Je ne voudrais pas que quiconque nous voie.

English Translation

I wouldn’t want anyone to see us.

what happened to “voyions”

Who might see and who might be seen, that is the question :slight_smile:

I’m wondering, is this pattern, using quiconque, the normal way to say “not anyone”, meaning “no one”?

I would naively have used personne.

Addition: To make myself clear, my reading of “Je ne voudrais pas que quiconque nous voie” is “I wouldn’t want just anybody to see us”; in Spanish: “No quisiera que cualquiera nos viera”, as opposed to “No quisiera que nadie nos viera”.

That’s an interesting question.

I’d say “quiconque” and “personne” are quite close in meaning, but you generally can’t use them interchangeably.

Quiconque simply means anyone, anybody or whoever, depending on context.
There is no inherent negative meaning here and it can be used in both declarative and negative sentences.

Personne on the other end, will typically be used in negative sentences,(especially when it is used as an indefinite pronoun), and translated to nobody or no one.

Edit: Having written all that, I realize that what I said about them being close in meaning is confusing at best…:roll_eyes: I guess one could say they are “closely” related, you know, the same way always and never are closely related :slight_smile: . Hopefully you get the idea and the fact that you wanted to use “personne” in the first place, makes me think that you do…

I don’t think you can use “personne” instead of “quiconque” here. I mean, for the sentence to be grammatical, you would have to say something like “Je voudrais que personne ne nous voie.”. The problem is that the meaning is no quite the same. It’s close and would depend on context, but if I had to translate this sentence, I’d say “I wish nobody would/could see us”.

Even more interesting… :slight_smile:

Is the double negative in that last sentence (No + Nadie) considered “correct” in Spanish?

My take on the translations:

I wouldn’t want anyone to see us.
= “Je ne voudrais pas que quiconque nous voie.”
= “Je ne voudrais pas que quelqu’un nous voie”.

Quelqu’un = somebody/someone, but I can’t decide whether I would use either in English here. Both sentences are fine in French though.

I wouldn’t want just anybody to see us. = Je ne voudrais pas que n’importe qui nous voie.

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Yes, double negatives are perfectly normal in Spanish.

I’m starting to realize that I’ve had the mistaken notion that quiconque was equivalent to cualquiera, and had forgotten about n’importe qui.

Interesting. The No+Nadie construction seemed weird to me, probably because “Je ne voudrais pas que personne nous voie”, would be considered incorrect in French.

Right… Reading the examples you provided, I was actually wondering about all this myself.

I’d say that If you really want to insist on the “not just any/anyone idea”, “n’importe qui” is a pretty good way to do that in French.

N’importe qui ne peut pas être/devenir pilote de F1.

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That sounds like a more generally usable translation, especially for spoken language.

“L’emploi comme pronom indéfini, au sens de « n’importe qui, qui que ce soit », naguère critiqué, est aujourd’hui passé dans l’usage”

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Indeed. “Quelqu’un” sounds much more natural to me here, and generallly, “quiconque” is not that common, especially not when speaking.

“Quiconque” and “quelqu’un” can’t (always) be used interchangeably though:

Il le sait mieux que quiconque. = He knows it better than anyone.

“Y’a quelqu’un?” (spoken) = (Is) anyone there? (literally ‘There’s someone?’)

I found this to illustrate quelqu’un vs. personne:

Le Corniaud (1965)

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