Categories: French Negation

Nothing – Nobody in French

Nothing – Nobody in French


There is a lesson about Nobody, anybody, someone, anyone at

1- Nothing is a negation and replaces “pas” in French:

I don’t want: je ne veux pas
I don’t want anything: je ne veux rien.

I ate nothing: je n‘ai rien mangéAs you can see “rien” replaces “pas”, so we don’t say: je ne veux pas rien!

Nothing happened: rien n‘est arrivé, il n‘est rien arrivé.
It’s nothing: ce n‘est rien
If you say: ce n’est pas rien, the meaning is different: it is not nothing!
Nothing to do: rien à faire


Nothing else: rien d‘autre.
Nothing special: rien de spécial
Nothing interesting: rien d‘intéressant

Nothing but: ne…que

I have nothing but love for you: je n’ai que de l’amour pour toi

Nothing like:

There is nothing like France: il n’y a rien de mieux que la France
Why does my chicken taste like nothing? pourquoi mon poulet n’a aucun goût?

2- Nobody means “personne” and replaces also “pas”

I don’t know: je ne sais pas
I don’t know anybody: je ne connais personne (and not je ne connais pas personne)

Nobody spoke to her: personne ne lui a parlé (nobody and personne are subjects) in French we need “ne”.

Nobody knows: personne ne le sait! (again, we need “ne”, even if when we speak we often say: personne sait!)

It is nobody’s fault: ce n’est la faute de personne (because the verb is “être la faute de”)

Don’t forget that “une personne” is someone in French, one word with two opposite meanings.

Pascal Dherve

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Pascal Dherve

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