 non = no, not
Apart from in its role as a negative reply, non functions in much the same way as pas,
but is found less frequently.

non = no in negative answer
ˆ
Non, solo ne veut pas dire que vous etes disponible pour toutes les corv´ es e
= no, being alone does not mean you™re available for each and every nasty job
Les gens ont tellement peur de dire non = people are so scared to say no
Que non emphasises negation of negative answer “

Vous avez peur qu™on aille vous aimer moins apr` s. Evidemment que non!
= you™re afraid that they™re going to like you less afterwards. Of course not!

non = not
Quand nous nous voyons, c™est que nous le voulons vraiment, et non par
obligation = when we see each other, it™s because we really want to, and not out of obligation
Non soign´ e, une angine bact´ rienne peut entraˆner des complications
e e ±
graves = if bacterial angina is not treated, it can cause serious complications
In English not only introducing a clause is followed by inversion; the French equivalent,
non seulement, is not “
`
Non seulement ce d´ bardeur a brassi` re int´ gr´ e met notre silhouette en
e e ee
valeur, mais en plus il soutient notre fragile poitrine = not only does this crop top
with integrated bra show off our silhouette but in addition it supports our fragile bust
For non que . . . , see 148.

429 . . . pas non plus = neither, . . . . not . . . either, nor
Les tensions ne lui r´ ussissent pas non plus = tension doesn™t do him any good either
e
ˆ
Le bon moment de suivre un r´ gime “ quand vous etes hyper motiv´ e “ pas
e e
´
en etat de stress, pas en p´ riode de r´ visions, pas non plus en p´ riode de
e e e
fˆ tes (tentations) = the best moment to go on a diet is when you™re highly motivated “ not in a
e
state of stress, not revising, nor when you™re celebrating (temptations)

322
431 Omission of ne



Si ce rallye n™est pas interdit, il n™est pas autoris´ non plus = even if this rally
e
hasn™t been banned, it hasn™t been authorised either

430 Multiple negators
Frequently more than one negator is used in a sentence. The rule for the order of multiple
negators following a ¬nite verb is “

ne jamais plus rien past participle personne que
gu` re
e in¬nitive

Vous n™invitez jamais personne ou des gens que vous n™aimez pas = you never
invite anyone round or people you don™t like
`
Les trucs qui moisissent dans le frigo n™appartiennent jamais a personne
= the bits and bobs that are going mouldy in the fridge never belong to anyone
Je ne peux plus rien faire des quelques cheveux qui me restent = I can™t any
longer do a thing with the few hairs I™ve still got
Rien ne va plus dans ma vie = nothing is going right in my life any more
Elle ne veut plus rien faire = she doesn™t want to do anything any more
C™´ tait ¬ni. Il n™y avait plus de ¬nale, plus de rencontre, plus rien = it was all
e
over. There wasn™t going to be a ¬nal, no more matches, nothing whatsoever
Un b´ b´ ne pleure jamais pour rien = a baby never cries for nothing
ee
Ce qui me fait le plus de mal, c™est savoir que personne ne m™a jamais
aim´ e en dehors de ma famille et que je n™ai jamais aim´ personne = what
e e
hurts the most is to know that no one has loved me outside my family and that I™ve never loved anyone
However, if the negators precede the verb, the order plus jamais is also found “
Je jure que plus jamais il ne m™accompagnera dans les magasins = I swear
that never again will he go shopping with me

431 Omission of ne
In modern informal French, the omission of ne is very common “
Viens pas te plaindre si on dˆne tard = don™t start complaining if your dinner is late
±
T™avais qu™a y penser avant de le lui dire = you should have thought about it before
`
telling her
On parlait du boulot “ ah! “ j™avais pas compris = they were speaking about work “
ah! “ I hadn™t understood
C™´ tait pas le moment = it wasn™t the right time
e
Fontainebleau, c™est pas un peu ennuyeux comme ville? = isn™t Fontainebleau a
bit boring as a town?
Une m` re, on en a qu™une, des mecs, y en a pleins = you only have one mother, but
e
there are stacks of guys

323
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



e`
Tu te fais engueuler parce que c™est rien compar´ a la faim dans le monde
= you have your head bitten off because it™s nothing compared to the hunger in the world



