Ne que vs seulement

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Kwiziq community member

17 July 2018

1 reply

Ne que vs seulement

Je trouve que l’utilisation de ‘ne serait que pour les garder en vie’ is unnecessarily complicated given the context of the sentence.  My preference would be ‘pour seulement les garder en vie’.  But I like your emphasis on the use and position of seulement and que.  The vast majority of English speakers position the word ‘only’ incorrectly.  It drives me crazy!

This question relates to:
French lesson "Restrictive ne … que = only (simple tenses)"


Kwiziq language super star

9 October 2018


Hi Marnie,

I agree that the expression 'ne serait-ce que' is a bit wordy but it is the correct one to use.

Note the 'ce' which is missing in your example.

'ne ...que' and 'seulement' both mean only.

'ne serait-ce que 'means 'even if only  so is slightly different.

Take a look at the following examples-

Il faut manger régulièrement, ne serait-ce que pour conserver ses forces = You have to eat regularly even if only to maintain your strength

Il faut promener son chien tous les jours, ne serait-ce que dix minutes You have to walk your dog every day even if only for ten minutes.

Hope this helps!

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