Although = bien que + Le Subjonctif or même si + L'Indicatif

Just like in English with although and even if, you can express concession in French with two different expressions : bien que and même si.
BUT these two expressions won't be followed by the same tense mood.

Bien que + Le Subjonctif

Je suis en retard bien que je sois parti à l'heure.
I'm late even though I left on time.

Elle ne le fait pas, bien qu'elle le puisse.
She isn't doing it, although she can.

Bien que l'on ne s'entende pas, c'est quand même mon frère! 
Although we don't get along, he's still my brother!

Bien qu'il ne soit pas fatigué, il devrait aller se coucher.
Even though he is not tired, he should go to bed.

To say although in French, we use the expression bien que followed by a verb in Le Subjonctif.

ATTENTION:
Do not confuse bien que (although) with expressions using bien followed by que (that):

J'aimerais bien que tu fasses le petit-déjeuner.
I would like you to make breakfast.

-> Here it's the expression aimer bien (to like) followed by que.

 

Même si + L'Indicatif

Même s'il n'est pas fatigué, il devrait aller se coucher.
Even if he is not tired, he should go to bed.

Même si l'on ne s'entend pas, c'est quand même mon frère! 
Even if we don't get along, he's still my brother!

Même si je le voulais, elle ne me laisserait pas y aller.
Even if I wanted it, she wouldn't let me go.

Même si elle lui parlait, il ne changerait pas d'avis.
Even if she spoke to him, he wouldn't change his mind.

Même si means even if / even though, however it's always followed by a tense in L'Indicatif and never Le Subjonctif.

The difference between bien que + Le Subjonctif and même si + L'Indicatif is similar to the difference between although and even if, the first being more elegant and subtle than the latter.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Même si je le voulais, elle ne me laisserait pas y aller.
Even if I wanted it, she wouldn't let me go.


Bien que l'on ne s'entende pas, c'est quand même mon frère! 
Although we don't get along, he's still my brother!


Elle ne le fait pas, bien qu'elle le puisse.
She isn't doing it, although she can.


Même s'il n'est pas fatigué, il devrait aller se coucher.
Even if he is not tired, he should go to bed.


Même si l'on ne s'entend pas, c'est quand même mon frère! 
Even if we don't get along, he's still my brother!


Bien qu'il ne soit pas fatigué, il devrait aller se coucher.
Even though he is not tired, he should go to bed.


Même si elle lui parlait, il ne changerait pas d'avis.
Even if she spoke to him, he wouldn't change his mind.


Je suis en retard bien que je sois parti à l'heure.
I'm late even though I left on time.


Q&A Forum 15 questions, 26 answers

"Bien que l'on ne s'entende pas"

Is there a lesson that explains this use of l/le? I see it a lot, but I don't fully understand when it is needed and when it isn't needed. 

Asked 7 months ago
TomC1Correct answer

Hi Michelle,

L'on is an optional form of on and is used mainly in the literary domain after words ending in a vowel, notably single sylable words such as:  qui, que, ou, où, si, et, to aid euphony . It is never used after the word dont nor is it used before a word starting with 'l' to avoid the alliterative sound of two 'l's'

        si on loge chez moi... rather than  si l'on loge chez moi...

        où on l'avait vu rather than où l'on l'avait vu

In speech l'on is often used to avoid the sound of the vulgar homonym con in such phrases as:

Les toiles qu'on peut admirer au musée  which may be rendered as  Les toiles que l'on peut admirer au musée

Hope this helps,

Tom

 

In this case the "le" is purely phonetic. It is not a personal pronoun.

"Bien que l'on ne s'entende pas"

Is there a lesson that explains this use of l/le? I see it a lot, but I don't fully understand when it is needed and when it isn't needed. 

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bien que...grammar within this example

« bien qu’on ne s’entend pas, c’est quand même mon frère ».  this is not the right place to ask this question but the example is here!  

what is the rule that says « c’est quand même » instead of « il est quand même » mon frère?

Asked 9 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Marnie,

You cannot say in French for, it is/this is :

Il est mon frère, elle est ma sœur, elle est ma fille , il est mon oncle , elle  est Marie, il/elle est mon ami/e, il est mon prof. etc... 

you can only say:

c'est mon frère, c'est ma sœur , c'est ma fille, c'est mon oncle, c'est Marie, c'est mon copain/ma copine, c'est mon prof, etc.

