No – non, nan, niet…

saying no in French
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French Synonyms for Non

No. No way, not me, on the contrary … let’s face it, just because we have to be negative sometimes doesn’t mean we can’t be creative, too. Here are some of the many ways to say "no" in French.

non  =  no

Non is the generic, all-purpose French word for "no":

Non, je n’aime pas les fraises.   No, I don’t like strawberries.
– Veux-tu m’épouser ?
– Non.
– Will you marry me?
– No.

Texting abbreviation: nn

(non) merci  =  no thank you

You probably know that "no thank you" is non merci. But did you know that non is optional? You can just say merci in response to an offer and it will be understood as non merci.

– Encore du vin ?
– Merci.
  – More wine?
– No thank you.

 To say yes, say s’il vous plaît. If you say oui merci there’s a very good chance it will nonetheless be understood as non merci. (I speak from experience.)

… ou non ?  =  … or not?

You can ask for confirmation with the tag question ou non ?

Tu aimes les fraises, ou non ?   Do you like strawberries, or not?
Il va t’épouser, ou non ? Is he going to marry you, or not?

nan  =  nope, nah

Nan is an informal equivalent for no, equivalent to “nope” or “nah”:

Nan, je n’aime pas les fraises.   Nope, I don’t like strawberries.
– Tu veux un café ?
– Nan.
– Want a coffee?
– Nah.

 Nan is not used as much in French as nope/nah are in English. Even informally, non is far more common.

non à  =  no to …, down with …

Non à plus a noun is used in strikes and protests to declare one’s opposition to something:

Non à cette décision !   Say no to this decision!
Non à la guerre !   Down with war!

Ah non ! Oh non !  =  Oh no!

Ah / Oh non indicate disappointment or frustration:

Oh non ! J’ai perdu ma bague.   Oh no! I lost my ring.
Ah non ! On a loupé le train !   Damn, we missed the train!

More synonyms for non

absolument pas   absolutely not
au contraire   on the contrary
aucun + noun   no …
certainement pas   certainly not
des clous ! (familiar)   no way!
du tout   not at all
pouce en bas,
pouce vers le bas
  thumbs down
n’est-ce pas ?   right? isn’t it?
niet ! (familiar)   no way! (pronounced as in Russian: nyet)
pas de + noun   no …
pas du tout   not at all
pas question ! (familiar)   no way! not a chance!
pas tout à fait   not exactly, not quite

Negative prefixes

 Related lessons

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French synonyms for non
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