Having done some research with other teachers in France , I am afraid that in written form the 'ne' is still very much de rigueur.
It is explétif (optional) in a few cases like after certain expressions like 'à moins que', 'avant que', 'sans que' and some verbs like 'craindre que', 'redouter que' but even the Académie française say at it is de meilleure langue ( better French ) to use it in written form.
Just a few examples to illustrate the point, others will be found in the lesson above and other links.
J'irai le voir à moins qu'il (ne) pleuve = I will go and see him unless it rains.
Je te le donnerai avant que tu (ne) partes. = I'll give it to you before you leave.
Il fait ce qu'il veut sans que personne (ne) puisse l'arrêter. = He does what he wants without anyone being able to stop him.
Je crains qu'il (ne) mente. = I fear he is lying.
Elle redoute que son projet (ne) soit pas accepté.= She fears that her project may not be accepted.
Hope this helps!
According to Le bon usage, it is optional in all cases, and examples are given from numerous writers. In all your quiz questions I have encountered so far, the ne explétif is treated as though it were mandatory. Even if the Académie considers it "de meilleure langue", it doesn't mean that not using it is incorrect or even "de mauvaise langue". If you give a list of choices one of which uses the ne explétif and another one doesn't, it's misleading, and does not accord with the Académie, Le bon usage, or any other authority to rule out the option where the ne explétif is not used as incorrect. If you give an open-ended question, it is misleading to mark as incorrect answers that do not use the ne explétif.
My reply goes to Cecile.
Hi Cecile, thank you very much for your detailed response and for having researched on this, however I am not really sure why 'ne' particle is incorporated in such a structure, as it refers to a negation such as 'ne ... pas', 'ne ... plus', ne ... jamais', etc.
I understand, however, that it is optional and as such, I would be more inclined to omit the particle should I construct such a sentence, but is there a particular reason as to why the French use it in the structures that you mentionned? Surely by incorporating the 'ne' particle after the structure, would automatically make the sentence become negative?
Please could you advise?
In order to make these negative, you would have to add a 'pas' to the 'ne':
Je crains qu'il (ne) me mente = I fear that he is lying to me
Je crains qu'il ne me mente pas =I fear that he is not lying to me
Je redoute que son projet (ne) soit accepté = I fear that his/her project may be accepted
Je doute que son projet ne soit pas accepté = I fear that his/her project may not be accepted
J'ai peur que sa mère (ne) vienne = I fear that his/her mother may come
J'ai peur que sa mère ne vienne pas = I fear that his/her mother may not come
Hope these help!
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