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Que + Le Subjonctif = Whether [one does something]

Look at these sentences:

Que vous soyez bons ou mauvais, vous êtes tous des êtres humains.
Whether you're good or bad, you're all human beings.

Je le ferai que tu le veuilles ou non.
I'll do it whether you want it or not.

La question n'est pas que tu l'aies fait ou non.
The question is not whether you did it or not.

Que tu fasses tes devoirs ou non, c'est ton choix après tout !
Whether you do your homework or not, it's your choice after all!

To express hypotheses with whether [one does] in French, you will use que + Le Subjonctif.

You won't use this in Indirect Speech where whether = if, i.e. after verbs like se demander (to wonder) or savoir (to know). In these cases, you'll simply use si (if) + L'Indicatif in French:

Je me demande si tu vas venir ou pas.
I wonder whether you'll come or not.

 

GRAMMAR:
Here the use of Le Subjonctif brings the notion of doubt to the propositions, which in such sentences are just suppositions until proven.

See also how to conjugate in Le Subjonctif:
Conjugate regular verbs in Le Subjonctif Présent (subjunctive mood)
Conjugate être in Le Subjonctif Présent (subjunctive mood)
Conjugate avoir in Le Subjonctif Présent (subjunctive mood)
Conjugate faire in Le Subjonctif Présent (subjunctive mood)
Conjugate vouloir in Le Subjonctif Présent (subjunctive mood)
etc.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Que vous soyez bons ou mauvais, vous êtes tous des êtres humains.
Whether you're good or bad, you're all human beings.


Je me demande si tu vas venir ou pas.
I wonder whether you'll come or not.


La question n'est pas que tu l'aies fait ou non.
The question is not whether you did it or not.


Que tu fasses tes devoirs ou non, c'est ton choix après tout !
Whether you do your homework or not, it's your choice after all!


Peu importe qu'il vienne ou pas.
It doesn't matter whether he comes or not.


Je le ferai que tu le veuilles ou non.
I'll do it whether you want it or not.


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Q&A

Barbara

Kwiziq community member

25 March 2018

8 replies

Anthony brings his sunglasses (in case it's sunny.) (on a C1 test)

My answer - Anthony apporte des lunettes de soleil au cas où il ferait du soleil. Marked nearly correct. Your correct answer - .......... au cas où il ferait BEAU. Doesn't that mean - in case the weather is nice, beautiful? Can you also say -- au cas où il y aurait du soleil. Please explain.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

25 March 2018

25/03/18

Hi Barbara,


"Il faut beau" is apparently the phrase most commonly used to refer to nice weather. Specifically, if you want to say that the sun is shining, you can say "Il fait soleil", "Il y a du soleil" or "Il es ensoleillé". Whether or not "Il fait du soleil" may also be correct I don't really know, at least I haven't heard it said.


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

L

Kwiziq community member

26 March 2018

26/03/18

Here's a link you might find helpful. Some people apparently don't consider "Il fait soleil" proper French. https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/my-languages/french/review/804/1559005

Chris

Kwiziq community member

26 March 2018

26/03/18

Hi L, thanks for bringing this to my attention. I talked to a French native speaker and she said that "Il fait soleil" sounded OK. Searching the net it seems that French Canadians tend to use it more liberally than speakers from France.


To be perfectly honest: to my ears "Il fait soleil" sounds strange, too, but it is apparently in use.


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Chris

Kwiziq community member

26 March 2018

26/03/18

Just to correct a typo in my initial post: it should be "Il fait beau" and not "il faut beau".


-- Chris.

Barbara

Kwiziq community member

26 March 2018

26/03/18

Hi Chris,


Il fait beau = It's nice out, The weather is beautiful.  Il fait du soleil et il y a du soleil both mean it's sunny.  My question was why would the test correct answer say "Anthony apporte ses lunettes de soleil au cas où il ferait BEAU.  when the English translation was "Anthony brings his sunglasses in case it's SUNNY? Why beau instead of du soleil? Minor point but interested to know. I'm positive that Il fait DU soleil is correct although maybe not the first choice for it's sunny.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

26 March 2018

26/03/18

Yes, Barbara, I agree with you. The problem seems to be that there is no 1:1 translation which leaves no room for interpretation as to how to translate it. The most natural way to say "Il fait beau" in English would, for me, be "It's nice out" But that doesn't correspond to the way most frequently used in French (i.e., il fait beau). Neither do any of the other ways to paraphrase it in English.


I understand your frustration that you get penalized for something which isn't even a mistake but I don't know of a good solution either. Do you have a suggestion?


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

L

Kwiziq community member

26 March 2018

26/03/18

I wish we had a way to learn Québécois French. That's the one I'd use the most!

Chris

Kwiziq community member

27 March 2018

27/03/18

:))) In speaking to some native French people they seem to have a low opinion of Canadian French. But that's typical, I'd say. It is similar between Austria and Germany with respect to the German language.


-- Chris.

Shivani

Kwiziq community member

11 August 2017

5 replies

Pas ou non ?

Quand est-ce qu'on utilise "pas" et quand "non" ? La phrase ci-dessus est-elle correcte?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

23 August 2017

23/08/17

Bonjour Shivani !

You can use either non or pas in sentences expressing two alternative options = [whether] ... or not.


Je le ferai ou pas. 
Je le ferai ou non.
(I'll do it or not.)

In all other cases, you will use pas to express not in negative sentences.

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Ron

Kwiziq community member

12 August 2017

12/08/17

Bonjour Shivani,
In reviewing the lesson, I believe the excerpt below differentiates the use of «non» or «pas»
Que tu fasses tes devoirs ou non, c'est ton choix après tout !
Whether you do your homework or not, it's your choice after all!
To express hypotheses with whether [one does] in French, you will use que + Le Subjonctif.
You won't use this in Indirect Speech where whether = if, i.e. after verbs like se demander (to wonder) or savoir (to know). In these cases, you'll simply use si (if) + L'Indicatif in French:
Je me demande si tu vas venir ou pas.
I wonder whether you'll come or not.
J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait.
Bonne chance,
à bientôt

Paul

Kwiziq community member

2 March 2018

2/03/18

Like Shivani, I was also wondering this, but there are two conflicting answers. Ron, your theory ("ou non" after que ... and "ou pas" after si ...) works for most of the given examples in this lesson except for example number 1 - "peu importe qu'il vienne ou pas" , so is it the case that Aurélie's answer ("ou non" or "ou pas" are interchangeable when there are two alternative options) is instead the correct one???

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

5 March 2018

5/03/18

Bonjour Paul !


You can see a green tick next to correct answers ;)

Paul

Kwiziq community member

6 March 2018

6/03/18

Merci Aurélie. Je n’avais jamais remarqué cette fonctionnalité. Je le saurai maintenant.
Getting that for you now.