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Use of "avoir à" meaning "have to"

HarryC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Use of "avoir à" meaning "have to"

The translation of "In case you've never had to..." in the exercise is "Juste au cas où vous n'auriez jamais eu..." But surely "have had to" in this context is the future perfect of "must", and should be translated in French using the verb "devoir": "Juste au cas où vous n'auriez jamais dû..."?

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

Au cas où vous n'auriez jamais eu à gérer ce genre de situation. -- In case you have never had to deal with that kind of situation.

This is an interesting and very French way saying this: avoir à gérer qqc. -- to have to deal with something. The phrase is cast in past conditional in this example, because of au cas où demanding the conditional. There are, of course, many ways to express the same meaning. For example:

Au cas où vous n'auriez jamais dû vous occuper de ce genre de situation.

This may be closer to what you would have said. But I think the answer provided is a great opportunity to add a new phrase and variation to your phrase book.

P.S.: "have had to" is not future perfect, it is present perfect tense. Future perfect would be "will have had to".

HarryC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

@Chris: Thanks for the advice and for correcting my tense error.

I've not come across "avoir à" to mean "have to" before. I would always use "devoir". Can "avoir à" be followed by any verb, as in English?

Use of "avoir à" meaning "have to"

The translation of "In case you've never had to..." in the exercise is "Juste au cas où vous n'auriez jamais eu..." But surely "have had to" in this context is the future perfect of "must", and should be translated in French using the verb "devoir": "Juste au cas où vous n'auriez jamais dû..."?

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