https://www.duolingo.com/ChipHarrel

Confusion on subjunctive

Trying to figure out why the subjunctive is required in one sentence below but not the other as they seem to conflict. The issue has been raised in the subject directly but I have not seen a response yet.

Imagine que tu as un cheval - no subjunctive required

Imaginez que vous ayez vingt ans - subjunctive required

Thanks in advance.

August 9, 2017

7 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Kangourex

For the 1st you can say both:

Imagine que tu aies un cheval

Imagine que tu as un cheval

For the second :

Imaginez que vous ayez vingt ans

Why ?

Because its impossible to be again 20 years. So we will use the subjunctive.

However, for the 1st sentence, according to the situation, having a horse can be completly possible (so indicative present), or impossible (so subjunctive).

August 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/jrikhal

Because its impossible to be again 20 years. So we will use the subjunctive.

I'd change this part for

Because:

  • if you aren't currently 20 years old, then it's impossible for you to be 20 years old now.
  • if you are currently 20 years old, then the sentence we'll not be said to you as one will not ask you to imagine that you are 20 if you indeed are 20.
August 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/jrikhal

Hi ChipHarrel,

if you could share the link to the discussion where "the issue has been raised in the subject directly", maybe Kangourex could share there their precious answer. ;)

August 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ChipHarrel

Not sure how to share the link. You can bring it up by typing the statement "Imaginez que vous ayez vingt ans" in the discussion search box. I am not sure Kangeroux's explanation for the difference satisfies this "english speaking" brain because in both instances one is "imagining" and that necessarily carries uncertainty, (if nothing else for someone who is not yet 20). Personally, I am as likely to have a horse as being 20 again.

August 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/jrikhal

Not sure how to share the link. You can bring it up by typing the statement "Imaginez que vous ayez vingt ans" in the discussion search box.

It brings two answers. ;)

(if nothing else for someone who is not yet 20

See my suggestion of changes in the explanation I just made to Kangourex.

Personally, I am as likely to have a horse as being 20 again.

The latter is just impossible (once you passed it) while the former isn't impossible at worst highly unlikely for you, but not impossible.

August 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ChipHarrel

I appreciate your responses. Hopefully I will grasp the concept. Would imagine que tu aies raison (another question in this section) also require the subjunctive or would the indicatif be possible there as well? I understand that when "que" is used in a clause, the subjunctive may/may not be required. If I recall correctly, most often it is when the subjects in the two clauses differ. However, here they do not. Is there anything, other than memorization/guessing, to help one know (other than the 70% guideline) when to use the subjunctive? I have a similar question on the conditional. I know it is used with verbs of appreciation etc. but haven't a clue as to how often french speakers actually use it. While I would like to use it when appropriate, I don't want to over use it either. Are there any tips you can give me? Finally, with respect to the future tense, how often is it used (as opposed to using aller ___)? It seems other than immediate situations the two forms are almost interchangeable. Sorry for so many questions....

August 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Multi0Lingual4

I might be just be talking nonsense here, but perhaps it's that #1 is more likely than #2? Or that you can use both with #1?

From: https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/understanding-french-subjunctive

"Over 70% chance of the action becoming a reality = Indicative in French. If there is under 70% chance of the action becoming a reality = Subjunctive in French."

August 9, 2017
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