Using 'espérér' + indicative/subjunctive

RobertC1Kwiziq community member

Using 'espérér' + indicative/subjunctive

Bonjour, 
I have a question about using the verb 'espérer' with indicative/subjuncitive.
In the Writing Challenge 'A sudden reappearance' (15/06/2018), the translation of 'To be honest, at first I hoped that it might be an hallucination...' is 'Pour être honnête, j'ai d'abord espéré que ce soit une hallucination...'
I would have thought that this is an affirmative statement and that we could say 'c'était une hallucination...' 

Asked 2 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Robert,

I can understand your confusion as these points are so instinctive to the French and rather tricky to explain.

In this case, you are right in thinking that you could have said -

....j'ai d'abord espéré que c'était un hallucinationI hoped, at first, that it was a hallucination

But I think the use of the subjunctive gives the following meaning -

At first, I hope that it might be a hallucination! 

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Robert,

I would have used the indicative as well. The verb espèrer uses the indicative when employed in a positive sense. But the particular example is maybe a bit deeper than that.

Aurélie or Cécile, can you please help us with this one?

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I ran that question past a French native speaker from Paris. She said that both versions (indicative and subjunctive) sound correcct to her, but the subjunctive was more elegant.

There you go. Just when you were looking for a nice, clear cut answer... :)

RobertC1Kwiziq community member

Hi Chris, 

Thanks for your help. I asked my girlfriend (French native, who doesn't usually like to be hassled by too many grammar questions lol!) and her response was more or less the same. 

So, I'm still a little confused. Not to worry!

Best regards. 

Using 'espérér' + indicative/subjunctive

Bonjour, 
I have a question about using the verb 'espérer' with indicative/subjuncitive.
In the Writing Challenge 'A sudden reappearance' (15/06/2018), the translation of 'To be honest, at first I hoped that it might be an hallucination...' is 'Pour être honnête, j'ai d'abord espéré que ce soit une hallucination...'
I would have thought that this is an affirmative statement and that we could say 'c'était une hallucination...' 

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