FR: disparaître - auxiliaire être / avoir

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by john_riemann_soong, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. john_riemann_soong

    john_riemann_soong Senior Member

    Singapore / United States
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    When it takes the auxiliary être, is it comparable to "has disappeared" versus the plain preterite in English of "disappeared"? It's not a matter of passive versus active voice, is it?
     
  2. shibuya Senior Member

    Paris
    USA and France
    According to Bernard Pivot (see his dictionary at TV5.org) disparaître is conjugated with avoir, not with être... but I have to admit être disparu could be used in some cases.
     
  3. john_riemann_soong

    john_riemann_soong Senior Member

    Singapore / United States
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    Yes, but googling "est disparu" shows up lots of results ... thus the conjugation doesn't seem to be that uncommon.
     
  4. Fred_C

    Fred_C Senior Member

    France
    Français
    Hi. I looked at the google hits for "est disparu". They all come from badly written texts with typos or poor grammar. In all the cases I looked at, the use of "est disparu" is a mistake and should be replaced by "a disparu".
     
  5. rayb Senior Member

    Chile - Spanish
    "Où sont les disparus" , which means "where are the dissapeared", it's a case in which clearly disparaître has to be conjugated with être.

    Regards,

    rayb
     
  6. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    I'm not a native French speaker, but I have the impression that people use être disparu more often when the subject himself leaves, as if the verb were reflexive (used with se) even if it is not reflexive. On the other hand, avoir disparu seems to be used more often when the cause of the disappearance is less certain.

    Does that make any sense? (and is it correct, or at least an accurate observation?)
     
  7. Fred_C

    Fred_C Senior Member

    France
    Français
    Very good point !
    Indeed, in that case, disparu is a past participle with an active (not a passive) meaning, although it is the participle of a verb that uses the "avoir" auxiliary !
     
  8. calembourde

    calembourde Senior Member

    Genève, Suisse
    New Zealand, English
    Le Petit Robert says:

    So apparently you can use être when it really means that somebody is missing, rather than saying somebody has disappeared. We don't say 'disappeared' in this case in English, but I think that would be the correct translation of être disparu and it makes the use of être rather than avoir more intuitive... it's used for the state of being missing/disappeared rather than the action of disappearing.
     
  9. Nicomon

    Nicomon Senior Member

    Montréal
    Français, Québec ♀
    IMHO, disparu is used as a noun in the sentence « Où sont les disparus?» . Not as a past participle. Same as in (for the sake of example) « où sont les enfants? »
     
  10. Fred_C

    Fred_C Senior Member

    France
    Français
    Oui, c'est un participe passé substantivé.
     
  11. quentin75 Senior Member

    paris
    france
    jamais entendu avec ETRE...
     
  12. john_riemann_soong

    john_riemann_soong Senior Member

    Singapore / United States
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    So, if I were to say "the snow is gone" with "la neige est disparue", that would be perfectly all right?
     
  13. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    No, you would say La neige a disparu.

    I have no references works with me now, but I'm sure you could say, for instance,

    Elle est disparue depuis dix ans. She's been dead for ten years.
    The use of être stresses the state rather than the action.
     
  14. john_riemann_soong

    john_riemann_soong Senior Member

    Singapore / United States
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    So I couldn't optionally stress the state of the snow being gone? "It's gone! Absolutely gone! Every last snowflake! Thanks, El Nino!"

    (Elle est disparue! Absolument disparue!)?
     
