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Complete post:

Jan

19

2012

The French word personne

It has two functions… let's take a look

The pronoun personne, accompanied by ne allows us to say 'nobody'.

Sometimes the ne will come first and sometimes it will come after. In other situations, ne may not even be required. Consider the following examples closely:

  • Personne ne peut entrer dans la salle de classe.
    [= Nobody can enter the classroom.]
  • Quelqu'un a téléphone ce matin? Non, personne.
    [= Did someone phone this morning? No, nobody.]
  • Je ne vois personne.
    [= I see nobody.]

Note that each of the examples of 'personne' above is the negation of 'someone'.

In other situations, the word personne is a noun and does not have a negative function: in such situations, personne means simply 'person'.

  • J'ai vu deux personnes au coin de la rue.
    [= I saw two people at the corner.]

Note, finally, that 'personne' as a noun is always feminine, even when referring to a man!

  • Lui, c'est une personne qui a réussi beaucoup de choses dans sa vie.
    [= He is a person who has made a success of many things in his life.]

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