how do you say I don't know in French?
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
Jenny M has given you a correct answer.
Je ne sais pas = I don't know (something)
Je ne sais pas la reponse = I don't know the answer BUT
Je ne connais pas cette personne/place = I do not know/am not acquanted with this/that person/place
"Savoir" is special, it does not need pas when it
a) means to be uncertain - Je ne sais si c'est juste (I don't know if it is fair)
b) when it is in the conditional - Je ne saurais t'aider (I wouldn't know how to help you)
c) when it is used with a question word - Je ne sais quoi faire (I don't know what to do)
However when savoir means to know a fact or how to do something, then savoir does need "pas"
Je ne sais pas la réponse (I don't know the answer)
Je ne sais pas nager (I don't know how to swim)
the "ne" part of a negation is ALWAYS used in written French but often in informal or familiar (spoken) French, the "ne" is often dropped.
ex. Je ne sais pas - informal: Je sais pas (I don't know)
Ne bouge pas! - informal: Bouge pas! (Don't move!)
HOWEVER: There is the "ne littéraire" (French Literary Ne) whereby in literary writing, and sometimes in spoken French, the use of "ne" is required but the "pas" is optional for certain verbs in order to be negative.
These verbs are:
cesser - Il ne cesse de manger (he never stops eating)
oser - Je n'ose sortir (I don't dare (to) go out)
pouvoir - Il ne peu sortir (she can't leave/go out)
Then there is the "ne explétif" which has no negative value and where the verbs always take the subjunctive and is used with conjunctions and comparatives and.....but enough now.
- ?Lv 45 years ago
- Anonymous1 decade ago
je ne sais pas
or je ne connais pas if you are saying you don't know a person or you are not familar with a place
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- 1 decade ago
yeah,it's Je ne sais pas. it translates into I do not know.
- gtaLv 51 decade ago
I think sometimes"pas" is omitted. with respect to my fellow respondents!