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Articles, Part Three: Pas de

In Part One of this series, we saw how to use the articles le, la, les, l’.

In Part Two, un, une, des. We can now say useful things like:

Je voudrais un verre d’eau pétillante.
/zhvoo dray ehn vair dough pay tee yon tuh/
I would like a glass of sparkling water.

je voudrais un verre d'eau


Il y a un éléphant dans la pièce.
/yah ehn nay lay fondon lah pee ess/
There is an elephant in the room.


In this post, we’ll see pas de: the elephant in the room so far. Because while you know how to say when there is one (un, une), and more than one or some (des), you have yet to be shown how to say there are none.

pas de
no ~

First and foremost, the expression “pas de” pertains to quantity. It expresses no ~ as in none, or not any. You place it directly before the noun, erasing any previous article, be it masculine or feminine: it all becomes pas de /pad/. If the noun starts with a vowel, you still pronounce /pad/ but write it pas d’:

Je ne veux pas de verre d’eau.
/zhuhn vuhr pad vair dough/
I don’t want any glass of water/ I don’t want a glass of water.

Il n’y a pas d’éléphant dans la pièce.
/ya paday lay fondon lah pee ess/
There is no elephant in the room.

pas d'éléphant

Hear it used in real life (er, well, almost):


(Waitress): Voilà deux “imoteps”.

(Bearded guy): Hmm… on va arrêter la construction du palais. Ils attendent des pierres qui doivent arriver du sud, par le Nil. Débrouille-toi pour que ces pierres n’arrivent jamais au chantier. Pas de pierres, pas de construction. Pas de construction, pas de palais. Pas de palais… pas de palais. 


(Waitress): Here are two “imoteps”.

(Bearded guy): Hmm… we will stop the palace’s construction. They expect stones to reach the south by the Nile.  Make it so that these stones never reach the building site. No stones, no construction. No construction, no palace. No palace… no palace.  


Watch out!

Do NOT use pas de /pad/ with le, la, les, l': as these articles are describers. They do not express quantity. For example:

Je n’aime pas les éléphants…
/zhuh nem pah lay zay lay fon/
I don’t like elephants.

Elle ne regarde pas la télévision.
/elnuh rgard pah latte lay vee zee own/
She doesn’t watch TV.

Ce n’est pas le tour de Sam.
/snay pal toor duh samuh/
It’s not Sam’s turn.

Over To You!

Here are some exercises to practice using pas de:

Pas de? Click! (Via Dynamots / Centre linguistique de l’université de Padoue – Italy)

de, un, une, des? Multiple choice (Via Carol H. Reitan / FOG French Online Grammar Quiz – USA)

Test yourself (click) (Via Discovering French / ClassZone / Houghton Mifflin Company – USA)

Feeling confident? Fill the blanks (Via Yung Truong / Vanier College – Québec, Canada)

Write out the whole sentence (Via M. Parmentier & D. Potvin / En bons termes / Pearson Education – Canada)

Bon courage!


© Ouicestca 2013, tous droits réservés.

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2 thoughts on “Articles, Part Three: Pas de

  1. Pingback: Négation de l’infinitif | Oui, c'est ça!

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