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Using 'trouver' to express 'to find' and opinions

The verb trouver (to find) can be used differently depending on context in French.

 

(1) In French, you often use the verb trouver (to find) in a similar way as the verb penser (to think) to express an opinion, as follows:

Elle trouve qu'elles sont malpolies.  =  Elle pense qu'elles sont malpolies.  (She thinks they're rude.)

Je trouve que c'est dangereux.
I think it's dangerous.

Je trouve qu'il a de bons arguments.
I think he's got good arguments.

In this context, just like with penser, you can never omit the que ('that').
See Penser que, croire que = To think that, to believe that

 

(2) You can also use trouver the same way you use 'to find (something to be ...)' in English, as follows:

Je trouve cela fascinant.
I find that fascinating.

Je trouve Martha intéressante.
I find Martha interesting.

Ils trouvent ces soirées ennuyeuses.
They find these parties boring.


ATTENTION:

When using this second structure with object pronouns (i.e. I find me / you / him / her / us / you / them), in French you will use me / te / le / la / nous / vous / les before the verb.

Elle les trouve malpolies.
She finds them rude.

Nous la trouvons exquise.
We find her exquisite.

Je te trouve dur avec lui.
I find you harsh on him.

 

See also the more advanced Using Le Subjonctif after penser, trouver. savoir, croire, prétendre + que in the negative

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elle trouve qu'elles sont malpolies.
She thinks they are rude.


Ils trouvent ces soirées ennuyeuses.
They find these parties boring.


Je trouve qu'il a de bons arguments.
I think he's got good arguments.


Je trouve Martha intéressante.
I find Martha interesting.


Il trouve que c'est une belle maison.
He finds that it's a beautiful house.


Je trouve cela fascinant.
I find that fascinating.


Je trouve que c'est dangereux.
I think it's dangerous.


Je te trouve dur avec lui.
I find you harsh on him.


Elle les trouve malpolies.
She finds them rude.


Nous la trouvons exquise.
We find her exquisite.


Micro kwiz: Using 'trouver' to express 'to find' and opinions
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Q&A

John

Kwiziq community member

23 April 2017

4 replies

So when should we use trouver and when to use penser?

Are they completely interchangeable?

John

Kwiziq community member

23 April 2017

23/04/17

I mean to express an opinion, of course. In English I see "I think" but when it comes to french, I see je pense, je crois or je trouve, and I never know when to use which.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

23 April 2017

23/04/17

Hi John, I find these work the same way as they do in English, on the whole (see what I did there? ;) ) The same nuances apply in French as they do in English for find/think/believe, although Aurélie may have a more sophisticated view on this than I. Hope that's helpful though.

John

Kwiziq community member

23 April 2017

23/04/17

As I mentioned above, "I think" in English doesn't always translate to "je pense." So I don't think they are the SAME nuances. The other problem is that when it translates to je ne pense pas que or je ne crois pas que, then I have to use subjunctive while je ne trouve pas que doesn't go with subjunctive. So the nuances are definitely not the same. Basically I'm looking for cases where I can use trouver so I don't have to use subjunctive :-)

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

23 April 2017

23/04/17

The nuance between thinking, finding (i.e. experiencing, or simply expressing a thought more politely or less forcefully) and believing is very similar to those distinctions in English. Subjunctive is another matter, but is used with trouver as well as penser in the negative (unless you drop the que?)...

Doraida

Kwiziq community member

6 August 2016

1 reply

I can't hear the audio, when I press the speaker, the page changes, this happen with all the pages

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

7 August 2016

7/08/16

Bonjour - thanks for letting us know, it's fixed.
Let me take a look at that...