FR: (ne pas) dire que + mode

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by ron2110, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. ron2110 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    English
    Hi everyone

    Is "ne pas dire que... " ALWAYS followed by a subjunctive (just like "je ne crois pas que...") in all conjugations/tenses?

    Thanks!

    Moderator note: multiple threads merged to create this one.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2014
  2. Viola_ Senior Member

    Chennai, India
    France, French
    no, not necessarily as dire doesn't function like croire
     
  3. sebowski

    sebowski Senior Member

    Antibes
    France - french
    yes, he's right, for example, you could say "il ne faut pas dire que tu n'iras jamais à la piscine !"
     
  4. ron2110 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    English
    okay but what if the negation only surrounds the "dire"?

    like: je ne dis pas qu'il... est/soit

    which one is it? i would've normally said "soit" but the reason I'm asking is because "je ne dis pas qu'il est" yields 4000 more results than "je ne dis pas qu'il soit" on a google search....

    am very confused!
     
  5. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    Je ne dis pas que c'est faux, mais je le pense.

    I think we usually don't use subjonctive after ne pas dire que.
     
  6. ron2110 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    English
    so when do you use the subjunctive and when do you use the indicative after "je ne dis pas que..."?

    and how do you know when to do so?

    thanks :)
     
  7. sebowski

    sebowski Senior Member

    Antibes
    France - french
    je ne dis pas qu'il est -> correct but more familiar
    je ne dis pas qu'il soit -> better but less familiar :p
     
  8. Viola_ Senior Member

    Chennai, India
    France, French
    I've had a look on my grammar book to be 100% sure and dire is indeed not followed by subjonctive tense.
    So,
    Je ne dis pas qu'il est!
     
  9. ron2110 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    English
  10. Viola_ Senior Member

    Chennai, India
    France, French
    OK, i checked again on another book (this is endless!!)
    verbes: déclarer, DIRE, raconter, annoncer, etc + Indicatif (formes affirmatives, negatives, interrogatives)
    verbes: croire, penser,etre sur, etc. +Subjonctif (formes négatives ou interrogatives)
    So, 2 french sources say you don't use the subj, whereas internet says you can...i wouldn't trust internet!
     
  11. mongos New Member

    Poland and Polish
    Im a bit confused with what tense should go after dire que, I remember that there was a rule that you are suppose to be put subjonctif after dire que but I saw many examples (especially in reported/indirect speech) where subjonctif is not used.

    Can someone please explain it to me?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2014
  12. Denis the fatalist Senior Member

    Monaco Monte-Carlo
    France/French
    Inside a sentence maybe, at its beginning maybe not ?

    "- Et dire que le directeur est un imbécile ! "

    '- Dire partout que le directeur est un imbécile équivaut à dévoiler les secrets de l'entreprise "

    - il aurait fallu dire que nous étions treize, grogna le directeur !"
     
  13. Elme

    Elme Senior Member

    Paris
    French
    bonjour,

    C'est difficile de trouver une phrase avec "dire que" suivi du subjonctif.
     
  14. polaire Senior Member

    English, United States
    I believe Elme is talking about constructions like:


    Anne a dit qu'elle voulait aller au cinéma.


    But the subjunctive is not used.
     
  15. Denis the fatalist Senior Member

    Monaco Monte-Carlo
    France/French
    Dire que le directeur serait un imbécile, ce serait se mettre en danger.
     
  16. john_riemann_soong

    john_riemann_soong Senior Member

    Singapore / United States
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    I know that for "dire," and other "maybe" friends, you use the subjunctive when the parent clause is negative or has a question. But what if the subordinate clause is negative?
     
  17. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    First of all, a very important clarification: ne pas dire que + [xxxx] does NOT automatically require the subjunctive. The verb can be used in two different ways, and they require different moods.

    1. relating what someone said --> indicative
    Jean : "Je vais au marché".
    Marie : Jean a dit qu'il allait à la bibliothèque.
    Collette : Non, Jean n'a pas dit qu'il allait à la bibliothèque ! Il a dit qu'il allait au marché !

