How we’re sounding stupid today III

There’s an infinite number of ways to sound stupid in French, but only one right way to say a date in French.

A friend recently wrote to ask if I were in Paris.  I answered:

Screenshot 2016-02-26 07.00.05

She answered thusly:

Screenshot 2016-02-26 07.00.15
The 8th of March (you can’t not say it).”

We learn two things from this datum:

  • How to say dates
  • How to negate an infinitive with a direct object

Regarding dates: the definite article le always has to be there, as my interlocutor said.  Be careful: you say a date with the masculine definite article le, e.g. le 8 mars, “March 8th”–but, the word “date” itself is feminine–quelle est la date?  “What’s the date?”  For more on how to talk about dates in French, see this page on the Lawless French web sit.

Regarding negating infinitives: the first thing to note is that ne pas goes in front of the infinitive, so you would say ne pas manger “not to eat,” NOT ne manger pas.  Throw in a direct object pronoun and it goes in front of the infinitive, too: ne pas le dire, “not to say it.”

What happens if you have an indirect object pronoun? A direct pronoun and an indirect object pronoun?  A direct object pronoun, an indirect object pronoun, and a reflexive verb?  Here are some examples of those, from blogger and native speaker Bea dM:

  • Direct and indirect object pronouns: ne pas le lui donner, “not to give it to him.”  Moral of the story: ne pas precedes all of the object pronouns.
  • Reflexive pronoun and direct object pronoun: ne pas se le répéter, “not to repeat it to himself.”  Moral of the story: ne pas precedes the reflexive pronoun, as well.

7 thoughts on “How we’re sounding stupid today III”

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