"Maybe we should think about it more."

Translation:Peut-être devrions-nous y réfléchir plus.

November 18, 2017

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Why does devrions come before nous in this sentence?


I was under the impression that this verb-pronoun construction took its form due to it being more of a suggestion (peut-être) but, although I could find many examples on sites such as Lingee, I could find none that confirmed the grammatical reasoning.

Therefore, I posted this question on the WordRef forum and was given this very clear response by a French native:

Peut-être here is an adverb which introduces an indirect interrogative statement, right ? So what you see after peut-être has the common form of an interrogation.

As you may know, "nous devrions" is ok for an interrogation, but only in direct form.

Therefore the indirect interrogative statement is « Peut-être devrions-nous .... »

EDIT - Additional information:
My thought that it was more of a "suggestion"was also supported :

I said:
"we should" was more along the line of a suggestion than a firm statement.

And another French poster responded:

You're right, here the present conditional + "peut-être" expresses politeness (conditionnel de politesse).

And again, another response:

When a sentence starts with ‘peut-être’ or ‘aussi’, (in the sense of ‘therefore’) the subject and the verb should be placed in reverse order. « Peut-être faudrait-il ... »


Your contribution to this exercise has been very helpful. Thanks RCG.


Have several lingots!


Your explanations are so detailed and easy to understand. Thank you for going to the trouble of finding out the reason for this reverse order. Most helpful.


Exactly. It is not a question, but a declarative sentence.


Not a question but it is an interrogatory statement.


Isn't "interrogatory statement" identical to "question"? It has no question mark, but apparently we're supposed to treat it as a question anyway?


Not really. For example a rhetorical is an interrogatory remark that requires no answer. It is simply a line of thought that requires greater thought input from the participants.


Apparently so, even though in English it's declarative.


my translate : "On devrait peut-être y réfléchir plus." is not accepted :(


I'm French and it's right :)


Duolingo is still not accepting « On devrait peut-être y réfléchir plus ». And still no satisfactory explanation!


Can't you use 'penser'


penser à = "to think about" in the sense of "to have in one's mind, to think of"
penser de = "to think about" in the sense of "to have an opinion about."

reflechir is very similar but means to consider, reflect, to think carefully about before coming to a conclusion.


But without context the sense could still be to have "it" in one's mind more, I would think. Hence, penser could be used?


I wouldn't think so (no pun intended ☺) as "to have in one's mind" is more like:
"Je pense à ma mère parce qu'elle me manque."
"I think about my mother because I miss her."


Why is the "que" in this sentence? My sentence was corrected to "Peut-être que ...."


When followed by a clause, peut-être requires either the relative pronoun que or inversion.


Peut-être qu’elle a oublié ses clés.
Peut-être a-t-elle oublié ses clés.
Peut-être qu’il est en vacances.
Peut-être est-il en vacances.

So in the exercise both these sentences are correct:

Peut-être devrions-nous y réfléchir plus.
Peut-être que nous devrions y réfléchir plus.

Also note that the same rule applies to sans doute (certainly)


Sans doute qu'il a faim. - No doubt he is hungry.
Sans doute a-t-il faim. - No doubt he is hungry.

[deactivated user]

    Think of it more as this : It could be THAT ...


    Why was this marked incorrect: Peut-être nous devrions y penser plus


    I believe with both of your constructions, you would need "que" after "peut-être" - in my humble opinion. Try it next time if you're up for a gamble....


    Why y not en ? And when should i use each one as a pronoun? I thought that y refer to a place, while en refer to an object!! Someone clarify this please ..


    It is the way it is expressed. eg "Je vais y réflechir" is an expression meaning "I am going to think about it".

    From: https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/how-to-use-the-pronoun-y-in-french

    The French Pronoun Y also Replaces A THING (never a person) introduced by “à, au, aux, à l’, à la”

    Je pense à mon travail = j’y pense

    Je rélféchis aux problèmes internationaux – j’y réfléchis

    The “à, au, aux, à la à l'” often comes from the verb meaning that this particular verb is going to be followed by “à”, and that is why you’d be using a “à” there. This is the case for my examples “penser à” and “réfléchir à”.

    Note than when a verb is followed by à + PERSON, you need to use an indirect verbs object pronoun (me, te, lui, nous, vous, leur):



    I think another thing to note is that penser is an intransitive verb yes? that is why there is à after it


    The translation that shows here is different than the one that appears as the correct answer in the exercise.


    Thanks for finding this out Kim :)


    Peut-être que nous devrions y réfléchir plus.


    I found this on WordRef:

    If you begin a sentence with "peut-être", you can either invert or add "que".
    - Peut-être ne sont-ils pas pas là.
    - Peut-être qu'ils ne sont pas là.

    If "peut-être" comes after the verb, neither inversion nor "que" is needed.
    - Ils ne sont peut-être pas là.

    As you have not inverted nous devrions "que" is required.

    Also, they are different parts of speech. peut-être is an adverbe, while peut-être que is a conjuctive phrase. See here


    wouldn't it be more correct to say «y réfléchir davantage» than «y réfléchir plus» ?


    Both are correct :) (I'm French)


    I am not a native (or even fluent) but I can't see why the sentence couldn't be expressed this way, though it is a rather formal. Was it rejected?


    Peut-on dire "Peut-être (que) nous devrions en penser plus"?


    en can replace "de + phrase" however penser de is to have an opinion of, eg
    "What do you think of this exhibition?" / "What do you think of it?
    "Que penses-tu de cette exposition ? " / "Qu'en pense-tu ? "

    However, the given sentence refers to "thing about", "giving thought to".
    Penser à = "to think about" in the sense of "to have in one's mind, to think of".

    reflechir à is very similar but means to consider, reflect, to think carefully about before coming to a conclusion.

    Note that réfléchir can never be followed by de.


    The english statement is construed as a question in the french. Where is the question mark?


    What is wrong with "Peut-être il nous faudrait y reflechir plus"


    I wrote the exact answer given above but was marked wrong. DL gave the "correct"answer as: Peut-être QUE devrions-nous y réfléchir plus. Where the heck did that QUE come from?


    Some really weird things are going on at the moment. It shouldn't have asked for que because if you begin a sentence with "peut-être", you can either invert OR add "que" - not both.

    It is discussed (in French) here:


    The English of this sentence did not come across as interrogative. If Duo wanted interrogative in French they should have included a question mark. Nevertheless, I will read up on this "peut-être" construction.


    Apparently, the inversion is the proper syntax with "peut-être" but it is not used with "Peut-être que ... ." Also, the inversion is used in written French, but not necessary in oral French.

    Source: http://bdl.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/bdl/gabarit_bdl.asp?id=3472


    "peut-être devrions nous y penser davantage" refused.

    But to think = penser.

    My sentence is quite correct in French, and I am French.


    Should "Nous devrions peut-être y penser plus" be accepted or does it sound bad in French?


    What's wrong with this -- Peut etre nous y devrions réfléchir plus! Because the given phrase sounds more like a statement rather than a question ( n + to that, there is no ? at the end!)


    Oops ! Je me suis trompe- -- y should come after devrions!


    J'appelle ça chipoter. En tant que française, je n'aurais assurément pas dit "réfléchir"...


    Please explain why "Peut-être nous devrions y réfléchir plus." marked WRONG. My answer should be accepted


    your proposed answer is incorrect. If you read the comments you will understand why it is incorrect.

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