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more on negatives: compound tenses

We learned last week that double negatives in Italian are totally kosher. But using them with "compound tenses" - tenses made up of avere or essere plus a participle (e.g. "ho mangiato") - can be a little tricky. Specifically most beginners wonder where to put the negative terms. This week's lesson will try to clarify.

But before we get to that, let's learn a few more useful negative expressions.

not yet

no longer

not at all

not in the least

not at all

The "non" part of pretty much any negative expression always goes before the helper verb (avere or essere), or before any direct or indirect object pronoun or reflexive pronoun. It's the second part that hops around a bit.

Nessuno, niente, nulla and né...né always follow the participle.

Non hanno visto niente.
Non ha trovato nessuno.
Non abbiamo mangiato nulla.
Non hai comprato il pane il formaggio.
Non ho scritto nessuna lettera.

Mica and punto always go between the helper and participle.

Non ha mica parlato.
Non è punto arrivato.

Affatto, ancora, mai, neanche, neppure, nemmeno and più can go either between the helper and participle or after the participle.

Non si sono svegliati ancora.
Non si sono ancora svegliati.

Non ha viaggiato mai.
Non ha mai viaggiato.

Non mi ha salutato nemmeno.
Non mi ha nemmeno salutato.

There's not nothing more to it. C4N!

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