Exercises

Traduisez en francais la section en anglais des phrases suivantes.
¸
Souvent il y a plus d™une solution.
a J™ai consult´ plusieurs m´ decins, mais no treatment gives me any
e e
relief.
b Allegedly 78% des Francais do not understand que les enseignants
¸
boycottent les examens.
c Nous passons nos soir´ es just talking.
e
`
d Families no longer hesitate a insulter les enseignants.
e Nothing prevents you de commencer la randonn´ e devant chez vous, en
e
toute saison.
f I can no longer move my body nor speak nor even breathe.
g La douleur only set in plusieurs semaines plus tard.
h Faut-il se priver de boeuf ? “ Ah! non, car, tout d™abord meat has never
been so safe from a health point of view et surtout parce que beef isn™t
as fat as all that.
i No passer-by can suspect que l™un des plus grands sex symbols du
cin´ ma se cache derri` re ces verres fum´ s.
e e e
j Neither does anyone know what he intends.
e`
k You can™t, lorsqu™on est attach´ a la cause palestinienne, s™empˆ cher de
e
reprendre timidement espoir.
l Je vis dans un centre antidouleurs qui me prescrit de la morphine,
mais I no longer have any hope. I can™t work any longer.
m My problems keep on increasing.
n There™s nothing simpler pour prot´ ger sa sant´ .
e e
´
o In less time than you need to say it, la peau epaissit.
p Signez une reconnaissance de dette, ainsi no one will be able to accuse
you d™exploiter la situation.
q Dans la plupart des familles du temps de notre arri` re-grand-m` re,
e e
they only got washed on Sundays.
r Si au second rendez-vous, I don™t give you a kiss, alors cela signi¬e que
I never will.
s Aujourd™hui on sait que there is no perfect health sans une bonne
hygi` ne.
e
t Il y a une ligne blanche que the French don™t want to cross.
u She never kisses on the mouth nor does she spend the night avec sa
proie.
v C™est le tabou that should not be transgressed.
w Fr´ quemment la question isn™t even hinted at.
e
´
x Il faut eviter de se moquer de lui, not ask him to speak moins vite.
y Il est plus tard que you think.

324
Exercises



z He™s never so comfortable que lorsqu™il renoue avec ses racines
provinciales.
aa There™s scarcely any doubt that it™s a case of suicide.
bb I never realised.
cc Pour ceux qui have neither drawn up a will nor made a gift, le Code
civil s™occupe de tout.
dd Les dispositions prises par testament are never de¬nitive: elles
ˆ e`
peuvent etre chang´ es a tout moment.
ee This mega-star can™t buy his bread tranquillement, nor his cigarettes.
`
ff Il a r´ ussi et no longer has anything much a prouver.
e
gg Sa tenue de foot, d´ chir´ e, crott´ e, couldn™t last any longer.
e e e
hh Ce type de relation sexuelle doesn™t involve any consequence or any
commitment.
ii Ces artisans don™t need any tricks or structures pour accomplir leurs
buts.
jj No one will be able to say qu™elle ne soit pas attentive aux autres.
´
kk Don™t say: « J™arrˆ te de manger n™importe comment ». Il faut eviter a
e
situation of all or nothing.
`
ll Unless the president intervenes, la situation continuera a empirer.




325
Chapter 11 Numerals


432 Cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers
Cardinal numbers denote quantity
un, deux, trois, quatre
Ordinal numbers denote a position in a sequence
premier, deuxi` me, troisi` me, quatri` me
e e e


433 Cardinal numbers
0“10
z´ ro, un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix
e
z´ ro = zero, nil, nought, love
e
Le num´ ro de t´ l´ phone est 02 38 46 89 89 (z´ ro deux trente-huit . . . ) = the
e ee e
telephone number is 02 38 46 89 89 (zero two, thirty-eight . . . )
e`
Elle enseigne les enfants de z´ ro a quatre ans = she teaches kids from nought to
six years old
´
Le prof etait furieux “ nous avons tous eu z´ ro dans la dict´ e = the teacher was
e e
furious “ we all got nought in the dictation
`e
La France a battu le Danemark trois buts a z´ ro = France beat Denmark 3 nil
Elle a remport´ le premier set 6“0 (six“z´ ro) = she won the ¬rst set 6 love
e e

un (m), une (f )
These numerals vary for gender according to the noun they qualify “
J™ai un fr` re et une soeur = I™ve got one brother and one sister
e
Il est une heure = it™s one o™clock
Je n™ai qu™un vrai ami = I™ve only got one real friend
Masculine un is also used in the following contexts “
C™est a la page un = it™s on page one
`
Elle est le num´ ro un de l™opposition = she™s the number one of the opposition
e
Il portait le num´ ro un = he was wearing the number one shirt
e
Feminine une is also used in the following context “
a la une = on the front page
`
Both numerals also act as pronouns “

