The French They Never Taught You 19: ne pas que

July 6, 2015

Every first-year French student learns the forms "ne...pas" (not) and "ne...que" (only).  But when both structures appear together, English speakers sometimes get confused. Consider these examples:

 

Il ne fait que travailler. All he does is work.

Il ne fait pas que travailler. He doesn't just work. Work isn't the only thing he does.

 

Il n'y a que l'argent dans la vie. Money is all there is in life.

Il n' y a pas que l'argent dans la vie. Money isn't all there is in life.

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