Attendre quelqu'un vs s'attendre à quelque chose = to wait vs to expect

It is interesting to notice the difference of meaning and usage between the active verb attendre (to wait for / to expect) and the reflexive verb s'attendre à (to expect).

To understand their respective usage, it's important to consider the nuances of the English verb to expect: It can mean either simply to wait for [something/someone], but it can also carry a sense of longing, personal expectation towards what's going to happen.

Look at these two sentences:

Ils attendent son arrivée d'une minute à l'autre.
They're waiting for him to arrive any minute now.
[Lit. They're waiting for his arrival.]

 -> Here they're simply stating they're waiting for his arrival, if anything they're actually happy he's coming.

Ils s'attendent à son arrivée d'une minute à l'autre.
They're expecting him to arrive any minute now.
[Lit. They're expecting his arrival.]

 -> Here on the other hand, there's expectation for what his arrival might do, here it's actually apprehension, a slight sense of discomfort or fear at the idea of his arrival.

attendre [quelqu'un] ou [quelque chose]  
=  to expect / to wait for [someone] or [something] 

J'attends mon frère tous les jours à la même heure.
I wait for my brother every day at the same time.

Note that the verb attendre is NOT followed by a preposition in French, and is used with direct object pronouns (le, la, les, nous, vous, me, te).


Attendre can also mean to expect [someone]/[something] in a neutral or positive sense.

Elle les attendra près de la fontaine.
She'll wait for them by the fountain.

Tu l'attends encore ?
Are you still waiting for him/her ?


ATTENTION: when talking about pregnancy, you use attendre:

Nous attendons un heureux événement.
We're expecting.
[Lit. We're waiting for a happy event.]

Ma sœur attend un bébé.
My sister is expecting.
[Lit. My sister is waiting for a baby.]

 

attendre [quelque chose] de [quelqu'un]   
=  to expect [something] of [someone] 

J'attends plus de mes parents.
I expect more of my parents.

On attendait mieux de vous.
We expected better of you.

Elle n'attend pas grand-chose de lui.
She doesn't expect much of him.

Note that the preposition de would be followed by stress pronouns (moi, toi ...) to express of me, you....

 

s'attendre à [quelque chose]  
=  to expect [something] (to happen) 

On s'attend à tout de sa part.
We expect anything from him.

Tu t'attends toujours au pire.
You always expect the worst.

Les marchés s'attendent à une hausse de l'inflation.
The markets expect a rise of inflation.

To say to expect something in the sense of putting expectations on what follows, you will use the reflexive verb s'attendre à + [something].

Note that s'attendre à is often (but not always!) used for negative expectations (i.e. I expect bad consequences).

ATTENTION:
You cannot use s'attendre + a person to say to expect someone.
You will instead use the simple attendre or a longer sentence (e.g., to expect to see someone):

Nous ne nous attendions pas à te voir.
We didn't expect you.
[We didn't expect to see you.]

To avoid repetition, you can use the adverbial pronoun y (à + noun).

Je ne m'y attendais pas.
I didn't expect it.

 

attendre que + Subjonctif clause
= to wait for [something to happen] / [someone] to do [something]

Il attend que je fasse le dîner.
He's waiting for me to make dinner.

Nous avons attendu que ça s'arrête.
We waited for it to stop.

This structure is used when you wait for [someone/something else] to do something. Here the waiting is neutral, carrying no connotation of dread or expectation. 

You use the simple form attendre + que + person doing + verb in Le Subjonctif 

s'attendre à ce que + Subjonctif clause 
=  to expect (dread) [something to happen] / [someone] doing [something] 

Je m'attendais à ce que tu me demandes en mariage.
I was expecting you to propose to me.

Il ne s'attendait pas à ce que nous venions.
He didn't expect us to come.

Je m'attends toujours à ce qu'il annule.
I always expect him to cancel.

 

This more complex structure is used when you expect someone/something else to do something
Here the waiting is coloured by personal expectations, usually negative ones.

You use the reflexive form s'attendre + à ce que + [person doing] + verb in Le Subjonctif

See also Conjugate regular verbs in Le Subjonctif Présent (subjunctive mood) 

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Il ne s'attendait pas à ce que nous venions.
He didn't expect us to come.


