Should there be a “ne” at the beginning of the question? Any help or insight appreciated. Many thanks.
The correct way starts with “ne” indeed. “Ne vous a-t-on jamais embrassé auparavant ?”
However in casual talking, French people often omit the “ne” in sentences. Just like "T’as rien fait. " (You didn’t do anything) or “Je suis pas malade” (I am not sick).
I discourage omitting the “ne” when writing (except with friends) IMHO.
I’m interested in your further thoughts on this. I haven’t encountered this sentence on Clozemaster yet (I’m just browsing old discussions), but on Tatoeba the associated English sentence is “Have you ever been kissed before?”
Doesn’t that actually make “jamais” correct without “ne”? I understand “ever” to be the fundamental meaning of “jamais” on its own, based on its etymology, and that meaning is maintained in certain expressions such as “plus que jamais” (“more than ever”) that have never included “ne”.
(That said, I do undersand that “jamais” is used casually in contemporary French, as you say, to mean “never” even without “ne”, and that similarly “pas”, “plus”, etc., all of which are essentially positive words, now take on negative meanings in certain contexts where the full phrasing uses “ne”.)
Personally, I’d want to translate “Ne vous a-t-on jamais embrassé auparavant ?” as “Have you never been kissed before?” or “Haven’t you ever been kissed before?”, both of which seem to imply surprise, whereas “Have you ever been kissed before?” is neutral in its phrasing. Does this nuance also work in French?