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Hi Everyone,

I am confused the followings

Je n'ai rien dit = I did not say anything

J'ai rien dit = I said nothing

For me, both sentences convey the same meaning => I did not say something in the past

So, please let me know what is the difference between them in French?

Thanks in advance!

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The second phrase is short for the first. The "ne" has been dropped but the meanng is the same.

The difference is roughly like the difference between "I have not done anything" and "I haven't done anything/nothing"-- in other words, it's a difference of formality. Dropping the "ne" is extremely common in everyday speech (in everyday speech, something in the order of 50%-90% of negatives don't have the "ne", depending on factors such as social class, the specific context etc).

However, a difference between dropping the "ne" in French and the situation of using contractions in English, is that in English it is common and acceptable to use contractions in relatively formal contexts and in various types of writing.

In French, it still remains the norm to use "ne" in most styles of writing (except where you're deliberately trying to mimic speech) and in "careful" styles of speech.

Hi all,

Merci beaucoup! :)

Your explanations are very helpful!


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