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How to say no in French and alternative expressions

Updated: Feb 26

Most of you certainly know that no in French is translated as Non. But did you know there are way more words and expressions to say no in French just as nope, not at all, never, and not yet, in the English language?

Let's see how to say no in French and alternative expressions.

How to say no in French: ways to avoid saying the classical non

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1. Non, the classic No

When someone asks how to say no in French, the first word that comes to mind is its immediate translation"Non".

2.Non, merci = No, thank you

Non is a 3 letters word and is really easy to be said. However, it can be a little too direct and sometimes, rude to reply with non.

That's why, it is sometimes good to say Non, followed by Merci, like in Non, merci (no, thank you).


- Je te sers du jus? => I serve you some juice?

- Non, merci!=> No, thank you

3. Pas du tout = Not at all

Not at all is a variant that can be used to express politely something you don't like as in the example below.


- Je te derange? => Am I disturbing?

- Pas du tout. => Not at all.

Sometimes, everything is about the tone you put on when speaking. Pas du tout can also be used to express a higher degree of negation.


- Je n'aime pas du tout le poisson => I don't like fish at all.

4. Pas encore = Not yet

Instead of saying a simple no, you can use pas encore when you haven't done something yet. You can see that using the word encore softens your no and tells that you still intend to do it, but just not yet.


- Tu as fait ton devoir d'anglais? => Did you do your English homework?

- Pas encore, je faisais d'abord ma lecture du jour. => Not yet, I was doing my daily reading first.

5. Pas question, Hors de question = No way

Pas question will be the perfect phrase to use when you think something is a no-go, a simple no-way. Another great alternative to pas question is Hors de question, literally translated as out of question.


- Je peux emprunter ta voiture pour le week-end? Can I borrow your car for the weekend?

- Pas question. Tu sais à peine conduire. => No way. You barely know how to drive.

You can also use Non et non ! and absolument pas in the same context when you mean absolutely not.

6. Nan = nope

Nan is an informal way of saying No in French. The pronunciation of nan and non (nasal sounds) are very similar, and you really need to pay attention to know which word has been used. You will most likely hear young children saying nan, instead of saying Non.


- Tu viens jouer avec nous? => Are you coming to play with us?

- Nan, j'suis crevé. Nope, => I am too tired.

7. Impossible / Ce n'est pas possible = not possible

Just like in English, the French word impossible conveys the meaning of something not possible at all. You can also use Ce n'est pas possible. However, when speaking, French people tend to skip the "ne" and directly say c'est pas possible.


- On prend un verre après le boulot? => We have a drink after work?

- Impossible, on a une réunion de famille. => Impossible, I have a family gathering.

8. Malheureusement pas = unfortunately not