On attendait mieux de vous.
We expected better of you.


On s'attend à tout de sa part.
We expect anything from him.


Nous ne nous attendions pas à te voir.
We didn't expect you.
[We didn't expect to see you.]


J'attends plus de mes parents.
I expect more of my parents.


Je ne m'y attendais pas.
I didn't expect it.


Tu t'attends toujours au pire.
You always expect the worst.


J'attends mon frère tous les jours à la même heure.
I wait for my brother every day at the same time.


Nous avons attendu que ça s'arrête.
We waited for it to stop.


Tu l'attends encore ?
Are you still waiting for him/her ?


Ils s'attendent à son arrivée d'une minute à l'autre.
They're expecting him to arrive any minute now.
[Lit. They're expecting his arrival.]


Les marchés s'attendent à une hausse de l'inflation.
The markets expect a rise of inflation.


Il a attendu Yvette pendant trois heures.
He waited for Yvette for three hours.


Il attend que je fasse le dîner.
He's waiting for me to make dinner.


Elle les attendra près de la fontaine.
She'll wait for them by the fountain.


Ma sœur attend un bébé.
My sister is expecting.
[Lit. My sister is waiting for a baby.]


Ils attendent son arrivée d'une minute à l'autre.
They're waiting for him to arrive any minute now.
[Lit. They're waiting for his arrival.]


Je m'attends toujours à ce qu'il annule.
I always expect him to cancel.


Je m'attendais à ce que tu me demandes en mariage.
I was expecting you to propose to me.


Nous attendons un heureux événement.
We're expecting.
[Lit. We're waiting for a happy event.]


Elle n'attend pas grand-chose de lui.
She doesn't expect much of him.


Q&A Forum 26 questions, 44 answers

DennisC1Kwiziq community member

attendre vs s'attendre

The question was: What can this mean? "Simon m'attend a la gare"?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The following  were given as correct:

1). Simon is waiting for me at the station. (I agree)

2). Simon is expecting me at the station.  (I don't understand)

With the exception of "expecting a baby" I thought "expecting" was expressed via s'attendre (ie. reflexive)

Surely there would have to be a reflexive pronoun in the sentence for 2). to be true?

Asked 2 weeks ago
AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

There is not much difference in meaning between "waiting for me" or "expecting me", so they would be expressed the same way in French.

Your question is addressed specifically in the lesson as follows:

ATTENTION:
You cannot use s'attendre + a person to say to expect someone.
You will instead use the simple attendre or a longer sentence (e.g., to expect to see someone):

Nous ne nous attendions pas à te voir.

attendre vs s'attendre

The question was: What can this mean? "Simon m'attend a la gare"?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The following  were given as correct:

1). Simon is waiting for me at the station. (I agree)

2). Simon is expecting me at the station.  (I don't understand)

With the exception of "expecting a baby" I thought "expecting" was expressed via s'attendre (ie. reflexive)

Surely there would have to be a reflexive pronoun in the sentence for 2). to be true?

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RobC1Kwiziq community member

Use of attendre to mean expect

I am having trouble reconciling the 'correct' answer to the test question with the lesson. Specifically, below is the question and correct answer according to the program, but this use of 'attend un garçon' meaning 'expecting' does not seem to reflect the lesson. What do I have wrong?

"Cette infirmière attend un garçon." can mean:This nurse is expecting a boy.This nurse is waiting for a boy.
Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Rob, 

In the example you give 'attendre' means both to wait and to expect and we would need more context to determine which one is correct -

Cette infirmière attend un garçon ( qui va naître vers la fin du mois)

or 

Cette infirmière attend un garçon ( qui va la ramener chez elle ) 

But I would probably lean towards the first one!

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

To expect in general means "s'attendre", EXCEPT, as noted in the lesson:
ATTENTION: when talking about pregnancy, you use attendre:

Use of attendre to mean expect

I am having trouble reconciling the 'correct' answer to the test question with the lesson. Specifically, below is the question and correct answer according to the program, but this use of 'attend un garçon' meaning 'expecting' does not seem to reflect the lesson. What do I have wrong?

