Past or present subjunctive

NickB2Kwiziq community member

Past or present subjunctive

"Bien que Mateo sache déjà ce qu'il allait étudier à l'université," / "Although Mateo already knew what he was going to study at university,"

For this sentence I used the subjunctive past tense ""Bien que Mateo ait déjà su ce qu'il allait étudier à l'université," which is obviously not correct, but please can someone explain why? I assume it's because him knowing is not a single event in the past so the present subjunctive is the only alternative?

Nick

Asked 1 month ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

There are two actions happening: (1) Mateo knowing what he wants to study, and (2) His having trouble choosing. Since there is no emphasis on (1) happening distinctly prior to (2) beginning, you use the subjunctive in present tense.

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Nick,

Have a look here:-

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/search?s=Bien+que

I think it will help you.

Jim

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

You use le subjonctif passé when the first action is completed before the second action starts. In particular, when you want to stress that one action happened before the other. In the sentence you quote, this is apparently not the case, whence le subjonctif présent. Note that the piece you quote is actually not enough to say this with certainty. Some more context would be required.

ThaliaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I did the same think as Nick and translated it to subjunctive past tense. I'm still confused why the correct answer is the subjunctive present tense.
The full sentence reads, "Bien que Mateo sache déjà ce qu'il allait étudier à l'université, il avait beaucoup de mal à choisir le pays dans lequel il passerait les trois prochaines années."

Past or present subjunctive

"Bien que Mateo sache déjà ce qu'il allait étudier à l'université," / "Although Mateo already knew what he was going to study at university,"

For this sentence I used the subjunctive past tense ""Bien que Mateo ait déjà su ce qu'il allait étudier à l'université," which is obviously not correct, but please can someone explain why? I assume it's because him knowing is not a single event in the past so the present subjunctive is the only alternative?

Nick

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