Why isn't "souffrir" conjugated?

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Lynne

Kwiziq community member

12 February 2018

12 replies

Why isn't "souffrir" conjugated?

"Parce qu'on voit les gens souffrir"

This question relates to:
French lesson "Translating the -ing form of verbs with L'Infinitif (not -ant)"

Chris

Kwiziq community member

12 February 2018

12/02/18

Can you provide an example?

William

Kwiziq community member

12 February 2018

12/02/18

Isn't "parce qu'on voit les gens souffrir" the example?

William

Kwiziq community member

12 February 2018

12/02/18

Isn't "parce qu'on voit les gens souffrir" the example?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

12 February 2018

12/02/18

Oh, silly me, I must have missed themsecomd line. Sorry. 

The point of this lesson is to demonstrate the use of the infinitive for some continuous form constructions in English. In the example you cite, "voit" is the verb and "souffrir" is the infinitive (sufferING). 

Parce qu'on voit les gens souffrir. -- Because one sees the people suffering. 

-- Chris (not a native speaker). 

William

Kwiziq community member

12 February 2018

12/02/18

That is what I thought. So instead of "La fille qui joue du piano est mon amie" Could I use "La fille jouer du piano est mon amie"

Chris

Kwiziq community member

13 February 2018

13/02/18

No, that would be incorrect. It isn't that the French infinitive simply corresponds to the English present continuous form. Rather, the French present tense can often times also be translated as present continuous in English.

The girl who plays the piano is my friend. -- La fille qui joue du piano est mon amie.
The girl playing the piano is my friend. -- La fille en jouant du piano est mon amie. (you'd need a gerundive in French)

But to demonstrate it in a simpler sentence:

La fille joue du piano -- The girl plays piano. And also: The girl is playing the piano.

The problem is that in English the gerundive of a verb is identical with the "-ing" form.

The girl playing the piano. -- Here "playing" is the gerundive.
The girl is playing the piano. -- Here "playing" is present continuous tense.

I don't know if that makes it any clearer, though....

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

William

Kwiziq community member

14 February 2018

14/02/18

Yes, it does make it a little clearer. Thanks! Can I ask another question? Is "jouant" ever used by itself without "en"?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

14 February 2018

14/02/18

Without the "en", you have yourself a present participle. It is less frequently used than its counterpart in English but it is being used.

Elle est partie, oubliant ses clefs. -- She left, forgetting her keys.
Elle est partie en oubliant ses clefs. -- (sounds silly) She left by/while forgetting her keys.

Most often, the present participle is used as an adjective: charmant, intéressant, courant, stressant, etc.

In this context, it is useful to note the change in meaning between the following pairs of adjectives:

stressant -- stressé: stressing (stressful) -- stressing
intéressant -- intéressé: interesting -- interested

Greetings, -- Chris (not a native speaker).

William

Kwiziq community member

14 February 2018

14/02/18

Thanks your your help, the two sentences about keys illustrates the differences. Thanks again! Cheers!

Alan

Kwiziq community member

14 February 2018

14/02/18

" La fille en jouant du piano est mon amie" sounds odd to me. Are you sure it's possible to say this?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

15 February 2018

15/02/18

It sounds pretty stilted to my ears but it would be grammatically correct. You'd never hear it said, though, I believe. 

-- Chris. 

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

29 August 2018

29/08/18

If I may just add :

You cannot say, "la fille en jouant du piano..." only, "la fille qui joue du piano s'appelle Sylvie".

To answer Lynne's original question , the verb 'souffrir' is in the infinitive because of the rule:

When 2 verbs follow each other the second one is in the infinitive.

e.g.

Je vais la voir jouer du piano demain = I am going to see her play the piano tomorrow

J'ai vu la maison brûler I saw the house burn/on fire

Hope this helps!

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