The French phrase "Je n'y crois pas" explained

Are you ready to discover everything you have to know about the basic French sentence “Je n’y crois pas”?

It includes a full guide of what it is and how to use it in a conversation with an audio example. And also the cool informations we added like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example and more!

In addition, on this page you will find our others sentences guides and the directory of all our French words tutorials on this page. Wishing you a happy learning!

Artboard 1
Showcase of this quote from our Instagram account
Daily posts like this on Instagram → @all.french and Telegram

Translation in English

Pronunciation example

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean?


“Je n’y crois pas” is a shortened way of saying “Je ne crois pas à cela” which literally means:

  • Je → I
  • Ne crois pas → Don’t believe
  • à cela → To that (In that)

Let’s focus on how “ne (…) à cela” became just “n’y“. In French “y” refers to “it” and ” n’ ” is a short version for “ne“, which is the negation word (like “not“).

That’s why, even if it’s impossible to translate “n’y” directly in English, it means something like “not it“. So when we say “Je n’y crois pas” we are literally saying “I not it believe” to express “I don’t believe it“.

And what about “pas“? Why should we add it if we already added the negation “ne“? Because that’s how you express negation in French, by using the combination: ne + verb + pas.

Even if you will discover below that we don’t always respect this rule…

How to use it

If someone asks you if you believe in ghosts, you can say: “Non, je n’y crois pas, et toi ?” (No, I don’t believe it, and you?).

But if you do believe it, you can say: “Oui, j’y crois“. Since there is no more negation, we deleted ” n’ ” and “pas“.

Funny stuff

Because we are lazy, we even have a shorter way to say that, and it’s: “J’y crois pas“.

But wait, I just told you that “Je n’y” is the negative form and “J’y” the positive form, so why use the positive one to express something negative?!

Once again, we are lazy so we consider that having “pas” after the verb is a solid enough proof that we are using a negation. So we just skip saying ” n’ ” to save us one syllab.

Replacing “Je n’y” by “J’y” is something you will find often, especially when French people talk. Another example: “J’y vais pas” instead of “Je n’y vais pas” (I am not going).


  • Je ne crois pas à ça. (“I don’t believe in that“)
  • J’arrive pas à y croire. (“I can’t believe it“)
  • J’y crois pas. (“I don’t believe it“)

Example in a story with translation

Now, let’s see a complete example of this idiom in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
Chirurgie esthétique
Plastic surgery
Olivia:   Théo, qu’est-ce que tu penses de la chirurgie esthétique ?
Théo, what do you think of plastic surgery?
Théo:   Euh, je ne sais pas. Pourquoi ?
Uh, I don’t know. Why?
Olivia:   Une amie a fait une opération récemment. Et je pense essayer aussi.
A friend recently had an operation. And I am thinking of trying too.
Théo:   Quel genre d’opération elle a fait ?
What kind of operation did she do?
Olivia:   Une rhinoplastie.
Théo:   C’est une opération pour le nez ?
Is it an operation for the nose?
Olivia:   Oui.
Théo:   Mais pourquoi ? Ton nez est parfait !
But why? Your nose is perfect!
Olivia:   J’ai toujours voulu le faire, je n’aime pas mon nez.
I’ve always wanted to do this, I don’t like my nose.
Get access to 365 French Texts and Quizzes

Become a member to access the full version of 365 texts and quizzes! 

Already a member? Login here