black friday cyber monday last chance to save 25% on all packages »

(1) Quand utiliser "de" après "pas d'autre" et avant verbe infinitif; (2) devoir v falloir

HarryC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

(1) Quand utiliser "de" après "pas d'autre" et avant verbe infinitif; (2) devoir v falloir

(1) Why is "de" used in the clause "nous n'avions pas d'autre choix que de succomber à" before "succomber"? When is it used this way?

(2) Is it permissible to write "nous devions aller visiter" instead of "il fallait que nous allions visiter" in this context? When must one or the other be used?

Asked 1 year ago
AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

I think Maarten is correct, and that explains why "de" is (presumably) required here, whereas in some other contexts (e.g. comparisons, as explained in the link below) it's optional.

http://bdl.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/bdl/gabarit_bdl.asp?id=3892

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

1) There is a specific lesson which addresses your questions: D'autres vs des autres = Others (indefinite adjectives)

2) You can, of course, say nous devions aller visiter. It is more personal and less of a general "one had to go visit..."

HarryC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

@Chris. Thanks for your reply.

(1) The lesson D'autres vs des autres = Others (indefinite adjectives) does not address my question, which concerns the use of "de" before an infinitive, for example in the clause "nous n'avions pas d'autre choix que de  succomber meaning "we had no other choice but/than to succumb". What is the rule for using "de" after "pas d'autre qqch que [de]"?

(2) Ok.

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Ah, now I get your question! The de before succombre is just a repetition of the de before autre choix. So it's there for the same reason as the first de.

HarryC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Ok, so why is it repeated? Surely the "de" (or "d'") before "autre" is associated with "autre". I'm still puzzled as to the correct construction of "no other ... but" in French. For example, "I have no desire other than (or but) to learn to speak French".

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I think this stems from the basic 'expression' being «avoir le choix de . . » - similar to English 'have the choice of . ." - the negation, the inclusion of d'autres (to modify choix) and the introduction of a restriction 'que' (but or than in English in this setting) doesn't change the use of «avoir le choix de + infinitive». 

HarryC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Ah, now I see. It's a kind of combination of "I have no other choice than of succumbing..." and "I have no other choice than to succumb...". Thank you, Maarten. And thanks for the informative link, Alan.

(1) Quand utiliser "de" après "pas d'autre" et avant verbe infinitif; (2) devoir v falloir

(1) Why is "de" used in the clause "nous n'avions pas d'autre choix que de succomber à" before "succomber"? When is it used this way?

(2) Is it permissible to write "nous devions aller visiter" instead of "il fallait que nous allions visiter" in this context? When must one or the other be used?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level
Thinking...