"Cette infirmière attend un garçon." can mean:This nurse is expecting a boy.This nurse is waiting for a boy.

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KazukoB2Kwiziq community member

La verbe pronominal - s’aller

Quelle est la différence entre “Je vais” et “Je m’en vais”?

Asked 5 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Je vais is simply "I go" or "I'm going" but not in the sense of leaving somewhere.

Je m'en vais is an idiomatic phrase for "I'm leaving."

La verbe pronominal - s’aller

Quelle est la différence entre “Je vais” et “Je m’en vais”?

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GC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Could someone please explain why my answer is wrong?

Question: Vous _______ le bus arrive.

My answer: Vous attendez le bus arrive.

I just don't understand why it's wrong.

The correct answer is:

Vous attendez que le bus arrive.

Asked 6 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

It is wrong because you have two different subjects in the sentence: vous and le bus. In these cases you always need que.

GC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thank you. A helpful clue as to the workings of this verb.

I just cannot seem to get my head around this topic no matter how many times I review it.

Could someone please explain why my answer is wrong?

Question: Vous _______ le bus arrive.

My answer: Vous attendez le bus arrive.

I just don't understand why it's wrong.

The correct answer is:

Vous attendez que le bus arrive.

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BillC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Attendre jusqu'à ce que...?

Can one use the construction attendre jusqu'à ce que..?

for example if i wanted to say i'm waiting until i am ready, could i say

j'attends jusqu'à ce que je sois prêt 

or would I just say

j'attends que je sois prêt.

Merci.

Asked 11 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Bill,

You could say:

either -

J'attends jusqu'à ce que je sois prêt

or 

J'attends d''être prêt

Hope this helps!

BillC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Merci!  Very helpful

Attendre jusqu'à ce que...?

Can one use the construction attendre jusqu'à ce que..?

for example if i wanted to say i'm waiting until i am ready, could i say

j'attends jusqu'à ce que je sois prêt 

or would I just say

j'attends que je sois prêt.

Merci.

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MichaelC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

attendre vs. sáttendre à

In one of the 10 question quizzes:

How would you say "Alain expected this situation to resolve itself." ?

J'ai repondu "Alain attendait que cette situation se résolve d'elle-même."

Mais la réponse correcte était: "Alain s'attendait à ce que cette situation se résolve d'elle-même."

Pourquoi? Où est la sense de souci ? L'anglais etait "expected this situation to resolve itself" qui indique une manque de souci.

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Michael,

1. Alain attendait que cette situation se résolve d'elle même Alain was waiting for this situation to resolve itself 

2. Alain s'attendait à ce que cette situation se résolve d'elle même = Alain was expecting  this situation to resolve itself

The two sentences have different meanings and implications -

In the first one, it implies that Alain would wait before he intervened.

In the second one, it implies he would not need to do anything as he fully expected it to be resolved by itself.

Hope this helps!

attendre vs. sáttendre à

In one of the 10 question quizzes:

How would you say "Alain expected this situation to resolve itself." ?

J'ai repondu "Alain attendait que cette situation se résolve d'elle-même."

Mais la réponse correcte était: "Alain s'attendait à ce que cette situation se résolve d'elle-même."

Pourquoi? Où est la sense de souci ? L'anglais etait "expected this situation to resolve itself" qui indique une manque de souci.

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DianeC1Kwiziq community member

s'attendre a ce que

Could you please explain on this page why the above expression is used?
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Diane,

'Attendre quelqu'un/quelque chose' is simply to 'wait for someone/something':

J'attends qu'il parte et j'arrive =  I am waiting for him to leave and I come

J'attends Brigitte à la gare I am waiting for Brigitte at the station

Nous attendons leur réponse avec impatience = We are waiting impatiently for their answer  

'S'attendre à quelque chose'  is 'to expect something':

Je m'attends à ce que ce soit une réponse négative = I am expecting a negative answer

Ne t'attends pas à ce qu'il soit heureux de ta visite Don't expect him to be happy with your visit

Please note that 'attendre que' and 's'attendre à ce que' is followed by the subjunctive in French and is explained in the lesson.

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

J'attends  Anne. -- I wait for Anne.
Je m'attends à ce qu'Anne viennes. -- I expect that Anne arrives.

