Learn French negative sentences through a song

Updated: Jul 3, 2020

Have you ever thought of learning French through a song? Yes, that is possible and even one of the coolest way of learning. I am sharing here one of my favorite songs. We'll focus on building negative sentences in French and also learn some vocabulary and bit of cultural aspects.

But before, what’s would be the best way of learning with a song?

Here are my recommendations.

  • First, Listen to the music few times without the lyrics and try to recognize some words and get used to their pronunciation.

  • Then read the lyrics, identify the new words and search for their meaning. Once found, immediately use them by making your own sentences.

  • Finally sing along with the lyrics and try to memorize the text. Repeat and repeat until you know it by heart. You’ll notice that you are naturally picking the words.

Now let’s learn through the song “A Kele n’ta” of MHD a French rapper originated from West Africa.

You would wonder why this song as the title is not in French. But I can assure you that these are the only words not in French in the lyrics. For the little story, A Kele NTa means “chose only that one” in the west African Malinke language. The song is about a friend talking about the wedding of his friend, surrounded with their family and friends, and encouraging him to chose only that one, to stay unified and faithful in the marriage.

The video was made in Dakar in Senegal and gives you the opportunity to discover how Senegal looks like : it’s public transport, people riding motorcycles, it’s sand and beaches, people dancing in a rhythmic way and showing lots of joy,...

You'll find the lyrics here.

What else can we learn from this song?

There are several negative sentences used in it.

Below are few of them

  • · Plus rien ne m’effraie

  • · Personne ne veut rater ça

  • · N’aie pas d’inquiétude

  • · Nul ne pourra le retirer.

As you can see, there are different ways of expressing negation in French : you have simple negations like Ne…pas, ne… plus, ne…jamais and more complex ones like ne…rien/rien ne …, ne personne/personne ne…, ne…nulle part,.... Let’s look at closely each of them.

1. Simple negative sentence

Ne…pas is in general used to express the opposite of an action or Situation.

Example : je ne danse pas = I don’t dance

Ne…plus is used to express something that we stopped doing. The actual meaning is “not anymore”. Example : Je ne mange plus de riz (I don’t eat rice anymore) Ne…jamais is used to express something that we have never done.

Example : Je ne vais jamais à Paris (I never go to Paris).

In general the verb is place between Ne…pas, ne… plus and ne… jamais in simple tense like present, future, imparfait, …

Examples :

Tous les hommes ne sont pas pareils (all men are not the same)

Il ne fera plus chaud (It will no more be hot)

Elle ne faisait jamais ses devoirs (she was never doing her homework)

In a composed tense like “passé composé” or “plus que parfait”, the auxiliary (avoir/etre) is placed between the negation words.

Examples :

On n'a pas changé (we haven't changed)

Vous n’etes plus partis en vacances ? (You didn't go anymore on vacation?)

Nous n’avons jamais vu la Tour Eiffel. (We have never seen the Eiffel Tower)

Important note : In the imperative tense it becomes Ne+Verb+Pas/plus/jamais

Example : N’aie pas d’inquietudes (don’t worry)

Learn French negative sentences through a song
Learn French negative sentences

2. Complex negative sentences

Now let’s see the complex ones.

Ne…rien is a negation concerning things. Rien ( nothing) can also be the subject.

Examples :

Je ne veux rien (I don’t want anything)

Rien ne m’interesse (Nothing interests me)

Ne … Personne/Personne …ne is a negation on persons. In a composed tense, note that "personne" is placed after the past participle.

"Personne" can also be the subject.

Examples :

Simple tense => Je ne vois personne (I don't see anybody)

Composed tense => Je n’ai vu personne (i haven’t seen anybody)

Subject => Personne ne veut rater ça (nobody wants to miss this)

Ne ... aucun(e) + noun means “absolutely no” or “not a single”. Aucun agrees in gender with the word that follows.

In a composed tense, note that "personne" is placed after the past participle.

"Aucun can also be the subject".

Examples :

Composed tense => Je n’ai recu aucun cadeau a mon anniversaire (I did'nt receive any single gift at my birthday)

Simple tense => Elle n’a aucune amie (she has no friend)

Subject => Aucun parent n’est venu a ma fete. (No relative came to my party)

Ne...nulle part

Example : Elle n'a nulle part aller (she has nowhere to go)

Ne…que is used to express a restriction. It is usually translated as 'only'.

Example : Ton histoire ne fait que commencer (your story is only starting)

Ne … ni ... ni is commonly translated as 'neither ... nor'. It is used in a similar way as the English expression. We can also use Ni... ni... ne ... at the beginning of the sentence.

Examples :

Elle n’est ni venue à nos fiançailles, ni à notre mariage. ( she neither came tour our engagement, nor to our wedding).

Ni le gateau ni la salle de reception ne lui plaisent. ( She didn't like Neither the cake, nor the function room)

I really hope this could help you understand more French negative sentences structure. I also hope you enjoyed learning through this song.

Fore more, you can practice here.

You can find again the lyrics here and download some of the key vocabulary here.

Vocabulary A Kele nta
PDF • 1.17MB