If you’re new to OffQc, you might like to get a copy of C’est what?
C’est what? is an OffQc guide that you can use to get started in understanding what makes Québécois French Québécois, with lots of examples that you can use immediately yourself in conversations. You can buy it here, or you can learn more about it here first.
In C’est what?, there’s an example on the page for sentence 5 that reads: Prends-moi pas pour un cave. Literally, it means don’t take me for an idiot, but it can be used where an English speaker might say I’m not an idiot, you know. How does this sentence work exactly?
Prends-moi pas pour un cave.
- prends-moi, take me
- prends-moi pas, take me not
- pour, for
- un cave, an idiot
If you’re taking French lessons, you’ll have learned (or will learn) to negate prends-moi like this: ne me prends pas. But that’s not what we’ve got in the example above; we’ve got prends-moi pas. Why?
Negating prends-moi as prends-moi pas is an informal usage. It’s what you’d hear used spontaneously in conversations. You’ll notice this informal negation is simply the affirmative form with pas added to it.
Today, I heard someone say in French don’t listen to them, in an informal style. Based on the above, can you guess how it was said?
If listen to them is écoute-les, then the informal negation of it is écoute-les pas. (The non-colloquial way is ne les écoute pas.)