Look at the following lesson :

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/when-to-use-cest-or-il-est-elle-est-to-say-it-is

There is still a lot of confusion about this and we are on it but in the meantime if you look at the Q&A section at the bottom of this lesson and in particular at our answers you might get a flavour of what is correct and not.

Hope this helps!

Mon dieu! What a discussion!  Glad you're on it...it's probably something that will come with listening and reading, becoming instinctive.

bien que...grammar within this example

« bien qu’on ne s’entend pas, c’est quand même mon frère ».  this is not the right place to ask this question but the example is here!  

what is the rule that says « c’est quand même » instead of « il est quand même » mon frère?

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Could you give an example of the “bien que” followed by and indicatif, as you mention in the warning?

Asked 9 months ago

Je sais bien que tu viens me voir demain. 

Here the bien is an adver to savoir and is distinct from the bien que meaning "although" and demanding the subjunctive. 

Could you give an example of the “bien que” followed by and indicatif, as you mention in the warning?

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Imparfait after subjunctive? Just use imparfait subjunctive?

I just took one of the writing quizzes and am confused by two grammar issues: using imparfait after "bien que". The sentence: "even though she had already been camping in this forest for a week.

1. I wrote: "Bien qu'elle campait déjà depuis une semaine dans cette forêt"  I assumed this is correct because we're saying "had already been" with depuis.  However, the correct answer was supposed to be, "Bien qu'elle campe déjà dans cette forêt depuis une semaine" ( I thought the present tense with "depuis" would mean "was or has been"camping).

2. Also, since the verb is after "bien que" should we use the subjunctive imparfait: compât ? "Bien qu'elle campât déjà depuis une semaine dans cette forêt"

Asked 1 year ago
Your second example, using the imperfect subjunctive, is given as one of the correct answers. But, like you, I don't understand why the present subjunctive is considered preferable.

From what I understand, the imperfect subjunctive is archaic and that is the reason it would be considered preferable to use the present subjunctive. 

I think you're probably correct.

Imparfait after subjunctive? Just use imparfait subjunctive?

I just took one of the writing quizzes and am confused by two grammar issues: using imparfait after "bien que". The sentence: "even though she had already been camping in this forest for a week.

1. I wrote: "Bien qu'elle campait déjà depuis une semaine dans cette forêt"  I assumed this is correct because we're saying "had already been" with depuis.  However, the correct answer was supposed to be, "Bien qu'elle campe déjà dans cette forêt depuis une semaine" ( I thought the present tense with "depuis" would mean "was or has been"camping).

2. Also, since the verb is after "bien que" should we use the subjunctive imparfait: compât ? "Bien qu'elle campât déjà depuis une semaine dans cette forêt"

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TomC1

Même si

Cannot "même si" be equally followed l'imparfait del'ndicatif as in:

Même s'il me le disait, je ne le croirais pas.

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Tom,

Yes of course you can use the imparfait after 'même si',  as in your example and the following one, 

"Même si je voulais le faire, je ne le ferais pas."

The point of the lesson is that it is a tense from the Indicative Mood and not the Subjunctive in the case of 'bien que'.

Hope this helps!

TomC1

Cécile, thanks for your helpful reply.

It's just that the lesson specifically states :

"Même si can also mean even if / even though, however it's always followed by Le Présent Indicatif and never Le Subjonctif."

which would seem to mandate only the use of Le Présent de l'Indicatif to the exlusion of other tenses of l'Indicatif.

Thanks again.

AurélieKwiziq language super star

Bonjour Tom !

Thanks very much for your feedback!

Indeed, the lesson needed to be updated as "même si" can be followed by any tense in L'Indicatif :)

It's now done!

Merci et bonne journée !

Même si

Cannot "même si" be equally followed l'imparfait del'ndicatif as in:

Même s'il me le disait, je ne le croirais pas.

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Puis-je utiliser le mot "quoique" dans cette phrase?

"Elle ne le fait pas, bien qu'elle le puisse."
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Donald !