S'attendre à ce que... -- to expect that...

s'attendre a ce que

Could you please explain on this page why the above expression is used?

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EricC1Kwiziq community member

confusion over s'attendre à ce que

I am currently reading a book, "Comment avoir une orthographe qui mène au succès", written by Pr Robert Tocquet.  He claims s'attendre à ce que is not correct, rather it is a barbarism.  Here is what he wrote: S'attendre, consentir à ce que. (S'attendre, consentir que.)
Il y a quatre verbes qui se construisent avec que (et non à ce que) : aimer, s’attendre, consentir et demander.

You can download for free a copy of this great book here:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4bdN-sQj8mOU1ZSYXB0aGVSVDQ/edit

However, any comments from the Kwiziq community about this.

Asked 1 year ago
TomC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

The 9th edition  of the dictionary of L’Académie française gives the following definition of s’attendre à :  S'attendre à, escompter, tenir quelque chose pour probable ou assuré, (i.e. to expect).

It gives the same definition for s’attendre que, noting that this a more elegant literary use and  further indicates that s’attendre que takes the indicative in the affirmative but the subjunctive in the negative.

Unfortunately the dictionary has nothing to say on s’attendre à ce que but I did find this usage in the declaration issued by the Académie entitled, “Feminisation des titres et des fonctions” dated 14 June 1984 by Georges Dumézil et Claude Lévi-Strauss which contains the following sentence : “On peut s’attendre à ce que d’autres créations non moins artificielles subissent le même sort, et que le résultat aille directement à l’encontre du but visé. »

This would lead me to believe that the phrase is neither a « barabarism » nor is its use deprecated.

Furthermore, CNRTL offers the following :  [Certain dictionaries]… « discutent du degré d'inélégance de s'attendre que et s'attendre à ce que. L'un et l'autre sont corrects; le 1erest prôné par les puristes, le second s'emploie plus couramment. »

Although these august bodies have nothing against s'attendre à ce que it would seem that the battle still rages in some sections of the intelligentsia.

Hope this helps,

Tom

confusion over s'attendre à ce que

I am currently reading a book, "Comment avoir une orthographe qui mène au succès", written by Pr Robert Tocquet.  He claims s'attendre à ce que is not correct, rather it is a barbarism.  Here is what he wrote: S'attendre, consentir à ce que. (S'attendre, consentir que.)
Il y a quatre verbes qui se construisent avec que (et non à ce que) : aimer, s’attendre, consentir et demander.

You can download for free a copy of this great book here:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4bdN-sQj8mOU1ZSYXB0aGVSVDQ/edit

However, any comments from the Kwiziq community about this.

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Theresa-MarieB2Kwiziq community member

There are so many variances in relation to this verb, I suggest tests be made that cover JUST the nuances herein.

Asked 1 year ago
ScottC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I am struggling with this lesson a bit. I think one problem is that it's too "fat". My feeling is that it covers about twice the material of most other lessons. Due to the complexity, I would suggest breaking it up into three pieces:  "attendre", "s'attendre", and "attendre vs s'attendre". It would be easier to digest - for me at least.

regards, Scott

Theresa-MarieB2Kwiziq community member
Agreed!
CharlesC1Kwiziq community member

Perhaps this lesson would be easier if it was laid out in the following order (ordered by change in meaning):

Attendre [qqn]/[qch] - to wait for (get rid of the « expecting » in the translation and just mention in brackets at the end of this part that it is used in relation to pregnancy)

Attendre que + subjonctif - to wait for

Attendre [qch] de [qqn] - expect

S’attendre à [qch] - expect (negative)

S’attendre à ce que + subjonctif - expect (dread)

There are so many variances in relation to this verb, I suggest tests be made that cover JUST the nuances herein.

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PaulC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Muriel is expecting.

In this quiz "Muriel is expecting" can only be translated as "Muriel attend un bébé". Can you please explain why "Muriel attend" is not acceptable French?
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Hi Paul, such things are difficult to explain logically. This isn't a grammatical issue.

