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Help with subjunctive French please! Two questions on the hints and tips.

This is a duplicate of the post I put in the Duolingo in English by mistake. Unfortunately I really seem sufficiently IT challenged to fail to change it to the correct forum. So please excuse the duplicate.

At last I think I nearly understand the tips and hints in subjunctive French although I have not yet learnt them.

I do have a question though and would be grateful if someone could answer.

In the table at the end of the subjunctive past conjugation I would like to know how to translate a sentence with the main clause in the present and the subordinate clause in the past.

For instance how does one translate 'I do not believe that she was ill (last week). Here 'I do not believe' is present indicative negative croire so I assume 'that she was ill' (past) needs to be in the subjunctive according to the rule that croire in the negative needs subjunctive following, but what tense please?

Just another query on word order. The very last row of the table has 'je doutais que tu aies mangé assez'. Somehow that sounds strange to me and for no reason that I can discern 'je doutais que tu aies assez mangé' 'feels' better to me. Are they both correct?

Thanks for your answers.

January 1, 2018



Lrtward has kindly deleted the other post for me, and I hope will be able to transpose a helpful reply by Michael.Lubetsky into this discussion. Sorry for messing up due to my ineptitude. Happy New Year!


Anne, you might want to correct the title of your thread (and a couple of other references) from the "subjective" to the "subjunctive" as this might catch the eye of someone who can help.


Wow, thanks! Probably my mistake, but almost as likely to be my tablet choosing words for me again. Would you like to be my proof-reader? I can only pay in lingots. What is the going rate? Have one for now anyway until we get a contract.

Edited my OP. I hope this gets some answers as even Michael.Lubetsky was not sure of his answer and wanted a native French speaker to confirm what he said.


I was confused at first too ☺ No contract needed - it's a freeby ! ☺


OK. Now I have my answer to the first part of my question. I have done another strenthen of the subjunctive past and got the sentence

Il semble qu'elle ait été malade

this is present in main clause and past in subjunctive. The construction is not included in the hints and tips table, so I will add it to my own copy.

Still would like an answer to my second question in the post. Thanks.


Do you mean je doutais que tu aies mangé assez.

It is a bit confusing as short adverbs that modify a verb usually follow the conjugated verb (as you suggested with your interpretation) but here it follows the past participle. As far as I can see, both lead to the same translation but it would be nice to have a native speaker confirm this,


yes, that's the sentence. Let's wait to see if a native speaker jumps in.

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