326
433 Cardinal numbers



Le site est un des majeurs du march´ = the site is one of the major players in the market
e
Prenez une des tranches de pain de mie et passez-la sous le gril du four =
take one of the slices of bread and put it under the grill
The plural uns occurs in such contexts as “
Il y a trois uns dans cent onze = there are three ones in one hundred and eleven

11“20
onze, douze, treize, quatorze, quinze, seize, dix-sept, dix-huit, dix-neuf,
vingt

21“30
vingt et un, vingt-deux, vingt-trois, vingt-quatre, vingt-cinq, vingt-six,
vingt-sept, vingt-huit, vingt-neuf, trente
No hyphens are used with cardinal numbers in et un, but they are used with the
others.
Vingt et un becomes vingt et une before a feminine noun. This applies to all the
cardinal numbers in “un “
Vingt et une ann´ es se sont ecoul´ es depuis notre premier rendez-vous =
´
e e
twenty-one years have passed since our ¬rst rendez-vous

31“40
trente et un, trente-deux, trente-trois, trente-quatre, trente-cinq, trente-six,
trente-sept, trente-huit, trente-neuf, quarante

41“50
quarante et un, quarante-deux, quarante-trois, quarante-quatre,
quarante-cinq, quarante-six, quarante-sept, quarante-huit, quarante-neuf,
cinquante

51“60
cinquante et un, cinquante-deux, cinquante-trois, cinquante-quatre,
cinquante-cinq, cinquante-six, cinquante-sept, cinquante-huit,
cinquante-neuf, soixante

61“70
soixante et un, soixante-deux, soixante-trois, soixante-quatre,
soixante-cinq, soixante-six, soixante-sept, soixante-huit, soixante-neuf,
soixante-dix
In a number of French-speaking countries outside France, eg Belgium, Switzerland,
Canada, soixante-dix is replaced by septante.

71“80
soixante et onze, soixante-douze, soixante-treize, soixante-quatorze,
soixante-quinze, soixante-seize, soixante-dix-sept, soixante-dix-huit,
soixante-dix-neuf, quatre-vingts

327
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



In those countries where soixante-dix is replaced by septante, soixante et onze is
replaced by septante et un, soixante-douze by septante-deux, etc.

81“90
quatre-vingt-un, quatre-vingt-deux, quatre-vingt-trois, quatre-vingt-
quatre, quatre-vingt-cinq, quatre-vingt-six, quatre-vingt-sept, quatre-
vingt-huit, quatre-vingt-neuf, quatre-vingt-dix
Quatre-vingts = 80 loses its “s when it is combined with another number, eg
quatre-vingt-deux; in other words, it is only in quatre-vingts = 80 that the ¬nal “s
appears. Quatre-vingts = 80 also loses its “s when it is used as a page or paragraph
number “ au paragraphe quatre-vingt.
Huitante is used alongside quatre-vingts in Switzerland.
In those countries where soixante-dix is replaced by septante, quatre-vingt-dix
is replaced by nonante.

