Ne ... pas grand-chose = Not much (negation)

Look at these negative sentences:

Hier je n'ai pas fait grand-chose
Yesterday I didn't do much

Paula ne pense pas grand-chose de l'environnement
Paula doesn't think much of the environment

In French, to say not much, we use the expression ne/n' ... pas grand-chose (literally "no big thing").

Note that you can also use pas grand-chose on its own:

Tu as fait quoi ce weekend? - Pas grand-chose.
What did you do this weekend? - Not much.

BUT

You can never use grand-chose to express much, this exists solely as a negative expression.

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Paula ne pense pas grand-chose de l'environnement
Paula doesn't think much of the environment


Hier je n'ai pas fait grand-chose
Yesterday I didn't do much


Tu as fait quoi ce weekend? - Pas grand-chose.
What did you do this weekend? - Not much.


Q&A Forum 4 questions, 10 answers

I clicked on "Report a Problem" but nothing happened

Anyway, I want to ask about the following:

- - - - - -

Paula ne pense pas grand-chose de l'environnement

Paula doesn't think much of the environment

- - - - - -

". . . doesn't think much of the environment" seems neither correct nor natural. Normally, when one contemplates a matter (or chooses not to), one "thinks about X." 

If instead one wishes to indicate his/her opinion of X, and specifically wishes to suggest a negative opinion, one might say he/she "does not think much about X," where X could be a book, a movie, a teacher etc. In other words, X is things subject to subjective opinions.

Thus, in the example above, X as a subjective matter does not normally include the environment, which simply just is (i.e., we don't have subjective opinions about water, air or the sun, which just are, like the environment).

So, in the example, what is Paul really trying to say? Does she perhaps not think much the environment, as in not thinking much about environmental issues like pollution, climate change etc? 

If instead the example was:

Paula ne pense pas grand-chose des activistes environnementaux = Paula doesn't think much of environmental activists, 

that would make sense.

Asked 2 months ago

Correction: So, in the example, what is Paula really trying to say? Does she perhaps not think much about the environment . . .

I clicked on "Report a Problem" but nothing happened

Anyway, I want to ask about the following:

- - - - - -

Paula ne pense pas grand-chose de l'environnement

Paula doesn't think much of the environment

- - - - - -

". . . doesn't think much of the environment" seems neither correct nor natural. Normally, when one contemplates a matter (or chooses not to), one "thinks about X." 

If instead one wishes to indicate his/her opinion of X, and specifically wishes to suggest a negative opinion, one might say he/she "does not think much about X," where X could be a book, a movie, a teacher etc. In other words, X is things subject to subjective opinions.

Thus, in the example above, X as a subjective matter does not normally include the environment, which simply just is (i.e., we don't have subjective opinions about water, air or the sun, which just are, like the environment).

So, in the example, what is Paul really trying to say? Does she perhaps not think much the environment, as in not thinking much about environmental issues like pollution, climate change etc? 

If instead the example was:

Paula ne pense pas grand-chose des activistes environnementaux = Paula doesn't think much of environmental activists, 

that would make sense.

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Why can "they do not have much to read" not be translated as " ils n'ont pas beaucoup à lire"? Why must it be "grand-chose" instead?

Google Translate allows it.

This page offers it in several examples:: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english-french/much

It seems they are equally valid alternatives.

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi David,

Yes you can say " Je n'ai pas beaucoup à lire" but you are more likely to hear "Je n'ai pas grand-chose à lire".

Hope this helps!

Alright, that is good to know. However it is one of the frustrating things in using Kwiziq (and also Lingvist, but not so much on DuoLingo) that you have to learn to give back what the examiner wants, rather than other correct answers, since only one possible correct answer will be accepted.

I think the meaning is a little difference. Please let me know if I'm wrong.

"Je n'ai pas beaucoup à lire" to me means I don't have a lot of homework this week. My boss didn't ask me to go over a lot of cases. So I don't have much to read this week.

"Je n'ai pas grand-chose à lire" makes me think you walk into the doctor's office, and there are only junk magazines to read. You don't have much to read around here.

CécileKwiziq language super star

Hi John,

I think you would say " Il n'y a pas grand-chose à lire" in the case of the doctor's surgery as it is a general comment.

The difference between 'pas beaucoup' and 'pas grand-chose' is the same as 'not much' and 'hardly anything', in my opinion.

Why can "they do not have much to read" not be translated as " ils n'ont pas beaucoup à lire"? Why must it be "grand-chose" instead?

Google Translate allows it.

This page offers it in several examples:: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english-french/much

It seems they are equally valid alternatives.

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Why is it grand-chose and not grande-chose?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Dory,

I can see your point since "chose" being feminine the logical deduction would be that "grand" should be "grande".

However, the expression "pas grand-chose " is always like that. Apparently in olden French it would have been spelt "grand'chose" which normally indicates there's a letter missing but in modern French we just accept the expression is "grand-chose" and don't bat an eyelid!

Hope this helps!

 

 

JimC1
Because grand-chose in an adverb and not a noun.
Thanks for your reply Jim and happy new year!
Thanks Cécile, that's helpful. Does the same go for grand-mère?

Why is it grand-chose and not grande-chose?

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Using grand-choose instead of beaucoup

First, thanks for the great lessons. This is the most flexible and best online solution I've found, and I've been really impressed by this q n a forum. That said, when do you use grand-chose vs beaucoup?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Jason ! Actually, you can never use "grand-chose" on its own to express "much". I've realised the lesson phrasing was a bit confusing on this one, and thanks to you, I've now clarified this. Merci et à bientôt !

Using grand-choose instead of beaucoup

First, thanks for the great lessons. This is the most flexible and best online solution I've found, and I've been really impressed by this q n a forum. That said, when do you use grand-chose vs beaucoup?

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Clever stuff underway!