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https://www.duolingo.com/Mizotte

Verbs subjunctive present: elle est la seule qui ait

Elle est la seule qui ait une voiture. (She is the only one who has a car.) I've been puzzling over the use of the subjunctive in this sentence. I wondered if the use of the subjunctive hinted at a little doubt or uncertainty in the French which doesn't come over in the English translation offered. Can anyone who understands this confirm this, or put me on the right track if I am wrong.

5 years ago

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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The nuance is very thin between 'la seule qui ait une voiture' (correct form) and 'la seule qui a une voiture' (often used, mostly by those who don't master subjunctive forms!). It is more a matter of conditional (if+) than doubt or uncertainty. It is the type of expression you use if you do not want to suggest any judgemental skew nor definitive statement. Am not sure I have been clear... let me know.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Remy
Remy
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Here is a good explanation to know which mode (indicative or subjunctive) you should use after expression such as "la seule qui" or "le seul qui":

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/ss/subjunctive_8.htm

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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If you say "c'est la seule qui ait une voiture', you may mentally add 'as far as I know', so it is a matter of how much you want to state or suggest something, how much you want to sound self-assured or careful... At the top of the article Remy suggested, there is an important mention : "it depends on how concrete the speaker feels about what is being said." I suspect the French being said to be more "direct" than Brits, their "précautions de langage" are less frequent. So, you might as often hear "c'est la seule qui a une voiture".

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Roytto

I wrote "She's the only one who would have a car" and Duolingo rejected that translation.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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"would have" is conditional and back translates to "la seule qui aurait une voiture".

2 years ago