Translation:She is the only one who has a car.
Sorry, but 'When the antecedent is preceded by a superlative...' is as alien to me as the language I am trying to learn. Antecedent to what precisely? More pressingly, is there a reason why Hints and Tips has dried up lately? Is it because this end of tree assumes that we have some grounding in grammar? Please understand that I don't. Although I have learnt a remarkable amount from earlier in the tree, the basic structures of language still remain largely mystical to me. But a wee succinct summary on subjunctives by the erstwhile very helpful DuoLingo would go a long way toward putting that right, whilst also securing DL's universal renown as a one-stop self-contained language powerhouse to be showered with exotic blossoms and fragrant powders. Umm, also, I can't find 'ait' in the conjugation tables. How is it that 'a' now becomes 'ait'? Something to do with superlatives, so I gather. Is it a tense of some odd variant other than present? Please.
"ait is the subjunctive mood. Check ou the site "french.about.com" It's a mine of info on grammar http://french.about.com/od/grammar/ss/subjunctive.htm
According to http://french.about.com/od/grammar/ss/subjunctive_8.htm “After main clauses which contain adjectives like principal, seul, unique, premier, dernier, or any superlative, the subjunctive is optional - it depends on how concrete the speaker feels about what is being said.” It this case there seems to be no doubt that she has a car.
Subjunctive has absolutely nothing to do with the certainty of the fact expressed in the main clause. I turns out that it is usually used with some verbs that express doubt, but it doesn't express uncertainty in itself. It's just a grammatical artefact associated with some specific constructions, like the determination of the scope of some adjectives, as illustrated here.
Sorry to disappoint you, dear Anna, but we may not disagree. Our subjunctive is indeed the mood of "possibility" (sometimes probability, sometimes hypothesis, sometimes allegation, the whole range is included).
If you were to stress that something is less than sure, or understate your speech, or sound sensible, an English modal like 'may' would do the job quite nicely - in terms of meaning, not necessarily in terms of Duolingo-style translation, that is.
- c'est la seule qui ait une voiture - as far as I know/unless I hear of the contrary.
- c'est la seule à avoir une voiture - I know it for a fact/I am positive about this.
I was being somewhat serious. That's what I typed in as my answer because I'm not familiar with the subjunctive (I still don't know what it is) and « est » and « ait » sound identical. It seems that most French people are more familiar with grammatical terms and what they mean than most English speaking people.
Im spanish speaker....so i kind of understand it, we use subjuncitve a lot and i havent even noticces.... but yes i think in english might be more difficult.
Maybe this could help :) https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/french-verb-conjugation/understanding-french-subjunctive
Exactly. I did not give all the details but responded to the post above "She''s the only one who's a car". <-That is the bug working. You may contract "has" and "have" when it is used as an auxiliary verb, but not when it is used alone with the meaning of "possess". The program does what it has been told to do. Unfortunately, the person doing the programming is unaware or unconcerned about the consequences of implementing an algorithm that has such far-reaching effects.
Subjunctive sentence is about something that ought to be but may or may not happen or be true. For example, "I suggest she learn to love french.about.com." Will she learn to love french.about.com? It may or may not happen. So "learn" in this case is a subjunctive verb since it's not exactly in the future nor in the present. It only exists in a "suggestion."
For those confused with the French subjunctive learning about the English subjunctive will help (a tiny bit) to understand what's happening to the clause where the subjunctive is used. It's basically just a marker. In English the subjunctive uses the bare infinitive and ends up, except for the third-person singular, sounding exactly like the simple present. Here's the sentence for this thread using the English subjunctive (which you'd never hear. But it is correct. :)
- She is the only one who have a car.
In French the verb forms are still very highly inflected (use different stems and endings to express tense, mood, voice, etc) and so we get to learn yet another conjugation but all it's doing is providing a hint that the statement being made is open to doubt or interpretation.
I know I'm late to the game... but I am not familiar with a lot of grammar rules and terminology, and although I read the comments below I'm wondering about the "ait".
What is the difference between "Elle est la seule qui ait une voiture" and "Elle est la seule qui a une voiture" ....?
I was trying to understand the subjunctive a while back (and still). On the news that night, a frazzled young college student on the news was asked to comment on presidential political speech in the USA: "What is this? Have we entered the subjunctive?" It reminds me this this is the wished for, the imaginary even? It's not factual, quite? I felt she was a genius...but now I wonder also if it is a clue to assertions that uncertain.
Also, in France, in French, does a prosecuting attorney making accusations do so in the subjunctive? Do most languages have a subjunctive? What are some definitely subjunctive English sentences scream subjunctive?
That sad part of conjugation tables is they do not translate and assume that the terms themselves will lead people to understand the translation in the native language; and in America, maybe fewer people learn foreign languages formally. Well, two questions here, a request and a comment.
A prosecuting attorney will use the subjunctive like me: when it is necessary, on a sentence by sentence basis, and according to the main clause's verb and/or the conjunction.
A subjunctive is not necessarily "unreal", at least not more than its translation to English.
"Il faut que tu travailles" is as real/unreal as "you must work more".
Subjunctive is required, you can't speak French properly without it, for it is extremely frequent.
This is an introduction to subjunctive: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/ss/subjunctive.htm
This sentence by itself may express varying degrees of certainty, hence the possible use of the indicative (if you are pretty sure) or the subjunctive (if you are in doubt).
But the subjunctive is alive and well and it is not likely to change anytime soon. The reason is that when babies learn their mother tongue, they can hear the subjunctive in even the simplest sentences, like "il faut que tu finisses ton verre" (you have to finish your drink).
Duo seems to hide its grammar information. If you go to duome.eu/yourname, then click on the french listing on the top right, you will get a listing of all the subjects in the tree. There are some icons to the right of each subject. If you click on the first of these you will get a drop down of what is in the lesson. This includes relevant grammar information. It is a tortuous way to find grammar guidance, but it is there. A link to this from within the DUO tree would be helpful.