  15. LaurentK

    LaurentK Senior Member

    Paris, France
    France, FrançaisIrlandais
    :thumbsup:

    Jean a disparu (has disappeared/vanished) :tick:
    Jean est porté disparu (is reported missing) :tick:
    Jean est un disparu de la Grande Guerre :tick:

    As Calembourde pointed out, Le Robert says: "On emploie l'auxil. avoir ou (vieilli ou littér.) être (pour indiquer l'état : il est disparu depuis dix ans )"

    In il est disparu depuis dix ans 'est disparu' stands for est [porté] disparu. In this particular case, 'depuis dix ans' is necessary to indicate a status(indiquer l'état) of missing person, thus allowing the use of verb être. If the status is omitted, the construction is not correct:

    Jean est disparu depuis dix ans :tick:
    Jean est disparu :cross:
     
  16. john_riemann_soong

    john_riemann_soong Senior Member

    Singapore / United States
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    Oh, some time ago I was leafing through my Bescherelle conjugaison book and it said that "être" can be used as an auxiliary for emphasis, e.g. "le soleil a disparu" as normal but "le soleil est disparu" to stress its absence in the sky.
     
  17. LaurentK

    LaurentK Senior Member

    Paris, France
    France, FrançaisIrlandais
    You are right, John, it is used in certain situations (old, 'high language', litterature), as explained in threads above, but would be seen as a mistake or babarism in the spoken language.
     
  18. john_riemann_soong

    john_riemann_soong Senior Member

    Singapore / United States
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    Would it be like using the passe simple in spoken French, or even worse?

    And how would one render something like "gone! gone! It's absolutely gone!" in French?
     
  19. iaatf

    iaatf Senior Member

    USA - english
    I am talking about two people who died a long time ago.
    Although Bob and Mary "are gone", .........
    Shouldn't it be "soient disparus" ????
    I would think that "aient disparu" would translate as something different like "they died" or "they disappeared".
    thanks.
     
  20. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    The use of être stresses the resultant state, whereas avoir does indeed focus on the act of dying.
     
  21. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
  22. L'Inconnu Senior Member

    US
    English
    My two cents:

    "They have departed" (they died) = "ils ont disparu"
    "They are departed" (they are dead) '= "Ils sont disparus."

    Since when can't a past participle be used as an adjective?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  23. iaatf

    iaatf Senior Member

    USA - english
    So after reading all these threads I am still confused what to use for "are gone". Seems as though there is a lot of disagreement of opinions. Thanks.
     
  24. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    Since forever. Can you think of any adjectival uses for: souri, fallu, plu (< plaire or pleuvoir), soupé, lutté, patienté, pu, été, … Unlike these, disparu happens to allow adjectival use (but in that case, it needs to agree like an adjective: Ils sont disparus).
    For the passé composé of disparaître, the normal auxiliary is avoir. Être is less common, and usually perceived as literary or old-fashioned. But it also depends on exactly what "are gone" is supposed to mean. Context, please.
     
  25. iaatf

    iaatf Senior Member

    USA - english
    They are dead and departed. "Although John and Mary are gone, their spirit remains."
    Thanks.
     
  26. L'Inconnu Senior Member

    US
    English
    How does this 'grab you'?

    ''l'Esprit de John et Mary restent pour toujours entre nous, même s'ils ont disparu.'' :confused:
    ''The spirit of John and Mary remains forever among us, even though they have departed.''
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  27. iaatf

    iaatf Senior Member

    USA - english
    Ok, I'm sticking with "avoir". Thanks.
     
  28. L'Inconnu Senior Member

    US
    English
    Actually, I think I got it wrong. I don't think the passé composé goes after <si>. It should be either the imparfait, the plus-que-parfait or the présent. But, the plus-que-parfait applies to habitual activities in the past. And the imparfait applies to counterfactual conditions. So, we have to use the present. Which brings us back to:

    ''l'Esprit de John et Mary restent pour toujours entre nous, même s'ils sont disparus.''
    ''The spirit of John and Mary remains forever among us, even though they are departed.''
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  29. iaatf

    iaatf Senior Member

    USA - english
    I'll go with my original subjunctive clause. (I always like to impress my professor.;)) And "they have departed" - "aient disparu" works fine. Thanks again.
     
  30. L'Inconnu Senior Member

    US
    English
    […]

    Eva, le vent dont je te parlais
    Est à présent parti loin de chez moi
    -->Il est disparu mais tu es toujours là<--
    C'est comme un soulagement, un secret partagé
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2012

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