Today we learnt about negative of quelque chose.

1) J'ai entendu quelque chose.
= Je n'ai rien entendu.

2) J'ai pense (passe compose) a (accent grave) tout.
=Je n'ai pense a rien.

Why is that in 1) rien is infront of the verb, and 2) is after the verb?
How do you know where to put "rien"

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asked by french
  1. Thank you for using the Jiskha Homework Help Forum. The word is "learned."

    To answer your question, "rien" is a negative word and it goes where "pas" goes. Je n'ai pas.....
    Je n'ai rien.....

    In the 2nd example you are saying "I thought OF nothing and it goes after the preposition.

    Mini lesson on negatives:

    ne...pas / ne...pas du tout / ne...point / ne...jamais / / ne...guère / ne...rien / ne...personne / / ne...que / ne...aucun(aucune) / ne...nul (nulle)

    1. In simple tenses, "ne" precedes the verb and pronoun objects; the 2nd part of the negative follows the verb, (or the subject pronoun in interrogative word order).
    Ne vous faut-il qu'une heure?

    2. In compound tenses, the 2nd part of most negatives precedes the past participle.
    Elle n'avait rien dit.

    3. However:
    a. Personne follows the past participle (Elles n'en ont parlé à personne.)
    b. Que precedes the word or words stressed, as does the word "only" in English. (Il n'a acheté que des petits pains.)
    c. Each part of precedes the word or words stressed. (L'eau n'était ni chaude ni froide.)
    d. Aucun and nul precede the nouns they modify. (Cela ne posera aucun problème.)
    e. Both parts of the negative generally precede the infinitive. (Il vaut mieux ne rien dire.)

    4. Rien and personne may be used as subjects of the verb. Ne remains in the usual place, before the verb. (Rien n'est arrivé.)

    5. Ne is used only with a verb, but the 2nd part of a negative may be usewd alone, without a verb. (Ils n'y so nt pas restés. Pourquoi pas?)

    6. Jamais with a verb but without ne means "ever." (Avez-vous jamais traversé la Manche?)

    7. Ne is sometimes used without pas with the verbs: cesser, oser, pouvoir, and savoir. In this case, the verb is generally followed by an infinitive. (Nous n'osons le lui dire.)


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