Why is there no « de » after pas in this exam with languages?

Why is there no « de » after pas in this exam with languages?

Is there not a rule « ne pas de »? How comes you don’t use « de » in this example: Ils ne parlent pas espagnol/ l’espagnol. ?
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

Hi Jocelyn,

the "de" after "pas" is used when you are expressing, e.g., that you don't have something of something. For example:

Il n'y a plus de sucre. -- There is no more (of) sugar.
Elle ne boit pas d'alcool. -- She drinks not of the alcohol. (literally)

But in the example you quote, "Ils ne parlent pas l'espagnol." There is no larger thing of which the language Spanish would be part of. It is an indivisible entity. Hence no "de".

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Jocelyn !

To complete Chris's answer, only partitive articles (du, de la, de l', des) and indefinite articles (un, une, des) become de or d' in a negative sentence.

It doesn't apply to definite articles (le, la, l', les) or zero articles, hence: 

Je parle espagnol / l'espagnol.   ->  Je ne parle pas espagnol / l'espagnol.

Have a look at our related lessons:

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/the-partitive-article-in-negative-sentences

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/un-and-une-become-de-or-d-in-negative-sentences-indefinite-article

Bonne journée !

Thank you Chris
Thank you Aurélie

Why is there no « de » after pas in this exam with languages?

Is there not a rule « ne pas de »? How comes you don’t use « de » in this example: Ils ne parlent pas espagnol/ l’espagnol. ?

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