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When to use subjunctive and when not to…

Richard M.C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

When to use subjunctive and when not to…

This may have been touched on already: 

Je ne comprends pas le temps que ça lui prend de se préparer !

…is cited as an example of when it’s not appropriate to use the subjunctive.. Fair enough, but why is it also included amongst those examples that do use the subjunctive? Is that an error or am I missing something?

 

 

 

 

Asked 10 months ago
CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Richard,

"le temps que ça prend de..." implies a fact ; therefore, you will use L'Indicatif. Also, it is not the exact same structure as "le temps que [subject pronoun: je/tu/il etc.] or [noun] + [verb]":

"le temps que ça (me/te/lui/etc.) prend de..." vs "le temps que je/tu/il/etc. [prenne/prennes/prenne/etc.] de..."

Take a look at a previous answer in this topic:

Is this correct?

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée 

AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour à tous !

First of all, thanks for another interesting topic :)

Here, though they look the same, we are indeed looking at 2 different structures:

1- "Le temps que je fasse quelque chose, tu..." = by the time...

- In such sentences (and our related lesson), "le temps que" acts as a fixed expression, similar to "pendant que" (=while) for example. This expression is always followed by Le Subjonctif.

2- "Je ne comprends pas le temps que ça lui prend de se préparer." 

- Here "le temps" is the object of "comprends" (What don't I understand? the time), and the relative clause introduced by "que" brings information of the sort of time we're talking about (i.e. the time that it takes her to get ready). Therefore you use L'Indicatif here, as we know for sure that it does take her that time.
Moreover, in this sentence, we could replace the term "temps" with another thing, like "attention" or "efforts", whereas the 1st expression is unchangeable.

I hope that's helpful!

Bonne journée à tous !

Jim J.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Bonjour Richard,

"Je ne comprends pas le temps que ça lui prend de se préparer !  I don't understand the time she takes to get ready!"

As I see it, it is a matter of context. If there were to be a sense of frustration or irritation then I can see a case for the subjunctive mood. However, if the sense is simply that of incredulity or inability to understand, then there is no emotion being expressed and the subjunctive mood is no longer appropriate.

Bonne journée

Jim

Richard D.C1Kwiziq community member

I agree with you Richard (good name btw), I've been getting confused as well. I think that if the English translation is best with "By the time" then the subjunctive is used because some doubt could be construed, whereas the example you cite translates with no element of uncertainty.

When to use subjunctive and when not to…

This may have been touched on already: 

Je ne comprends pas le temps que ça lui prend de se préparer !

…is cited as an example of when it’s not appropriate to use the subjunctive.. Fair enough, but why is it also included amongst those examples that do use the subjunctive? Is that an error or am I missing something?

 

 

 

 

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