    2. Stating an opinion or an interpretation (not a citation)
    Je dis qu'elle est très intelligente. (affirmative --> indicative)
    Attention, je ne dis pas qu'il soit bête ! Au contraire, votre fils est très intelligent, mais il souffre d'une légère dyslexie et par conséquent il va avoir du mal à apprendre à lire. (negative --> subjunctive)
    or
    Attention, je ne dis pas qu'il ne soit pas intelligent ! etc. (negative --> subjunctive)


    The negative or affirmative status of the subordinate doesn't matter. It is the principal that determines whether you need the subjunctive or the indicative.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2008
  18. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    I have a vague memory of learning that in Jann's number 2 scenario there could be a choice of indicative or subjunctive depending on the nuance you want to give, eg

    Je ne dis pas qu'il est intelligent or
    Je ne dis pas qu'il soit intelligent.

    Am I remembering correctly? If so could someone refresh my memory of the difference in nuance?
     
  19. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    Hello Tim, :)

    You remember correctly. There is sufficient flexibility to allow either the subjunctive or the indicative, even in case #2.

    As always, the subjunctive indicates less certainty. If you say je ne dis pas qu'il soit bête then you are less certain of his intelligence than if you say the same thing in the indicative. So using the subjunctive makes the statement tend towards uncertainty of the "it's still possible that he's stupid, but I can't know for sure so I'm not saying that he is" kind. Conversely, using the indicative makes the statement tend towards certainty of the "as far as I am concerned, he is not stupid" kind. Sorry that's not clearer!

    This means that my example above probably isn't very realistic, because someone telling a mother that her son's dyslexia is in no way equivalent to stupidity would want to use the most reassuring words possible (therefore indicative, or a different structure entirely).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2014
  20. baosheng Senior Member

    Canada
    Canada, English
    In the negative, however, ne pas dire + subj, n'est-ce pas ? This is true for all verbs of observation/belief, right?
     
  21. markdiable New Member

    United Kingdom
    English
    I wouldn't have thought it wrong to use the subjuntive with dire

    je ne dis pas qu'il soit .... isn't wrong according to two sources, but I do agree with Viola, I wouldn't trust the internet!

    It is necessary to use the subjunctive with certain verbs and generally always with uncertainties and negations :)
     
  22. Icetrance Senior Member

    US English
    To me, I just see the difference as one of emotion vs fact.

    Je ne dis pas que tu es stupide = simply stating as a fact that I don't believe you're stupid

    Je ne dis pas que tu sois stupide = more emotional: you're bringing in more personal feelings to the equation (e.g., I'm fed up with convincing you, or I'm sorry that you thought that I thought you were stupid, etc).

    I could be wrong, but that's how I understand the difference.

    The also reminds me of the choice between the indicative and subjunctive after "ça ne veut pas dire que..."

    I often hear the indicative after "je ne dis pas que...", as with "ça ne veut pas dire que..."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 4, 2010
  23. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    Voici un extrait du bon usage de Grevisse:

    Le subj. n’est fréquent après dire négatif que si celui-ci est à la 1re personne ou bien s’il est précédé de vouloir ou de pouvoir ou encore après Ce n’est pas à dire. — Employé négativement et avec un sujet inanimé, vouloir dire est suivi de l’indic. ou du subj. sans nuance bien nette : Ceci […] ne veut pas dire que Bergson est cartésien (Gouhier, Introd. de : Bergson, Œuvres). — Ça ne veut pas dire que la pensée de Lévi-Strauss soit stérile (A. Martinet, Mém. d’un linguiste, p. 347). — Cela vaut aussi pour signifier : Qu’il y ait détente ou guerre froide ne signifie pas du tout que dans un cas il y a danger de guerre et que dans l’autre il n’y en a pas (Raym. Aron, Spectateur engagé, p. 272).Cette mort d’un système de pouvoir totalitaire […] ne signifie […] pas que la démocratie l’ait aujourd’hui emporté en URSS (B. Guetta, dans le Monde, 14 mars 1989).

