If ne ... que is a negative construction, why doesn't the rule of partitive articles in negative sentences apply?
E.g. why is itIl ne mange que des pâtes le samedi
and notIl ne mange que de pâtes le samedi
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'hui= We have no energy today
The only exception is with 'un',
Je n'ai pas un sou/radis = I haven't got a penny
Je n'ai pas de sous = I am flat broke/ I have no money
Hope this helps
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.
"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!
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.
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