"I do not think he has been prepared for that."

Translation:Je ne pense pas qu'il ait été préparé à cela.

September 27, 2017

This discussion is locked.


I agree it is a little odd but I think it makes sense in english if you think of it in terms of someone like a teacher or coach who should have prepared someone for an event and has failed to do so. However, my problem is that I don't get why we have a subjunctive of avoir in the present followed by two past participles. I accept that I'm rubbish at the subjunctive but I just don't get it. Also why not pour cela rather than à cela? Can anyone help?


In the negative, "croire" and "penser" prompt a subjunctive in the subordinate clause.

Again, this is in passive voice: "he has been prepared" has two past participles, just like "il ait été préparé".

And both "préparé à cela/ça" and "préparé pour cela/ça" are accepted.


Hello, is it just in the negative that penser and croire prompt the subjunctive? Thanks!


Yes, it is. Please read the Tip&Notes.


In the negative and also in questions :
Croyez-vous qu'il vienne ?
Que penses-tu qu'il fasse ?


This sentence sounds strange in English: in this sentence the action of preparation should either be in the past or the present: I don't think he is prepared for that or I don't think he was prepared for that


It is passive in French, so it has to be passive in English as well, because this clearly involves a third party, and the tense in both languages (passé composé/present perfect) expresses that the action started in the past and still has an influence in present (like: until now/so far).

Alternatively, you may consider the action as past and complete and translate "qu'il ait été préparé à cela" to "he was prepared for that".


This sentence made me wonder how "I did not hink he had been prepared for that" would be translated. "Je ne pensait pas qu'il eût preparé à cela" maybe? And is this something commonly used?


I did not think he had been prepared for that =

  • Je n'ai pas pensé / Je ne pensais pas qu'il eût été préparé pour/à ça (plus que parfait du subjonctif, passif).

However, since nobody uses the subjunctive imperfect or pluperfect nowadays, you would use the past subjunctive, passive instead: qu'il ait été préparé


Nobody? Aren't there some situations when you would need to use the subjunctive imperfect or pluperfect? If you use it, will people think it's weird?


Not "nobody", actually. Those who dare use these tenses in speech are rare and necessarily very well educated. If you did (and if everything else were correct), you would need a select audience to really appreciate the quality of your French.

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