Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Not Only in French
The Restrictive Only / Not Only in French There are two common French equivalents for the restrictive only in English: seulement and ne... que. These two terms mean essentially the same thing, but seulement is an adverb of quantity while ne... que is a negative adverb, so theyre used a bit differently Seulement: Only The simplest way to say only in French is with the adverb seulement, which can qualify a noun, verb, or clause.Jai seulement un livre.I have only one book. Il voit seulement les films Ã ©trangers.He only sees foreign movies. Note how the placement of seulement can change the meaning: Jai lu seulement deux pages pour te faire plaisir.I read only two pages to please you. (You didnt wantÃ me to read more.) Jai lu deux pages seulement pour te faire plaisir.I read two pages only to please you. (I didnt feel like reading, but I did it for you.) Il veut seulement travailler la banque.He only wants to work at the bank. (He doesnt want to invest there). Il veut travailler seulement la banque.He wants to work only at the bank. (He doesnt want to work at the store). Ne... Que: Only in the Negative An equally common but slightly more complicated way to say only is with ne... que, which is used similarly to other negative adverbs: ne goes in front of the verb and queÃ usually follows it.Je nai quun livre.I have only one book.Il ne voit que les films Ã ©trangers.He sees only foreign movies.As with seulement, you can change the meaning by placing que directly in front of the word you want to qualify.Je nai lu que deux pages pour te faire plaisir.I read only two pages to please you.Je nai lu deux pages que pour te faire plaisir.I read two pages only to please you.Il ne veut que travailler la banque.He only wants to work at the bank.Il ne veut travailler qu la banque.He wants to work only at the bank.Note that indefinite and partitive articles do not change to de after ne... que, the way they do after other negative adverbs:Je nai quun livre.I have only one book.Il ne veut que des idÃ ©es.He only wants ideas, Hes just looking for some ideas. Negation: Not Only To say not only, you can negate ne... que into ne... pas que, which can stand alone or be followed by additional information: Je nai pas que 3 livres (jai 2 stylos aussi).I dont have only 3 books (I have 2 pens too)Il ny a pas que le travail (il faut vivre aussi).Work isnt all there is; Theres more [to life] than just work.Il nÃ ©tait pas quen retard....He wasnt just late (theres more to it than that). SeulementÃ¢â¬â¹ Seulement has two negatives. The first one, ne... pas seulement is pretty much interchangeable with ne... pas que.Je nai pas seulement 3 livres...I dont have only 3 books ...Il ny a pas seulement le travail....Work isnt all there is...Il nÃ ©tait pas seulement en retard....He wasnt just late... Non-Seulement The other negative,Ã non seulement, cannot be used in a stand-alone clause; it must be balanced with something like aussi, mais encore, etc.Il y a non seulement le travailÃ ; il faut vivre aussi.Work isnt all there is; you have to live too. Non seulement jai 3 livres, mais aussi 2 stylos.I dont have only 3 books, I have 2 pens too.Non seulement il Ã ©tait en retard, mais encore il Ã ©tait ivre.He was not only late, but drunk (too). Not only was he late, he was (also) drunk.