91“100
quatre-vingt-onze, quatre-vingt-douze, quatre-vingt-treize,
quatre-vingt-quatorze, quatre-vingt-quinze, quatre-vingt-seize,
quatre-vingt-dix-sept, quatre-vingt-dix-huit, quatre-vingt-dix-neuf, cent
Quatre-vingt-onze is replaced by nonante et un, quatre-vingt-douze by
nonante-deux in Belgium, Switzerland and Canada.
Cent = a hundred, one hundred (in other words, there is no word for a, one) “
J™ai envoy´ cent une invitations = I sent out a hundred and one invitations
e

101“110
cent un, cent deux, cent trois, cent quatre, cent cinq, cent six, cent sept,
cent huit, cent neuf, cent dix

111, 112, etc
cent onze, cent douze, etc

121, 122, etc
cent vingt et un, cent vingt-deux, etc

200“210
deux cents, deux cent un, deux cent deux, deux cent trois, deux cent
quatre, deux cent cinq, deux cent six, deux cent sept, deux cent huit, deux
cent neuf, deux cent dix
Usage with cent is similar to that with quatre-vingts “ cents preserves its ¬nal “s
when it is used to indicate round hundreds “ deux cents, trois cents, etc. However,
when it is quali¬ed by another number, the “s is dropped “ deux cent un, trois cent
deux.

1,000 “ 1,999
1 000 = mille, 1 001 = mille un, 1 010 = mille dix, 1 011 = mille onze, 1 100 =
mille cent, 1 101 = mille cent un

328
434 Use of et and hyphens with cardinal numerals



Mille = a thousand, one thousand (in other words, there is no word for a, one) “
mille animaux = a thousand animals
Numbers between 1 100 and 1 999 may be expressed in two ways “ 1 100 is either onze
cents or mille cent, 1567 is either quinze cent soixante-sept or mille cinq cent
soixante-sept

2,000 . . .
2 000 = deux mille, 3 000 = trois mille
Usage with mille is different from that with cent “ it never takes an “s whatever the
circumstances.
Where in English a comma is used to separate the ¬gures representing thousands from
those representing hundreds “ 1,111 “ in French simply a space is used “ 1 111. The
same applies to ¬gures involving millions “ 1,111,111 in English, 1 111 111 in French.
Usage with dates “ the above does not apply to dates “ 2005 (not 2 005). In neither
French nor English are commas used to separate thousands from the hundreds “ 2005 =
2005. If a date is written out in French (which is extremely rare, see below), the spelling
mil is preferred to mille “
en l™an deux mil cinq = in 2005
1 000 000 = un million, 1 000 001 = un million un, 1 111 111 = un million
cent onze mille cent onze
Since million is a noun, when used in the singular it is preceded by un. The same
applies to milliard and billion below.
2 000 000 = deux millions, 2 345 678 = deux millions trois cent
quarante-cinq mille six cent soixante dix-huit
Another consequence of the fact that million is a noun is that it always has an “s in
the plural. In addition when used with another noun it functions as a noun expressing
quantity and is followed by de. Again the same applies to milliard and billion below.
13 millions de Francais poss´ daient un lecteur DVD en 2003 = 13 million people
¸ e
in France owned a DVD player in 2003
However, if the ¬gure is not a round million, no de is required “
La population de la ville est de deux millions cinq cent mille personnes =
the population of the town is 2,500,000 persons
1 000 000 000 = un milliard = a thousand million, a billion (American English)
1 000 000 000 000 = un billion = a billion (British English)

434 Use of et and hyphens with cardinal numerals
et
Used in 21, 31, 41, 51, 61, 71

hyphens
Used for 17, 18, 19, 22“29, 32“39 up to 79, then 80“99

329
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



no hyphen or et
cent, mille, million are not connected to any other numeral “
cent vingt-deux, deux mille trois cent quarante-cinq

435 Pronunciation matters
Cinq is always pronounced /s˜ k/ except before cent, when it is pronounced /s˜ /.
µ µ
Six is pronounced in a number of ways according to its verbal context “
/sis/ at the end of a sense group “
J™en ai six = I™ve got six
/siz/ before a word beginning with a vowel or non-aspirate h “
six heures = six o™clock, six ombres a paupi` res = six eye-shadows
` e
/si/ before a word beginning with a consonant “
six d´ bardeurs = six tops
e
Huit is pronounced differently according to its verbal context “
/ɥit/ at the end of a sense group and before a word beginning with a vowel or
non-aspirate h “
J™en ai huit = I™ve got eight, huit amis = eight friends
/ɥi/ before a word beginning with a consonant “
huit couleurs = eight colours
Neuf is always pronounced /n f/ except before heures and ans, when it is
pronounced /n v/
Dix “ as for six
Vingt is pronounced /v˜ / before a word beginning with a consonant and at the end of
µ
a sense group “
J™en ai vingt = I™ve got twenty, vingt magazines = twenty magazines
/v˜ t/ before a word beginning with a vowel and in the numerals 21“29 inclusive
µ
“Vingt-deux amies sont arriv´ es = twenty-two friends turned up
e
Cent is pronounced /s˜ / before a word beginning with a consonant and at the end of
a
a sense group “
Cent mannequins ont d´ ¬l´ devant le public = a hundred models paraded before the
ee
audience
/s˜ t/ in cent un, cent huit, cent onze and before a word beginning with a vowel “
a
Cent arbres ont et´ plant´ s au bord de la rivi` re = a hundred trees have been
´e e e
planted by the river