    Donc, dans le cas de ça ne veut pas dire que, il serait difficile de saisir une différence de nuance entre l'indicatif et le subjonctif.

    Je ne dis pas que tu es bête. Cette phrase peut avoir plusieurs sens. Ce n'est pas moi qui le dis en est un.

    Je me demande si l'emploi du subjonctif pourrait suggérer un ton moqueur, par exemple.

    Je ne dis pas que tu sois bête (même si je le crois).

    L'emploi du subjonctif implique, à mon sens, que tu as autre chose à ajouter. Le mot qui me vient spontanément est mais...

    Je ne dis pas que tu doives l'aider, mais si tu ne le fais pas, cela pourra causer des ennuis.

    Voilà quelques pensées qui me sont venues à l'idée.
     
  24. Icetrance Senior Member

    US English
    Je ne dis pas que tu es stupide = I don't believe at all that you are stupid

    Je ne dis pas que tu sois stupide = I'm not saying you're stupid (even though you might be)

    I suppose it's about more doubt with the subjunctive.
     
  25. Icetrance Senior Member

    US English
    It is hard to see the difference between the subjunctive and the indicative in certain cases in French.

    Je ne dis pas que tu es français = I'm not saying you're French (not what I'm trying to say, or even implying)

    Je ne dis pas que tu sois français = I'm not saying you're French (even though others may think so, or you might be, however)

    In the first example, it's just a fact (fait indépendant du sujet parlant). It tells you that "in my words" (selon mes paroles), I'm not saying you're French in any way, shape or form. On the other hand, if I use the subjunctive, there may be some doubt as to your nationality, even though "I" believe you are probably not (le fait [clause subordonnée] est en dépendence de la pensée du sujet parlant).

    Does that make any sense?

    I agree with Geostan above that it is hard to see the nuance between the indicative and subjunctive after the phrase "Ça ne veut pas dire que..." Perhaps the subjunctive is used to throw some doubt on what doesn't "seem to be the case" (more personal opinion), whereas the indicative is used to present something as a mere fact.

    Ça ne veut pas dire qu'il est intelligent = That doesn't mean that he is intelligent (one just can't come to the conclusion that he is indeed intelligent).

    Ça ne veut pas dire qu'il soit intelligent = That doesn't mean that he is intelligent (although I think that "this" [whatever that is] may show that he is somehow)

    I could be wrong about what I said (more so about "ça ne veut pas dire que..."), but it's just a thought.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  26. Chimel Senior Member

    Belgium
    Français
    Pour moi, même si j'aime les distinctions subtiles, celle-ci me paraît si fine qu'elle en devient pratiquement inexistante. Si différence il y a, elle concerne plutôt le niveau de langue, à mon avis.

    Il me semble que la forme (de loin) la plus courante en français moderne est:
    "Je ne dis pas que tu es stupide"

    et que si quelqu'un préfère utiliser le subjonctif, c'est moins pour impliquer qu'il aurait un doute là-dessus (et qu'il pourrait penser que la personne est malgré tout stupide ou que d'autres pourraient le penser) que, tout simplement, par volonté d'utiliser une forme plus recherchée.

    I can also be wrong about what I say, of course... ;)
     
  27. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    Oui, la différence est assez subtile, voire subjective, mais elle existe. Par contre, je ne dirais jamais que l'indicatif est la forme la plus courante, d'autant plus que j'emploierais plus volontiers le subjonctif…
     
  28. Icetrance Senior Member

    US English
    The difference is subjective in the case with subjunctive being used in the negative subordinate clause in "Je ne dis pas que..." So, it all comes down to "extra feelings" the speaker wants to convey. But what they are may be a bit subjective, I suppose.

