Why doesn't des become de when using ne...que?

Afi-EnamA2Kwiziq community member

Why doesn't des become de when using ne...que?

If ne ... que is a negative construction, why doesn't the rule of partitive articles in negative sentences apply?

E.g. why is it
Il ne mange que des pâtes le samedi

and not
Il ne mange que de pâtes le samedi


Thanks!

Asked 2 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Afi-Enam,

In fact, ne...que is a negative which is called restrictive and used on its own has it gives a positive value to the statement.

But if you used another pas to the sentence to make it a negative statement-

Je ne mange pas que des pâtes le samedi  = I don't only eat pasta on Saturdays

Nous ne vendons pas que des produits étrangers= We don't only sell foreign products

it would still be 'des' and not 'de'.

As a rule of thumb, pas, jamais, plus (negative) will be followed by 'de'.

Je n'ai jamais de chance au loto I never have any luck with the lottery

Elle n'a plus de pain = She has no bread left

Nous n'avons pas de courage aujourd'huiWe have no energy today

The only exception is with 'un',

e.g.

Je n'ai pas un sou/radis = I haven't got a penny

but 

Je n'ai pas de sous = I am flat broke/ I have no money

Hope this helps

 

SteveB2 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

The way I tend to remember this is that it's the different between some and any/none.

Although ne que is -ve in French, it's expressing something +ve: he's still eating something (he only eats (some) pasta...) = des.

In the ne pas version of the sentence, he not eating anything (he doesn't eat *any* pasta...) = de.

In short:

"de" is like "any" (il ne mange pas de pâtes...) - he doesn't eat any...

"des" is like "some" (il mange des pâtes... AND il ne mange que des pâtes...).

Hope it helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Strictly speaking, the sentence Il ne mange que des pâtes is not a negation (note that it is missing the secand half of ne..pas, i.e., no pas). Therefore it is des and not de.

Why doesn't des become de when using ne...que?

If ne ... que is a negative construction, why doesn't the rule of partitive articles in negative sentences apply?

E.g. why is it
Il ne mange que des pâtes le samedi

and not
Il ne mange que de pâtes le samedi


Thanks!

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