How to Put Reflexive Verbs in the Negative Form in French

Written by allana early
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How to Put Reflexive Verbs in the Negative Form in French
Word order is crucia in creating the negative forms of French reflexives. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

A reflexive verb is used to convey that the subject performs the action on himself, such as "I am looking at myself in the mirror" which is translated into French as "Je me regarde dans la glace." If the subject is performing the action on a direct object other than himself, a reflexive pronoun ("myself" in English and "me" in French) is not used, as in the sentence "I am looking at the moon" which is translated into French as "Je regarde la lune." To make a reflexive verb phrase negative in French, you must precede it with the particle "ne" and follow it with another particle, usually "pas."

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Study the basic rules for the formation and placement of French reflexive pronouns and verbs. Also study the rules of negation, which require you to place the particle "ne" before the verb being negated, and place another particle after it, usually "pas."

  2. 2

    Choose a sentence in which a reflexive verb phrase is used. For this tutorial, the sentence "Je me regarde dans la glace" ("I look at myself in the mirror") will be used.

  3. 3

    Negate the phrase by placing the particle "ne" before the reflexive verb phrase "me regarde" and by placing the particle "pas" after it. Depending on the meaning you wish to convey, you can also use such words as "jamais" ("never"), "rien" ("nothing), or "aucun(e)" ("none") as the second of the two particles.

  4. 4

    Make sure to place the "ne" directly before the reflexive pronoun "me" and not the verb "regarde." The second particle ("pas," for example) goes after the verb. Note that this is contrary to English usage, which typically uses a single negative particle ("not") before the verb.

  5. 5

    Study the negated phrase "Je né me regarde pas dans la glace" to get used to the word order. This pattern also applies to other reflexive phrases such as "Je me lave les mains" ("I am washing my hands"). If you want to say "I never wash my hands," you would say, "Je né me lave jamais les mains."

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