I don't understand this sentence
« Aussi sa mère lui en veut-elle mortellement. »
I know the meaning of the words separately, but not the meaning of the sentence as a whole.
Does anyone know what it could mean?
So let's try to analyze this:
Aussi - Also, too
sa mère - his/her mother, subject of the sentence
lui - probably refers to a person mentioned before, maybe the person whose mother we are talking about? In any case it's the indirect object.
en vouloir - to be angry with somebody
elle - refers to the mother again
mortellement - deadly
So the sentence would read:
Also his/her mother is deadly angry with him/her.
But I am just a French learner and can be completely wrong.
This sentence is a bit wierd in french .. we must find this in the novels only ..
We could effectively say : Aussi, sa mère lui en veut elle mortellement (à mort).
en vouloir (to be angry against someone)
Also, his mother, does she want (or wish) to his mortally .. something like that :o)
Aussi, sa mère lui en veut (lui is the person to whom her mother wants death or whatever .. )
Hope this help!
Ohh, I thought 'veut' meant 'want' here and 'en' referred to something that was stated before...
When I first read the sentence I thought it was: "Also, his mother wanted him from it mortally" which sounded like a complete nonsense...
So that's actually the verb "en vouloir à"? Is it used nowadays?
Correct, but just a precision, when there are more than one word in a group, we talk about a locution, so "en vouloir à" is an idiomatic verbal locution that means "to be in annoyed, angry, mad at". It could be someone or something. A common French idiom is en vouloir à la terre entière : "to blame everybody", "to believe the whole world is against oneself".
You can search some dictionaries for idioms, like Wordreference. In this one, even searching for vouloir alone will turn up idioms that has that word in it. There's also a forum where people can ask questions that haven't been answered clearly by what's in the dictionary itself.
I corrected my mistake ( his and not her)
Yes, en vouloir à quelqu'un, is always used nowadays in the spoken french language ..
actually you were right! it can be his or her
for example when you say: "je lui donne quelque-chose" it can be "I give something to her/him"
But : "je lui donne quelque-chose à lui" = him, "je lui donne quelque-chose à elle"=her. The first "lui" can be both but not the second.
In this case "aussi" means therefore in a very formal way (only in books). I'm French so I don't know if you use "also" to mean "therefore" in English too...
So the meaning here is :
"Therefore is his/her mother deadly angry with him."
By the way, "en vouloir à" meaning to be angry/mad at, is very used in French even when speaking. For example, teenagers may say to their parents : "je t'en veux, je te déteste"... In the literature only (old French) "en vouloir mortellement" can also mean to be so mad at someone that you want him dead, for example: le Comte de Monte-Cristo en veut mortellement à ses ennemis.