Encore eût-il fallu que je le susse

Teafrog

Senior Member
UK English (& rusty French…)
I was recently among some (erudite) French people, and the following (formal) exchange occurred:

Person A: Pourquoi n'est tu pas venu à mon anniversaire ?
Person B: Encore eut-il fallu que je le susse

I nearly chocked on whatever I was eating at the time when I heard it :eek:, and it took me a very short while to comprehend, but my initial reaction gave me away :eek:. I was then asked how I would translate that in English and … my attempt was rather feeble.

It was: A/ Why didn’t you come to my birthday, B/ I would have had to know about it.

Is that correct? I’m very uncertain about the tense, and don’t know how to fit the “encore”, in this context. Is it “well then”? :confused:

Thanks
 
  • VIZZ

    Senior Member
    I guess you're right!
    Person B means that she was unaware (date, place of the birthday).
    And that person does not mean that she is sorry. In fact, it rather sounds like a reproach (why didn't anyone tell me it was your birthday / birthday party?).
     

    Bengal

    Member
    French, English
    You should also know that such an expression is widely used among "erudite" circles because of its delightful double-entendre.

    We French often have a great laugh using that tense with its quirky grammar.
     

    lalanguedemoliere

    Member
    France French
    The meaning of " encore faudrait - il " is : Maybe I would do it IF...( it implies restriction and condition)

    "Encore eût-il fallu" : I might have done so IF I had known about it....had I known about it....

    Les conditions ne sont pas remplies ou n'étaient pas remplies au moment de l'événement.
     

    Teafrog

    Senior Member
    UK English (& rusty French…)
    You should also know that such an expression is widely used among "erudite" circles because of its delightful double-entendre.
    We French often have a great laugh using that tense with its quirky grammar.
    Yes, I (eventually) realised that person B would have liked advance knowledge of the b-day party, and I am aware "susse" comes from the verb "avoir" and that it is imperfect subjunctive - I checked it immediately in the WR conjugator (which I always find very handy) -
    I also realised (a little too late) about the double-entendre, but didn't know it was widely used as a joke. I am not familiar with this tense at all; I am familiar with "il faut que je le sache", etc.

    It may sound very strange :eek:, but the reason for my post is that I would like to know from an English grammarian, teacher, whatever (I am none of these) if my English translation is correct. Does it fit the French tense?
    I promised my friends I would check the accuracy of the English translation and get back to them. Does this make sense? :confused:
     

    Oluc (Yvon)

    Banned
    Français, English
    You wrote "avoir". Did you mean "savoir"?

    "A/ Why didn’t you come to my birthday, B/ I would have had to know about it.

    Is that correct? I’m very uncertain about the tense, and don’t know how to fit the “encore”, in this context. Is it “well then”?"

    I'd say "encore" means "first of all". How to render the 2nd form past conditional form of "falloir" and then the imperfect subjunctive of "savoir"? Can anyone fit a "were" in there?

    I should like to hear from English grammarians and linguists too!

    lalanguedemoliere gives the correct meaning but Teafrog seems to want more, like a double-entendre in the English too?
     

    lilatranslator

    Senior Member
    French/Algerian Arabic
    I was recently among some (erudite) French people, and the following (formal) exchange occurred:

    Person A: Pourquoi n'est tu pas venu à mon anniversaire ?
    Person B: Encore eut-il fallu que je le susse

    I nearly chocked on whatever I was eating at the time when I heard it :eek:, and it took me a very short while to comprehend, but my initial reaction gave me away :eek:. I was then asked how I would translate that in English and … my attempt was rather feeble.

    It was: A/ Why didn’t you come to my birthday, B/ I would have had to know about it.

    Is that correct? I’m very uncertain about the tense, and don’t know how to fit the “encore”, in this context. Is it “well then”? :confused:

    Thanks
    Il y a un peu de sarcasme dans sa réponse et un reproche masqué:
    Je dirais donc: "It would've been nice to know about it first. Don't you think?"
     

    sorry66

    Senior Member
    English, England
    In keeping with sarky, old-fashioned language.
    Why didn’t you come to my birthday party?
    Had I been apprised of the matter (OR that auspicious event), I might well have done.
     

    Oluc (Yvon)

    Banned
    Français, English
    I would leave the last word "done" out but the "might" is the only hint at the French subjunctive and the entire subordinate clause lifts the expression up to about the same "elitist" level, wouldn't you say?
     

    floise

    Senior Member
    U.S.;English
    Oluc,

    quoting you: I would leave the last word "done" out

    I believe that British English adds the 'done' as a substitute for the full past participle (in this case, come) that is left out in AE.

    Floise
     

    Teafrog

    Senior Member
    UK English (& rusty French…)
    You wrote "avoir". Did you mean "savoir"?
    I did mean "savoir, of course, my finger didn't connect with the S key :rolleyes:
    In keeping with sarky, old-fashioned language.
    Why didn’t you come to my birthday party?
    Had I been apprised of the matter (OR that auspicious event), I might well have done.
    I like that. It keeps the 'old arty-farty' feel of the original sentence :D. Does the "I might well" account for the "encore"? then?
    How about: I would have had to have known about it, at the very least.
    :thumbsup: That sounds great to me :tick:. Are you confident about "at the very least" = "encore"? (that's one of the 'bits' niggling me, and I need to be sure). Do you feel it keeps the original sarcastic tone?