Muriel attend means Muriel is waiting.
Muriel attend un bébé. -- Muriel is waiting for a baby. Or, as we would say in English, Muriel is expecting a baby.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

PaulC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks for your answer Chris, but that is not what I am asking. If I say to you in English, my wife is expecting, you would understand that she is expecting a baby. If I say to a French person ma femme attend, will the French person understand that my wife is expecting a baby?
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
No. I thought I had addressed that point by saying the Muriel attend means Muriel is waiting. I guess I wasn't clear enough. 
PaulC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks Chris. So I understand now that your advice is that a French person would not understand that my wife is expecting if I say ma femme attend. 
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Yes, exactly. 

Muriel is expecting.

In this quiz "Muriel is expecting" can only be translated as "Muriel attend un bébé". Can you please explain why "Muriel attend" is not acceptable French?

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RobertC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

A more basic question:

In the example "Ils attendent son arrivée d'une minute à l'autre" would the wording be different if the person awaited is female?
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Robert,

in the example, "ils" refers to an all male or mixed sex group of people. If those waiting were all women, you'd simply say "elles" instead of "ils".

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
No, son arrivée can mean his arrival or her arrival, so there would be no change in wording.
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Oh, sorry, you are speaking about the person AWAITING, not the persons WAITING. Alan is correct.

-- Chris.

A more basic question:

In the example "Ils attendent son arrivée d'une minute à l'autre" would the wording be different if the person awaited is female?

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DeAnnaC1Kwiziq community member

Je m'attendais à ce que tu me demandes en mariage.

According to the lesson as I understand it, this has a negative connotation.  As in, I was afraid/nervous/apprehensive you would ask me to marry you. Do I have that right?  Also, if one wanted to say, “I was waiting (with excitement) for you to ask me to marry you”, would it be J'attendais que tu me demandes en marriage.?
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

S'attendre à quelque chose means to expect something. I know that in the lesson it is stated that this has a negative connotation in French. However, either this isn't very strong or it is a regional variation, because neither someone from Bordeaux nor from two people from Paris thought that there was a negative subtone to it. It simply means to expect something.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

DeAnna asked:View original

Je m'attendais à ce que tu me demandes en mariage.

According to the lesson as I understand it, this has a negative connotation.  As in, I was afraid/nervous/apprehensive you would ask me to marry you. Do I have that right?  Also, if one wanted to say, “I was waiting (with excitement) for you to ask me to marry you”, would it be J'attendais que tu me demandes en marriage.?

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CathyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Please actually use "dread" in the translations where applicable

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Unfortunately I have no idea what you are referring to.

-- Chris.

Please actually use "dread" in the translations where applicable

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William C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Subjunctive = Indicative (er verbs) Ist/ 2nd and 3rd person Singular

The question is translate "You are waiting for the bus to arrive" The answer given is "Vous attendez que le bus arrive", Maybe better to change the question to '"You are waiting for the bus to LEAVE" which gives "Vous attendez que le bus parte (subjunctive). Here the verb is different from the indicative (le bus part)
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi William,

This is a good point , as indeed, in the case of regular verbs ending in ER , most forms will ressemble those of the Present indicative. I will pass on your comments.

Subjunctive = Indicative (er verbs) Ist/ 2nd and 3rd person Singular

The question is translate "You are waiting for the bus to arrive" The answer given is "Vous attendez que le bus arrive", Maybe better to change the question to '"You are waiting for the bus to LEAVE" which gives "Vous attendez que le bus parte (subjunctive). Here the verb is different from the indicative (le bus part)

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JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Simon m'attend à la gare." can mean expects me at the station?

I thought that only with the reflexive s'attendre à, would it be translated as expect. Is that an incorrect understanding on my part?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
Bonjour Jennifer !

You use "s'attendre à" with something, an event, but to express "to expect [someone]", you can only use the verb "attendre [quelqu'un]".

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !
LizC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thanks for the info though I don’t think I saw this explanation in the lesson; I may have missed it. So Simon m’attend á la gare means: waiting for AND expecting? I got this question half right for the same reason as Jennifer. 

Simon m'attend à la gare." can mean expects me at the station?

I thought that only with the reflexive s'attendre à, would it be translated as expect. Is that an incorrect understanding on my part?

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ArashC1Kwiziq community member

Cases where both can be used?

