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French grammar - Negative adjectives - aucun and nul

Negative adjectives - aucun & nul

Many negative pronouns behave like adjectives.

These therefore require a noun to qualify.

Common ones include:

ne..aucun(e) means 'none' or 'not one'

-- aucun(e) de is also commonly used to plural nouns at the start of a sentence.

ne..nul(le) means 'not any'

-- nul(le) can only be used with collective or uncountable nouns, like liquids and emotions.

ne..guère de means 'hardly any (of something)'

Like all French adjectives these pronouns need to agree with the gender of the noun.

And like regular French adjectives, these pronouns should always come before the noun, even if they start a sentence.

Nous n'avons aucune idée.
We have no idea.

aucune agrees with idée (f)

Il n'a aucune amie.
He doesn't have any (female/girl) friends.

Or 'any (female) friends'

aucune agrees with amie (f)

Je n'ai aucun ami.
I don't have a friend.

Or 'any friends'

aucun agrees with ami (m)

Je n'ai aucun talent.
I have no talent.

aucun agrees with talent (m)

Nous n'allons nulle part pour le Nouvel An.
We're not going anywhere for New Years.

nulle agrees with part (f)

Nous n'avons aucune solution à ce problème.
We have no solution to this problem.

aucune agrees with solution (f)

Je ne trouve nulle eau.
I can't find any water.
Nulle part on ne peut voir un arbre dans le désert.
Nowhere can one see a tree in the desert.

nul(le) with the noun and ne with the verb

nulle part (f) means 'nowhere'

nulle agrees with the feminine noun part

On ne peut voir un arbre nulle part dans le désert.
One cannot see a tree anywhere in the desert.

nul(le) with the noun and ne with the verb

Elle ne fait aucune faute.
She does not make any mistakes.

faute (f) means 'mistake'

Je ne lis aucun de ces livres.
I am not reading any of these books.
Je ne reçois aucun appel - mon téléphone est en panne.
I don't receive any phone calls - my phone is broken.

être en panne (verb) means 'to be broken' or 'to be not working'

Je ne bois guère de café.
I drink hardly any coffee.
Il ne reste guère de nourriture dans le frigo.
There remains hardly any food in the fridge.
Il n'y a guère de gens qui peuvent parler la langue celtique.
There are hardly any people who can speak the Celtic language.
Guère de gens ne restent dans la salle de conférence.
Not many people remain in the room.

conférence (f) means 'conference'

Nous n'avons guère d'argent sur notre compte bancaire.
We have hardly any money remaining in our bank account.

compte bancaire (f) means 'bank account'

Aucune idée.
(I have) no idea.

Common abbreviation of Je n'ai aucune idée.

Ils ne voient nul mal.
They don't see any harm.

mal (m) means 'harm' or 'evil' or 'ache' or 'sickness'

Aucun étudiant n'étudie l'allemand cette année.
No student is studying German this year.

aucun qualifies a noun so can start a sentence.

Aucun de mes amis n'habite en France.
None of my friends live in France.

aucun de qualifies a noun so can start a sentence.

De toutes ses paroles, aucune n'est crédible.
Of all his∆her words, none is credible.

A reordering of Aucune de toutes ses paroles n'est crédible.

crédible (m.f) means 'credible'