How to say "never" in French

This section explains how to say "never" in French. Before reading this section, it is recommended that you read the general section on forming negative sentences in French (in other words, making sentences with the equivalent of "not").

The equivalent of "never" in French is generally the construction ne...jamais. This construction works in a very similar way to the ne...pas construction: ne comes before the verb, with jamais after the verb:

Je travaille.
I work.
Je ne travaille jamais.
I never work.
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Saying "never" with the perfect tense

(If you are unfamiliar with the perfect tense, then it is recommended that you take a look at the section on the perfect tense before reading this part.)

As with ne...pas, in the perfect tense, the two parts of ne...jamais go either side of the form of avoir (the so-called auxiliary verb). For example:

Il a travaillé.
He has worked.
Il n'a jamais travaillé.
He has never worked.
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Using ne...jamais with pronouns before the verb

As you may be aware, what are sometimes called object pronouns (roughly speaking, the equivalents of me, him etc when they are the object of the verb) usually come before the verb in French. For example:

As with ne...pas, if you use ne...jamais alongside such object pronouns, the ne comes before any object pronoun (but still after the subject). For example:

Il ne m'aide jamais.
He never helps me.
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Saying "never" is an isolated word

In English, the word never can be used on its own or with a phrase that isn't a "whole sentence" as such. For example, as a "single-word" response to a question:

- Do you work on Saturdays?
- No, never.
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or:

- I work, but never on Sundays.
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In French, jamais can be used in a similar way:

- Tu travailles le samedi?
- Non, jamais.


- Je travaille, mais jamais le dimanche.
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