Elle n'attend pas grand-chose de lui. Elle ne s'attend pas à grand-chose de lui. Are both above phrases correct? If yes, do they mean differently? She doesn't expect much of him.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Arash ! That's an interesting case. Both these sentences are correct, but their meanings are quite different, though tricky to explain :) "Elle n'attend pas grand-chose de lui." would actually be the preferred way to say "She doesn't expect much from him." in French. That's the one we would use colloquially, as a statement. As for "Elle ne s'attend pas à grand-chose de lui.", it feels like she is in a *tense* state of expectancy, like his action is imminent... It's really hard to explain, but it feels off to my French ears, and we would just not use this structure at all. I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

Cases where both can be used?

Elle n'attend pas grand-chose de lui. Elle ne s'attend pas à grand-chose de lui. Are both above phrases correct? If yes, do they mean differently? She doesn't expect much of him.

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William C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Attendre v S'attendre a

I am really struggling with this topic. Are the other websites on this topic?
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
To me, this means that something positive or neutral is being awaited. attendre ou = to expect / to wait for or While the other implies an anticipation, expectation or possible dread as in waiting for lab tests to come back when you are ill and you expect the worst. s'attendre à = to expect (to happen) Note that s'attendre à is often (but not always!) used for negative expectations (i.e., I expect bad consequences). ATTENTION: You cannot use s'attendre + a person to say "to expect someone". You will instead use the simple attendre or a longer sentence (e.g., 'to expect to see someone'): Je peux comprendre certainement votre confusion. Bonne chance !

Attendre v S'attendre a

I am really struggling with this topic. Are the other websites on this topic?

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Susan C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

"On attendait mieux de vous" - why wouldn't

this be reflexive, as it expresses expectation?
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Susan, S'attendre can only be used with à plus a verb or noun. Mieux is an adverb and therefore does not fit that construction.
Susan C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
This makes sense, now that you've explained it. Tnx, s.

"On attendait mieux de vous" - why wouldn't

this be reflexive, as it expresses expectation?

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JulesC1Kwiziq community member

in the lesson for attendre the two examples are the same, the first should be about waiting.

Look at these two sentences: Ils attendent son arrivée d'une minute à l'autre. They're expecting him to arrive any minute now.[Lit. They're expecting his arrival.] they're simply stating they're expecting his arrival, if anything they're actually happy he's coming. Ils s'attendent à son arrivée d'une minute à l'autre. They're expecting him to arrive any minute now.[Lit. They're expecting his arrival
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Yes, I agree, the English has been edited accordingly.

in the lesson for attendre the two examples are the same, the first should be about waiting.

Look at these two sentences: Ils attendent son arrivée d'une minute à l'autre. They're expecting him to arrive any minute now.[Lit. They're expecting his arrival.] they're simply stating they're expecting his arrival, if anything they're actually happy he's coming. Ils s'attendent à son arrivée d'une minute à l'autre. They're expecting him to arrive any minute now.[Lit. They're expecting his arrival

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JulesC1Kwiziq community member

in the lesson for attendre the two examples that should illustrate the differences are the same:

Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Jules ! Actually they are slightly different, one is "attendre", the other one "s'attendre à". We used the same sentence to show the nuance between the two uses of "attendre" in French. I hope that's helpful!
JulesC1Kwiziq community member
I do understand the difference. The English translations are the problem, they are both the same. The first should "They are waiting for him to arrive, They're waiting for his arrival." That would clarify the difference. The latter examples in the lesson do make this distinction.

in the lesson for attendre the two examples that should illustrate the differences are the same:

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ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Would this be a correct parallel to German

Is there anyone speaking German here? Because I couldn't get my head around the explanation given in this lesson. It just seems very difficult to explain to a native English speaker. However, I get the impression that "attendre" would translate to "warten" in German whereas "s'attendre à" corresponds to "erwarten". The former simply is a statement while the latter is putting the focus more on what you're waiting for. -- Chris.
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Claus, I looked into it, as my German is very rusty, and unfortunately, the nuance here is very different. Indeed, in most cases, both "warten" and "erwarten" would be translated as "attendre" in French: -> attendre AND attendre de
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Oh darn! And I tought I'd got it. -- Chris.

