A- Prefix

French prefix a-
The French prefix a- is added to adjectives and nouns to create their antonyms; it's sometimes called the "alpha privative" (a privatif). The most common English equivalents are a- and non-.


Compound Tenses and Moods: Word Order

French word orderCompound tenses and moods are verb forms which are conjugated with two parts: a helping / auxiliary verb and a past participle, as in J'ai dansé. The word order can get a little complicated when additional grammatical structures like object pronouns and negation are introduced.


Double Negatives

French double negativesIn English, two negatives are said to make a positive: that is, they cancel one another out, and this is grammatically unacceptable. In French, however, négation double is alive and well. Two negatives sometimes make a positive, while other times they combine to make the negation stronger or more specific.



Expressions with (ne …) pas

French expressions with ne pas
The French negative adverb ne ... pas essentially means "not." In addition to being useful for negating any normal sentence, ne ... pas or even just pas is found in many expressions and proverbs. Learn how to say none of your business, to be stingy, quite a bit, and more with this list of expressions with (ne ...) pas.


Formal Negation

French formal negationFrench has three negative constructions that are reserved for formal (usually written) French like literature and historical accounts.



Informal Negation

Informal French negationThe rule is that to make a French verb negative, you need ne in front of the verb and pas after it. The reality of how the French speak says otherwise.


Inversion: Word Order

Word order with inversionInverting subjects and verbs is easy enough - vous voyez => voyez-vous, but where do object, adverbial, and reflexive pronouns go? And what about negation? Take a look at this lesson to learn about all the possibilities.