When to use subjunctive

BrianC1Kwiziq community member

When to use subjunctive

Pourquoi on utilise le subjonctive avec cette phrase:

Ce sont les meilleures vacances qu'elle ait passées !

Mais pas avect celle-ci:

Ces chanteurs sont les pires que j'ai écoutés !

Je note l'explication qui suit: 

Therefore, Le Mode Indicatif can only be used in such cases where the sentence refers to established true facts or statements.

Asked 6 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Thank you for pointing this typo out, Brian.

It is a subjunctive and the missing -e has been added.

Bonne Continuation!

 

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Brian, the attached from Laura Lawless may help. See especially the introductory paragraphs and the final example regarding ‘the best restaurant …’. 

The first sentence quoted is a superlative statement of opinion regarding something that occurred to a 3rd person - the subjunctive indicates that there is ‘doubt’ the 3rd person would agree with the statement, that the speaker does not know “for certain” it was that person’s best holiday. 

The 2nd sentence is a statement of personal experience. The indicative here informs that the speaker is not seeking to be hyperbolic - not saying the singers are the ‘worst ever’, or the ‘worst in the world’. There is no doubt to the speaker that the singers are the worst he or she has personally heard - a statement of ‘fact’. Note that it also does not propose something like ‘the worst I will ever hear’.

It is the speaker who decides what is factual and what is doubtful - native speakers will generally therefore ‘choose’ appropriately between subjunctive and indicative to convey to the listener the nature of their statement, notwithstanding that in most situations the superlative ‘may’ give rise to the subjunctive, regardless of speaker.

https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/superlative-subjunctive/

 

 

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Cécile, do you disagree with Laura’s discussion ? It seems from her article, that the 2nd case could be either as it is the same structure as her final example. 

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Maarten, I don’t disagree with Laura’s argument but you can never be sure that these singers were the worst you have ever heard, you might have forgotten one or two.
In any case it was in the body of the lesson discussing the subjunctive so clearly just a typo.

 

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Thanks Cécile - missed the example in the lesson when I scanned. Context, context !

When to use subjunctive

Pourquoi on utilise le subjonctive avec cette phrase:

Ce sont les meilleures vacances qu'elle ait passées !

Mais pas avect celle-ci:

Ces chanteurs sont les pires que j'ai écoutés !

Je note l'explication qui suit: 

Therefore, Le Mode Indicatif can only be used in such cases where the sentence refers to established true facts or statements.

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
Getting that for you now...