1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Imagine that you are twenty …

"Imagine that you are twenty years old."

Translation:Imaginez que vous ayez vingt ans.

June 15, 2016



imagine que tu as un cheval ... this phrase was used by DL and is not in the subjunctive ... I think that the justification was that the imperative/command form was used ... I don't see why "imaginez que vous ayez vingt ans" is preferred to vous ayez ... any advice please?


In most European languages, a simple present indicative is informally used instead of a subjunctive. It seems to be a growing trend across several languages and is so common in English that a "proper" subjunctive may be considered archaic, pedantic or even "wrong".


Did you ever get an answer to this question? I too am confused why the subjunctive is required in one sentence but not the other when the structures (and even the verb used with que) are the same except one sentence uses the formal vous and the other uses the informal tu. I can't "imagine that" should make a difference as to whether the subjunctive is required or not. :)


I agree. I just translated from French to English 'imagine you have a horse' and the French did not have the subjunctive, so why do we need subjunctive here. In fact I thought the French should have been subjunctive in this sentence but decided it shouldn't due to the earlier sentence. Help, please!!!


The subjunctive after imaginer is optional: it depends on how you use the verb.

Generally speaking, you need the indicative after imaginer:


J'imagine qu'il le fait. - I imagine that he is doing it.

But when you are hypothesizing, using the imperative, or negating imaginer, the subjunctive tends to be used:


Imaginez que tout le monde sache. - Imagine that everyone knows.
Je n'imagine pas que tout le monde sache. - I don't imagine/think that everyone knows
Imagine que tu aies raison. - Imagine that you are right.

Regarding the sentence: Imagine que tu as un cheval - Imagine that you have a horse.

A search on the internet came up with the following:

After an affirmative sentence, the indicative is almost always used. Using the subjunctive, while technically possible, feels very literary or archaic to a modern ear. This is the case even if the supposition has turned out to be wrong. https://www.reddit.com/r/French/comments/4jmpk3/imagine_que_tu_as_un_cheval_correct/


Why not "imagine que tu as vingt ans" - is that part of the sentence really not a straightforward present tense verb? Tu as vingt ans...?


Look again at the sentence given; "Imaginez que vous ayez vingt ans". The highlighted section is a subjunctive clause, triggered by "Imaginez que". Ayez is a subjunctive conjugation, whose indicative equivalent is avez.

So the answer to your question is of course "tu" can be used, but it must likewise use the subjunctive --> "Imagine que tu aies vingt ans."


Okay, so the initial phrase requires the subjunctive, and therefore ayez/aies. Subjunctive is hard for me to wrap my head around, so this will just have to be something I will have to remember as a phrase! Thanks for the explanation! :)


You're very welcome :) Definitely the best way to approach the subjunctive (until you understand it) is to learn it phrase by phrase.


It really depends on perspective..."Imaginez que vous avez (encore) vingt ans..." Think back to those days that were..."Imaginez que vous ayez vingt ans..." Imagine you were twenty...I could be asking a child to think ahead. I do believe this is a judgment call, and not a strict rule.

[deactivated user]

    I understand that imaginer que tends to take the subjunctive when the issue is hypothetical (as here) but that this is optional. I think that Duo should allow the indicative in this sentence.


    I had trouble with this one when I put "Imagine" instead of "Imagines". DL corrected it to "Imagines". Then when I put "Imagines" DL marked me wrong and corrected it to plural throughout! Reported.


    The "s" in second person imperative would be an error. That's not the kind of error to which DL is known to be prone. Imagine que is correct.


    Having just had "imagine que tu as un cheval", I put the same construction "imagine que tu as vingt ans". There does not seen to be a difference between the two sentences.


    The mods are clearly not following this thread.

    • 1078

    In the tips and notes for this imperative lesson, the imperative form tu for avoir is, "Aie !". So why is there an , "s" added to that?

    i.e. According to duolingo the correct answer is, "Imagine que tu aies vingt ans."


    Because it’s the subjunctive, not the imperative :)


    The verb "Imagine" is in the imperative. "Have" is the verb in the dependent clause that is, as lain_French said, in the subjunctive. If "avoir" were in the imperative, there would be no subject. The second person imperative precludes any subjective pronoun.

    Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.