Would this be a correct parallel to German

Is there anyone speaking German here? Because I couldn't get my head around the explanation given in this lesson. It just seems very difficult to explain to a native English speaker. However, I get the impression that "attendre" would translate to "warten" in German whereas "s'attendre à" corresponds to "erwarten". The former simply is a statement while the latter is putting the focus more on what you're waiting for. -- Chris.

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JohnnyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

s'attendre à

I feel like I will never get this. You wrote "Note that s'attendre à is usually used for negative expectations (i.e., I expect something bad)" but then "You're expecting some happy news" is "Tu t'attends à de bonnes nouvelles." Happy news is neither negative or bad.
Asked 3 years ago
JimC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
It is very tricky. Why not try to think of s'attendre à as "to forecast" or "to predict" or "to foresee"? This may help you to understand "Tu t'attends à de bonnes nouvelles" in the sense of foreseeing some good news, which is not a negative feeling, but one of exciting expectation. The lesson states that s'attendre à is "usually negative" therefore implying not always.

s'attendre à

I feel like I will never get this. You wrote "Note that s'attendre à is usually used for negative expectations (i.e., I expect something bad)" but then "You're expecting some happy news" is "Tu t'attends à de bonnes nouvelles." Happy news is neither negative or bad.

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JohnnyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

We expect everything from him?

I think this lesson needs to be broken up into 2-3 smaller lessons. Since "On s'attend à tout de sa part" means "We expect anything from him." To say we expect EVERYTHING from him, do we just remove "à"? Thanks.
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Johnny ! No, actually in French we don't have different words to express "anything" and "everything" in this case. So you would say "We expect everything from him." exactly the same way. If you wanted to emphasise "everything AND anything", you could also use "tout et n'importe quoi", as such: "On s'attend à tout et n'importe quoi de sa part." I hope that's helpful!

We expect everything from him?

I think this lesson needs to be broken up into 2-3 smaller lessons. Since "On s'attend à tout de sa part" means "We expect anything from him." To say we expect EVERYTHING from him, do we just remove "à"? Thanks.

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ClareC1Kwiziq community member

I have read this lesson so many times, and I still get it wrong!

Is it possible to simplify it at all? Thanks
Asked 3 years ago
MarkC1Kwiziq community member
Yes, I find that one very difficult too.

I have read this lesson so many times, and I still get it wrong!

Is it possible to simplify it at all? Thanks

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DianeB2Kwiziq community member

Why is it, "Je m'attendais à ce que tu me demandes en mariage"

when this is usually a positive expectation, not a negative one. why wouldn't it be, "J'aattendais que tu me ...."
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Diane, Haha, I agree that it's probably not what you expect to hear ! In this context, rather than dread, this sentence could also reflect disappointment, like "I expected it, but you didn't.". Though to be honest, the main impression is definitely something like "Pffew, I was scared, I thought you were going to propose."!
AurélieKwiziq team member
If you said "J'attendais que tu me demandes en mariage." would be a more literal "I was waiting for you to propose.". To express the hope of a proposal, you would use another verb altogether, such as "J'espérais que tu me demanderais en mariage." (I hoped you'd propose.)
DianeB2Kwiziq community member
Ah! That makes sense. Thank you!

Why is it, "Je m'attendais à ce que tu me demandes en mariage"

when this is usually a positive expectation, not a negative one. why wouldn't it be, "J'aattendais que tu me ...."

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JohnC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

"They're expecting him to arrive at any minute now"

Perhaps a third way to say this is to use the longer form with the subjunctive : "Ils s'attendent à ce qu'il arrive d'une minute à l'autre." Is this ok? Does it convey more or less of the anxiety conveyed by the example using "Ils s'attendent à son arrivé...?" Thanks.
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour John, Indeed, this is another correct way to say this, and it actually sounds a bit more elegant this way. It would also convey the same level of anxiety as the previous one.

"They're expecting him to arrive at any minute now"

Perhaps a third way to say this is to use the longer form with the subjunctive : "Ils s'attendent à ce qu'il arrive d'une minute à l'autre." Is this ok? Does it convey more or less of the anxiety conveyed by the example using "Ils s'attendent à son arrivé...?" Thanks.

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