Yes, here quoique is a synonym of bien que, and will also be followed by Le Subjonctif.

Elle ne le fait pas, bien qu'elle le puisse.
Elle ne le fait pas, quoiqu'elle le puisse.


À bientôt !
Merci Aurélie. Au fait, je me demandais où exactement que je trouverais les réponses à les questionnes que j'avais posé. Duh! J'en ai trouvé. Ou peut-être, j'ai fait un erreur et j'aurais dû écrire .

Puis-je utiliser le mot "quoique" dans cette phrase?

"Elle ne le fait pas, bien qu'elle le puisse."

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Verbs that are follewd by subjunctive

Asked 2 years ago
RonC1
Bonsoir Gillian, I believe that your question is about the use of le subjonctif. The subjonctif follows certain phrases and some verbs. The link below is for the Subjunctivisor here on this site: https://www.lawlessfrench.com/subjunctivisor/ It provides which phrases and which verbs require the use of le subjonctif, i.e. bien que, accepter que, etc. I think that you will find this link quite useful, I know that I have. It is a fantastic tool Best regards, Bonne chance,

Verbs that are follewd by subjunctive

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Puis-je utiliser le mot "quoique" ici?

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Donald ! Yes, as "quoique" and "bien que" are essentially synonyms, and both take Le Subjonctif! Thanks to you, I've now added it to possible alternate answers :) Merci et à bientôt !

Puis-je utiliser le mot "quoique" ici?

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Ne explétif

Are there cases where "ne explétif " is used with "bien que"?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Arash ! No, you never use the "ne explétif" with "bien que" :) Bonne journée !

Ne explétif

Are there cases where "ne explétif " is used with "bien que"?

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Le chien aboie bien qu' il n'y ________ personne."

Why does this not have être ?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Meghna ! Here you are using the expression "il y a" to say "there is", which in French uses the verb "avoir". Have a look at this lesson: Il y a = There is, There are À bientôt !

Le chien aboie bien qu' il n'y ________ personne."

Why does this not have être ?

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Identifying bien que not bien as an adjective

"Je l'aime bien qu'il soit un peu paresseux." - how can we identify here that the bien is part of bien que and not an adjective?
Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Belinda, It has to be "bien que" because otherwise the meaning is weird. If "bien" were an adverb here, it would break it down as Je l'aime bien = I like him qu'il soit un peu paresseux = a third person command: "may he be a bit lazy." Since that clearly makes no sense, we know that bien goes with the que. Does that make sense?
Hi Laura, Yes I thought you'd say that, but thought I would check. Cheers
For me, the problem of understanding the French sentence often lies in my reading the sentence too slowly. Take the sentence in question. If I read it slowly, I am liable to see "bien" by itself. However, reading it fast enough makes it (to me) clearly "bien qu'il", and the meaning is clear.

Identifying bien que not bien as an adjective

"Je l'aime bien qu'il soit un peu paresseux." - how can we identify here that the bien is part of bien que and not an adjective?

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AnnA2

"Meme s'il n'est pas fatigué, il devrait aller se coucher" Is it less correct to

to omit the "aller" and just say "il devrait se coucher" ?
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Ann ! Here the meaning is slightly different: "il devrait aller se coucher" means "he should go to bed", whereas "il devrait se coucher" means "he should lie down". À bientôt !

"Meme s'il n'est pas fatigué, il devrait aller se coucher" Is it less correct to

to omit the "aller" and just say "il devrait se coucher" ?

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Why not qu'on, as opposed to que l'on?

Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
They are both correct, but in formal French l'on is preferred for euphony - see https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/on-vs-lon/

Why not qu'on, as opposed to que l'on?

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Isn't the verb after même si in the example le conditionel présent?

Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star

Bonjour Michèle,

The verb after même si is est, the present tense of être. The verb later in the sentence is conditional, yes, but that's not connected to même si.

Thank you. I was trying to make a connection where there was not one. Merci.

Isn't the verb after même si in the example le conditionel présent?

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ainsi que

Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Magnus,
We have a lesson on "ainsi que" that you can see here:
https://www.french-test.com/revision/grammar/ainsi-que-as-well-as-as

Please let us know if you have further questions! A bientôt !
Merci, je le trouve.

ainsi que

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