FR: 30 minutes + accord du verbe

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by metz0607, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. metz0607 Member


    I'm wondering about the agreement of the above sentence.

    I'm talking about how much time I'd like to speak at a meeting. Do the verb and adjective agree with the '30 minutes'?

    In English, I think the 30 minutes would be thought of more as a 'chunk' of time, like a créneau, and not the individual minutes.

    Thanks in advance for the help!
  2. Michelvar

    Michelvar quasimodo

    Marseille - France

    The fact is that your sentence is not a complete sentence, it is a shortened sentence.

    The rules give "30 minutes seraient idéales", but this sentence doesn't have the same meaning. For example let say you have to judge the quality of a group of 80 minutes, and you say, "well, 40 of those minutes would be just lame, and only 30 of those minutes would be perfect" : "30 minutes seraient idéales".

    But what you really want to say is : " it would be just fine if you give me 30 minutes", "Si vous me consacriez 30 minutes, ça serait idéal".

    So what you say is : "30 minutes, ça serait idéal" >>> 30 minutes serait idéal.

    You find yourself trying to make the verb and adjective agree with a subject you don't even see...
  3. metz0607 Member

    Hmm, I see what you mean, thank you for the different examples.

    The entire sentence would be as follows:
    Je suppose que 30 à 45 minutes serait (aient) également préférable (s) pour moi, si possible.

    Two other people in my meeting group had previously suggested the same amount of time, and I am now suggesting the same for me.

    Perhaps the problem comes from my translating what I would say in English to French. In French, it would be normal to add the "ça" into the sentence.

    Just the same, for the sentence above, what would you advise?
    Thank you.
  4. Michelvar

    Michelvar quasimodo

    Marseille - France
    The problem is that, again, this is not the complete sentence... The complete sentence is :

    Je suppose que disposer de 30 à 45 minutes serait (aient) également préférable (s) pour moi, si possible.

    In your sentence, it is "Je suppose que 30 à 45 minutes seraient également préférables pour moi, si possible", but it doesn't mean much literally, even if everyone, including me, would say it like this. When it comes to writing, it's more difficult, I myself would not be able to say for sure what is the best, having the verb agree with "30 minutes" or taking the eluded part into account. Let's wait for other advices.

    No problem, your French is just fine, the issue here is just to figure out how to write it, and I'm sure 80% of French people would have the same dilemma.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
  5. metz0607 Member

    Thanks for your detailed replies, I really appreciate it!
  6. Brestoise Senior Member

    Brest, France
    I would say "30 minutes, ce serait l'idéal".
    But "30 minutes serait idéal" doesn't sound bad (to my hears at least). In that case, I'd understand "30 minutes" as a shortened version of "un laps de temps de 30 minutes", and so I'd write "serait".
  7. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    Both agreements are indeed possible when numerical indications are used without determiner. The singular is used when the numerical indication is thought as a group, as a whole.

    Trente minutes serait idéal. :tick:
    Trente minutes seraient idéales. :tick:

    Here are a few examples:

    Seize cent mille francs de gain était encore une jolie somme. (Zola, Au Bonheur des dames)
    Cinq minutes de paradis arrangera tout. (Bernanos, Correspondance)
    Cinquante coups de baguette fut le tarif imposé – trente auraient suffi. (Orieux, Figues de Berbérie)

    Quarante ans sont passés. (Hugo, Châtiments)
    Six mille écus ne sont pas une bagatelle. (Musset, On ne badine pas avec l'amour)
    Vingt-cinq ans de guerre et de paix armée avaient appris au capitaine en quoi consiste l'envers des cartes. (Yourcenar, Œuvre au noir)

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