    Je ne dis pas que tu sois français = I'm not saying that you're French (trying to show a little understanding, respect, consideration; more emotion being subtlely conveyed by the speaker)

    Je ne dis pas que tu es français = I'm not saying that you are French (a mere fact - nothing more, nothing less)

    That's all just been said in my most humble opinion.:)
     
  29. Icetrance Senior Member

    US English
    J'aimerais rajouter une chose de plus, si vous me le permettiez:

    Dans l'usage courant, la tendance est sans aucun doute à l'indicatif, mais il pourrait y avoir une toute petite différence entre indicatif et subjonctif.ici. C'est donc soit une question stylistique, soit une question de sens; et pourtant, si c'est cette dernière, on assisterait à une différence si fine et si petite qu'on ne s'en apercevrait qu'en avoir une grande loupe à la main.

    Ma toute petite opinion:

    Je ne dis pas que tu es japonais: se dit de façon plus neutre; un simple fait alors

    Je ne dis pas que tu sois japonais: se dit avec plus d'émotion, c'est-à-dire avec plus d'impatience, de colère, etc., selon le contexte.


    Si j'ai tort, j'ai tort, mais s'il s'agit de style, on ne mettrait en valeur sa façon d'employer le subjonctif que pour paraître plus lettré, j'imaginerais. Et puis là, je serais d'accord avec Chimel.:D
     
  30. Icetrance Senior Member

    US English
    Oui, plus j'y pense, plus je dirais:

    Le subjonctif dans "Je ne dis pas que tu sois japonais" impliquerait une petit hésitation dans son affirmation (pas tout à fait convaincu que la personne ne l'est pas), ce qui ne serait pas le cas avec l'indicatif (une affirmation sans hésiter). Et comme l'a dit plus haut geostan, et bien correctement si je puis dire, cette clause au subjonctif serait souvent suivi d'un gros "MAIS".
     
  31. Icetrance Senior Member

    US English
    Ce qui est énoncé dans la cause dépendante constituerait une irréalité, d'où donc une simple justification de l'emploi du subjonctif. Alors pourquoi faire compliqué quand on peut faire simple?:D

    Exemple:

    Je ne dis pas que tu sois stupide = Ce n'est pas vrai, à mon avis, que tu le sois
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  32. WillL New Member

    English
    Bonjour tout le monde,

    Does dire sue follow subjunctive?

    My sentence: Permettez-moi de vous dire que je ne suis pas d'accord avec vous.

    Is this correct?

    Merci d'avance
     
  33. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    Dire takes the indicative. It can however also take the subjunctive if negated.

    Je dis que je ne suis pas d'accord.
    Je ne dis pas que je ne suis/sois pas d'accord.
     
  34. djweaverbeaver Senior Member

    English Atlanta, GA USA
    Hello,

    Most of the time, dire takes an the indicative because it simply expresses what we are stating or declare (déclarer). However, dire can express and order or wish (ordonner), and when it does, it is followed by the subjunctive.

    Je lui dis (= déclare) qu'il est exact au rendez-vous.
    Je lui dis (= ordonne) qu'il soit exact au rendez-vous.

    Pierre dit (= déclare) que Paul part.
    Pierre dit (= ordonne) que Paul parte.

    Dis-lui que (= déclare-lui) je vais ouvrir la porte.
    Dis-lui (= ordonne-lui) qu'il ouvre la porte tout de suite !

    I hope this answers your question.
     
  35. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    I'm afraid that usage of the subjunctive after dire is not natural at all, djweaverbeaver. As a matter of fact, we would use an infinitive clause in such cases. At any rate, the sense is more a request than an order.

    Je lui dis d'être à l'heure au rendez-vous.
    Pierre dit à Paul de partir.
    Dis-lui d'ouvrir la porte tout de suite !
     
  36. djweaverbeaver Senior Member

    English Atlanta, GA USA
    Well Capello,

    I would agree that I would say each of your sentences over the ones that I've cited. However, the examples I gave are grammatically and semantically correct. Furthermore, I did not create them myself; they are taken directly and verbatim from French grammar and linguistics books written specifically for native French speakers. I was merely showing that such a construction is possible. Whether or not it is frequently used is another matter. Lastly, Pierre dit à Paul de partir is not exactly the same thing as Pierre dit que Paul parte. In the latter case, Pierre can want and that Paul leave without telling him directly or without his ever hearing about it.
     