    I like the two sentences I've put in bold above. Thanks a lot, all you lot :)
     

    sorry66

    Senior Member
    English, England
    I would have had to have known about it, at the very least.

    This is a complex struture, shouldn't this be 'I would have had to know about it':cross: Please ignore - confusion following lack of sleep!

    There is an interesting discussion on this grammatical structure here. For those who are linguists.
    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=733854&referrerid=189603

    Oluc - for me the 'done' in my sentence is not essential but it completes the sentence.

    'Does the "I might well" account for the "encore"? then? '

    According to languedemolière above it does.
     

    sorry66

    Senior Member
    English, England
    Had I been apprised of the matter, I may well have come.

    I prefer the 'may'

    The 'come' could correspond to the French 'suce'!
     

    bloomiegirl

    Senior Member
    US English
    I would have had to have known about it, at the very least.
    This is a complex structure,
    It's complex due to the addition of "would have" to emphasize the fact that I had not known.

    shouldn't this be 'I would have had to know about it':cross:
    I just wouldn't say this.

    There is an interesting discussion on this grammatical structure here. For those who are linguists.
    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=733854&referrerid=189603
    I looked at this other thread, but I don't think it applies. In my sentence, knowing about the party must precede attending it, if one was expected to be there... Besides, I don't have their grammar book either!:)

    Are you confident about "at the very least" = "encore"? (that's one of the 'bits' niggling me, and I need to be sure). Do you feel it keeps the original sarcastic tone?
    Yes I think so, but don't have time now to post the (TFLi) reference.:(

    But you also referred us to languedemoliere, whose entry is growing on me, but I might alter it to read: I might have done so, if only I had known about it.
     

    sorry66

    Senior Member
    English, England
    'I would have had to know about it':cross:

    You're quite right BloomieGirl! I was still too involved in that other thread cited above. What was I thinking of? ! Put it down to correcting lots of homework on the 'present perfect' into the early hours of the morning.

    But what do you think of:

    Had I been apprised of the matter, I may well have come.
     

    gustave

    Senior Member
    français
    chers amis
    j'ajoute à toutes vos propositions que la phrase est une citation d'un album d'Astérix, où un personnage romain (un centurion je crois) s'appelle encoreutilfaluquejelesus.

    Je crois que c'est là le côté érudit de l'homme qui parle, plus que sa maîtrise de la grammaire française.

    Salut.

    PS : je précise : il s'agit du préfet de Lugdunum dans Le tour de Gaule.
    PS2 : Poisonus Fungus dans la version anglaise. Évidemment, dans le contexte qui nous intéresse, ça n'apporte pas grand chose !
     

    DM58

    New Member
    English - Ireland
    My two cents...

    All of the above suggestions are too long-winded !

    An English speaker, relaxed, would quickly have answered simply....

    "Well, had I known about it....."

    The "well" perfectly replaces the "encore"... and the italics are meant to simply point out that in stressing the word "known"..... the person didn't know it, and that that was not his/ her fault...

    Hope this helps.....
     

    Mauditbloke

    New Member
    english-english
    chers amis
    j'ajoute à toutes vos propositions que la phrase est une citation d'un album d'Astérix, où un personnage romain (un centurion je crois) s'appelle encoreutilfaluquejelesus.

    Je crois que c'est là le côté érudit de l'homme qui parle, plus que sa maîtrise de la grammaire française.

    Salut.

    PS : je précise : il s'agit du préfet de Lugdunum dans Le tour de Gaule.
    PS2 : Poisonus Fungus dans la version anglaise. Évidemment, dans le contexte qui nous intéresse, ça n'apporte pas grand chose !
    Yes, indeed. I was so taken with this name when I first read Le Tour de Gaule that I looked it up. It's a line from Corneille's "Horace"; native French speakers can maybe confirm that it is or was widely used as some sort of paradigm for the sequence of tenses (at least in the French of Corneille's era). It's hard to imagine Goscinny would have used it if he had not expected it to be widely recognized and appreciated.
     

    orlando09

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Had I but known.... might work, to give a slightly pompous air to the English.

    I googled and found a lot of uses of this phrase my people, so I am guessing it is relatively well-known and people sometimes throw it into conversion, for its mildly "humourous" (because overly formal) sound. It seems to me one of a few examples of a stock phrase that's used in speech sometimes in certain situations but contains a kind of grammar not usually used otherwise in speech - like various proverbs, or also like "il fut un temps..."

    I thought of "fain had I known..." but then that is probably even more flowery and obscure (and archaic) than the French

    I think the double entendre suggestion that was given in English above would be overdoing it as I don't see this phrase has to involve any double entendre necessarily - maybe it depends how your mind works! I can see this conjugation (susse) could be used in a blue joke, but I think this phrase here is mostly just "humourous" because of being pompous. Also, like Oluc said, for it to mean "suck" it would be ...que je suçasse.
     
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    orlando09

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Or Que je suce, hence the pun.
    But not if following strict grammar, I don't think? And if you are being deliberately pedantic by using the imperfect subjunctive, then you would normally use correct grammar, no? But I suppose people forget that, because in normal conversation we are used to things like : il aurait fallu que je le sache/suce... (and that's why the joke works I guess).
     
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