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"She does not think she has read my book."

Translation:Elle ne croit pas avoir lu mon livre.

April 18, 2018

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SiobanSnyd

Why not any of these:

"Elle ne pense pas qu'elle a lu mon livre."

"Elle ne pense pas avoir lu mon livre."

"Elle ne croit pas qu'elle a lu mon livre."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MishaLavrov

Is this a case where the subjunctive "...qu'elle ait lu mon livre" would be appropriate?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/georgeoftruth

It would not be appropriate because both clauses have the same subject: "elle."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pakjim

If I were to try to que a que clause, it would be subjunctive because of the doubt element. But I don't understand why the que + subjunctive isn't replace by d' + avoir. Where is the d'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/georgeoftruth

The "que" to "de" transition is used not with verbs that trigger the subjunctive, but with adjectives that trigger the subjunctive. If replacing the "que" when there is a verb, it depends on whether the verb itself requires a preposition to introduce an infinitive. Examples:

  • être content que → être content de
  • ne croit pas que + subject + verb → ne croit pas + infinitive

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pakjim

Thank you. I will review this with that perspective.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SnarfSnarf123

I don't understand why avoir is used here. I thought she hasn't read my book is "Elle n'a pas lu mon livre" so I'm not clear why "she has" in this sentence ends up as avoir. I also don't understand why croire would be used here over penser. In English I would say "She doesn't think she has read my book" and "She doesn't believe she has read my book" are largely equivalent with perhaps the second sentence sounding more formal or posh. I can imagine the Queen saying "I don't believe I have read that book" whereas I'd always use think.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SiobanSnyd

From what I've seen French speakers tend to use "je crois" more often than English speakers use "I believe". And, there are many statements where "I think" would usually translate to "je crois".

There is a little bit of an inversion. In English we tend to inflect and stretch out "I believe" to express a fact that we think but do not necessarily know is true: In French, "Je crois" is the more definite statement.

So for statements of factual belief, use "je crois". If you completely disagree with someone and say "I think you are wrong" it would probably translate to "Je crois que vous avez tort." (to emphasize your belief in the facts involved).

The way that "avoir" is used in this sentence is a dual verb structure that is common in French, but not available in English (without adding a secondary subject). This dual verb structure can be built with many semi-auxiliary verbs like devoir, espérer, vouloir, penser, etc., or croire.

So you will see sentences like: "Il pense avoir gagné." --> "He thinks he won"

"Je dois partir" --> "I have to leave"

"On pense aller à la plage " --> "We think we'll go to the beach." (or "we plan on going to the beach")

And "Elle ne croit pas avoir lu mon livre"

I think that the standard passé composé structure ( "Elle ne croit pas qu'elle a lu mon livre") is valid grammatically. It is just not necessarily how the French would state this idea.

But... as you can see from my post at the top of this discussion, I'm not sure. I'd like a native francophone's input on why these phrases aren't accepted for this exercise:

"Elle ne pense pas qu'elle a lu mon livre."

"Elle ne pense pas avoir lu mon livre."

"Elle ne croit pas qu'elle a lu mon livre."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/georgeoftruth

FYI, those last three sentences are all accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SiobanSnyd

Good :)

They weren't when I made the original comment 10 months ago.

I'm just wondering. Does the "Elle ne croit pas avoir.." sound more natural or maybe less formal than the other structures? Or do any of the four sound too much like an American trying to speak French?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/georgeoftruth

Using "avoir" here is more common and natural to the French speaker. I don't think there's a difference in formality. They're all fine really, but the structure with "que" is less common.

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