  37. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    Absolutely. I was just mentioning that it is not usual so that other foreros would not use it haphazardly.

    I agree. If Pierre doesn't address Paul directly, it would however be far more common to say, Pierre demande que Paul parte. So, in short, yes, it is sometimes possible to use the subjunctive after the (positive) dire que, but it sounds a bit stilted and would be best avoided in speech and common writing.

    […]
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  38. Hannah_ New Member

    Hebew, Russian
    Hello everyone!
    I am puzzled by the expression dire que. When does it require subjonctif and when indicatif?

    For example here the subjonctif is not used:
    On dit qu’elle est enceinte et son ventre se gonffle.

    And here it does:
    J’ai dit que to viennes avec nous

    Why is that? The explanation from about.com is not sufficiant because it indicates this expression requires subjonctif only in its negative or interrogatory form. As you can see, both examples are in the affirmative form.

    Merci!
     
  39. Oddmania

    Oddmania Senior Member

    France
    French
    Hi,

    Actually, most of the time, dire que is followed by the indicative.

    J'ai dit que tu viennes avec nous sounds very poor and awkward. It should be either Je t'ai dit de venir avec nous (dire à quelqu'un de faire quelque chose → I told you to come with us) or J'ai demandé que tu viennes avec nous (I demanded that you to come with us).
     
  40. Hannah_ New Member

    Hebew, Russian
    Thank you very much!
    And what about its negative or interrogatory forms? Do they require indicative as well?
     
  41. Oddmania

    Oddmania Senior Member

    France
    French
    Yes, I believe so (unlike penser que in the negative, for instance).
     
  42. Kowh New Member

    Nashville, TN
    English
    I've gotten myself lost in this thread, and I don't think I have found the answer to the question I now have. I'd like to translate the following statement: "...so that they do not say that playing golf is a logical response..." and wonder if the subjunctive would be used in this case. I'd offer this:

    "...pour qu'ils ne disent (pas) que jouer au golf soit une réponse logique..." or would I say,

    "...pour qu'ils ne disent (pas) que jouer au golf est une réponse logique..."?

    Thank you for help!!
     
  43. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    My only reason for using a subjunctive in your example would be a subjunctive by attraction.
     
  44. Kowh New Member

    Nashville, TN
    English
    Thank you, Geostan. I've never heard about "subjunctive by attraction," but I'm going to read upon that later today!
     
  45. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    :thumbsup: I agree. The phrase doesn't require the subjunctive because there is no opinion or uncertainty triggering that mode. However, the verb of the "encapsulating" clause is itself in the subjunctive (disent) and that mode may "leak" into the depending clause.

    For more details about the subjunctive by attraction, see the following threads:
    FR: il arrive que l'on veuille que + mode
    FR: bien que <subjonctif> + mode d'une proposition relative ou subordonnée
    FR: afin de s'assurer que + mode
    FR: c'est la première fois que + mode
    FR: I don't think he believes it's true
    à moins que tu me dises que tu ne sois/seras pas là
    à moins qu'elle n'impliquât que + mode
    bien qu'il existe des X qui puissent - subjonctif
     
  46. Icetrance Senior Member

    US English
    It's not like in the phrase "qui que ce soit qui soit tombé", where the subjunctive is required. That wouldn't be "le subjonctif par attraction"?
     
  47. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    No. In your example the subjunctive is simply required, not by attraction but by rule. This is a relative clause dependent on a concessive.
     
  48. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    I beg to disagree. The second subjunctive in Icetrance's phrase can well be a subjunctive by attraction. The appropriate mode actually depends on the exact context. By the way, I can't find a good context for such a phrase. What did you have in mind, Icetrance?
     
  49. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    If so, you are suggesting that qui est tombé is possible. That makes no sense to me. If this were translated into English, I would assume it would be whoever fell, which is a typical concessive construction.
     
  50. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    Yes, the indicative is possible: qui que ce soit qui est tombé. But, as I said, I cannot find a good context for that phrase (regardless of the mode used). To translate whoever fell, I'd rather say: quiconque est tombé.
     

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