Spoken French Practice: Drop the “ne” + improve your fluency

To speak French more fluently, you need to practice informal French! That’s how you’ll gain confidence and stop sounding like a textbook. Today, let’s practice together to help you confidently speak French.

C’est parti!

1 – “Correct” grammar: ne… pas
2 – Informal French: Drop the “ne.”
3 – Informal French: Cutting “Je” and “Tu”
4 – Extra resources
5 – Quiz Answer

Quiz: How would you change the following sentences to fit the rules of real, everyday spoken French?

  1. Je n’aime pas.= I don’t like it.
  2. Je ne suis pas sûre. = I’m not sure.
  3. Tu n’as pas faim ? = You’re not hungry? Aren’t you hungry?

You’ll find the answer at the end of this lesson.

1 - “Correct” grammar: ne… pas

You’ve probably learned how to say you like something:

  • J’adore ! = I love it!
  • J’aime bien. = I like it.
  • Je t’aime. = I love you.

Click here to learn more: Learn to Say I Love You in French (and other French love / like words)

But how do we say that we don’t like something?

  • Je déteste. = I hate it.
  • Je n’aime pas. = I don’t like.

To make a negative sentence :
– we use ne… pas around the verb.
– And “ne” becomes n’ before a vowel.

For example:
Je sais. = I know.Je ne sais pas. = I don’t know.
Tu es là. = You’re here.Tu n’es pas là. = You’re not here.

This is the correct grammar for books and documents. You’ll find it when reading a newspaper or any other formal text. But we don’t say it in everyday conversations!

2 - Informal French: Drop the “ne”

In everyday French, we don’t make negations like this. Instead, we cut the “ne” practically always. You just have to add “pas” at the end of the sentence.

J’aime. = I like.J’aime pas. = I don’t like it.

French people love to take shortcuts so that we can speak faster.

Your turn now:
How would you say the negation of these sentences in spoken French?

Elle est là. = She’s here.Elle est pas là. = She’s not there.
Je sais. = I know.Je sais pas. = I don’t know.

3 - Informal French: Cutting “Je” and “Tu”

But nothing is ever simple in French, so we need to cut even more letters.
The main ones are:
Tu → T’ : the “u” disappears before a vowel
Je → J’ : the “e” disappears – even before a consonant in informal French!

For example:
Tu es pas là.T’es pas là. = You’re not here.
Je ne pense pas.Je pense pas.J’pense pas. = I don’t think so.

In informal everyday conversation, this “J” sometimes gets mixed with the next sound, when it’s a “s” for example. Particularly with the verbs:

Je sais pas. = I don’t know.J’sais pas.Chais pas. = I dunno.
Je suis. = I am.J’suis.Chuis. = I am.

For instance:
Tu fais quoi ce soir ? = What do you do this evening?
Chais pas encore. = I dunno yet. Chuis pas sûr. = I’m not sure.

4 - The extra mile: extra resources

French songs:

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Look at our next 30-Day French Challenge to learn more. In this fun program, we explore French culture and the real everyday French language, with a small challenge every day for 30 days—with special videos created just for this program, games, and more.

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Keep practicing French to improve your confidence!

And now, you can pick your next lesson to keep learning real French:

5 - Quiz Answer

They would make:

  1. J’aime pas. = I don’t like it.
  2. J’suis pas sûre. = Chuis pas sûre. = I’m not sure.
  3. Tu as pas faim ? = T’as pas faim ?

À tout de suite.
I’ll see you right now in the next video!


→ If you enjoyed this lesson (and/or learned something new) – why not share this lesson with a francophile friend? You can talk about it afterwards! You’ll learn much more if you have social support from your friends 🙂


Join the conversation!

  • Bonjour Géraldine!

    Thank you so much for providing the videos! All very informative, and may I say that your delivery is extremely entertaining, making learning much easier!
    I like to think that (although still at the ‘advanced beginner’ stage) I know quite a few French words, but I now understand why I understand hardly anything that’s said when watching “Astrid: Murder in France”!
    My frustration in realising this is that I now feel as though I’m trying to learn two languages. When I was ignorant of the ‘rules’ for spoken French, I at last consoled myself with the thought that I could aim towards being able to read French texts in a fluent way. Perhaps, too, I’d be able to catch essential parts of announcements at an airport, or the gist of the story when watching a film where French subtitles were provided.
    To some extent, although I’m enlightened, I’m also confused now… I’m aware of what’s expected in the ‘real world’, but know less of it! Nonetheless, I’ll stick at the learning, with the hope that more will seep into my brain eventually!

    Do keep up the great work!

    Bonne journée!


    Ian, UK

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