436 When to use ¬gures to express cardinal numbers
Figures are used

330
437 Approximate numbers



in dates “
l™an 2000, le 29 janvier 1950
in prices “
L™armoire coute 449 euros = the cupboard costs 449 euros
ˆ
in weights and measures “
Vous pesez 56 kilos pour 1,70 m` tre = you weigh 56 kilos for 1 metre 70
e
in mathematical formulae “
´
29 + 45 = 74 = 29 plus 45 egale 74
3 + 4 = 7 = 3 et 4 font 7
´
45 “ 29 = 16 = 45 moins 29 egale 16
45 — 3 = 135 = 45 multipli´ par 3 egale 135
´
e
45 · 3 = 15 = 45 divis´ par 3 egale 15
´
e
Votre indice de masse corporelle est egal a 56 divis´ par 1,70 — 1,70 =
´ ` e
19,37 soit votre nombre de kilos par m` tre carr´ de surface corporelle =
e e
your body mass index equals 56 divided by 1.7 times 1.7 = 19.37, in other words your weight in
kilos per square metre of body surface
in percentages “
La pr´ pond´ rance f´ minine est particuli` rement marqu´ e en mati` re de
e e e e e e
divorce par faute, soit 75% = the preponderance of women is particularly noticeable in the
matter of divorce by admission of guilt, namely 75%
in addresses and telephone numbers “
33 avenue Georges-Bernanos, 75005 Paris
Renseignements: 0810600243 read as z´ ro huit “ dix “ soixante “ z´ ro deux “
e e
quarante-trois = for information . . .


437 Approximate numbers
The pattern is to add “aine to the ˜ten™ concerned “
une dizaine = about 10
une quinzaine = about 15, also a fortnight
une vingtaine = about 20
une trentaine = about 30
une centaine = about 100
des centaines de photos = hundreds of photos
But un millier = about a thousand
des milliers de photos = thousands of photos

331
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



Environ can also be used to express approximate numbers “
Elle a environ 40 ans = she™s about 40
But une douzaine = a dozen, 12

438 Fractions and decimals
Fractions
un demi = a half “
cinq et demi = ¬ve and a half
but la moiti´ = half when a mathematical fraction is not involved “
e
Ajouter la moiti´ des pates aux d´ s de mozzarella et les tomates = add half
ˆ
e e
the pasta to the cubes of mozzarella and the tomatoes
When half is part of a compound expression, demi is used before the noun and remains
invariable for number and gender “
un demi-verre de vin = half a glass of wine, une demi-heure = half an hour, une
demi-douzaine = half a dozen
Il a deux demi-soeurs = he™s got two half-sisters
When demi occurs after a noun, it varies for gender “
Il est cinq heures et demie = it™s half past ¬ve
Il mesure d´ ja un m` tre et demi = he™s already a metre and a half tall
e` e
The adverbs a demi and a moiti´ = half are interchangeable “
` ` e
Est-ce que tu dirais que ton verre est a moiti´ vide ou a moiti´ plein? =
` `
e e
Would you say your glass was half-full or half-empty?
Laisse la porte a demi ouverte s™il te plaˆt = leave the door half-open please
` ±
The pre¬x mi- is also used in certain expressions “
La premi` re mi-temps du match etait fascinante = the ¬rst half of the match was
´
e
fascinating
L™arrˆ t d™autobus se trouve a mi-chemin entre ma maison et le lyc´ e = the
`
e e
bus stop is half-way between my house and the school
un tiers = a third
but as an ordinal numeral, le troisi` me = third
e

<<

. 14
( 19)



>>