Quel et le sujet ?

LynnetteC1Kwiziq community member

Quel et le sujet ?

"Son nom lui venait de sa peau diaphane que complimentaient des lèvres rouges comme le sang et de magnifiques cheveux d'ébène."


Why is the sujet not sa peau ?

why is "complimentaient" conjugated for des lèvres et cheveux as the subject ?  

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Lynnette, 

This is a classic inversion of subject and verb which is often used for stylistic purposes.

The subject is 'des lèvres rouges'.

Her diaphanous skin was complimented (enhanced) by red lips ...

Hope this helps 

LynnetteC1Kwiziq community member
I understand that des lèvres rouges could be "complimenting", but this is a bit awkward.
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

It may sound unfamiliar but it is a very good French of a higher register.

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

‘Complementing’ in English, not complimenting. Although the difference is often not recognised nowadays in English. 

When you see a relative clause with “que -verb”, think inversion. It is only awkward because we are not native speakers and not used to it. Although native speakers do not regularly speak like this, they have all been exposed to the language of Molière in their education. 

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Lynette, 

Thanks for correcting me it should have been 'complimented' and not 'complemented' to respect the author's prose.

It did not change the meaning, in my opinion both verbs could have been used but I have corrected my error.

Quel et le sujet ?

"Son nom lui venait de sa peau diaphane que complimentaient des lèvres rouges comme le sang et de magnifiques cheveux d'ébène."


Why is the sujet not sa peau ?

why is "complimentaient" conjugated for des lèvres et cheveux as the subject ?  

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