Agir / s'agir meanings

Prince Of The Infidels

New Member
American English
Bonjour. I'm wondering if there is any easy way to know which meaning of agir is being used in a sentence. Also, are there any easy ways to remember the different meanings of agir / s'agir and when they can be used?

WordReference defines it as to act, behave, affect, be a question of [sth], be, be necessary to do, must.

Is there any reason why its use would be favored over être, falloir, or affecter? I've seen it in French news and books multiple times and it has stumped me each time because it seems to be used differently in each case. It is a difficult verb for me because of how varied the meanings can be.

Merci pour votre aide.
 
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  • ChirpingBird

    Member
    French
    Hi POTI (if I may),
    I will try to help but since you have no concrete example it’s not so easy.

    Let’s just say that “agir” means to act, as WR defines it.

    It gets escalated when it comes to the pronominal form “s’agir”, which means a bit like “to be”.
    Il s’agit d’une question de vie ou de mort can be translated by “it’s a life and death issue”
    « De quoi s’agit-il ? What is it about ? »

    It didn’t ring any bell respect to a potential connection with « falloir » and « s’agir », as no wording or idiom came up to my mind.

    My answer is not wrong but could be completed, especially by a native English speaker who learnt French. Regardless I’m still thrilled to see American people willing to speak French :)
     

    Prince Of The Infidels

    New Member
    American English
    Ouais, vous avez raison, je pourrais y ajouter. Un exemple: «Mais il s'agissait d'interrogatoires d'identité qui n'ont pas duré longtemps.»

    Donc, la traduction de cette phrase est à peu pres: "But it was the interrogations that didn't last long."?

    Why not use être? Is there a certain nuance agir / s'agir has?

    Et merci pour votre réponse. Je n'ai jamais eu de succès avec l'espagnol, et naturellement, le Français est mieux. ;)
     
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    ChirpingBird

    Member
    French
    Donc, la traduction de cette phrase est à peu pres: "But it was the interrogations that didn't last long."
    Oui tout à fait ! « but they were interrogations that didn’t last long » or « but those interrogations didn’t last long »


    Et donc pourquoi ne pas utiliser être ? C’est une bonne question mais, toujours est-il que, « s’agir » est d’un niveau linguistique plus soutenu. Il y a peut être une autre subtilité que j’ignore mais dont l’importance sera moindre et n’empêchera pas de comprendre ma première explication.

    En espérant avoir aidé, et ne lâchez pas l’espagnol :)
     
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