FR: Although I was lost, he did not seem to be

FreddieFirebird

Senior Member
USA
English
Hello,
I am trying to say "Although I was lost, he did not seem to be." My best guess is "Bien que j'aie été égaré, il ne semblait pas d'être"

I don't know if I used the subjunctive correctly in the past, and I doubt I did the "d'être" thing properly either.
Thanks for any help you can give me!
 
  • PhilRami

    Member
    French
    The most correct form would be "Bien que je fusse égaré, lui ne le semblait pas", but if you need a more colloquial form you may translate "si j'étais perdu, lui ne le semblait pas".
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland

    FreddieFirebird

    Senior Member
    USA
    English
    Thanks both for the help. I only learned subjunctive in the present tense, so being able to read some on the threads helps me learn the other tenses. I do need the literary form here, as this is an activity about "Le Petit Prince", so I will go with "Bien qu je fusse égaré, il ne semblait pas l'être."

    I just want to "talk through" my errors if I may, so that I better understand.

    1. je fusse égaré = passive, so it's the imperfect subjunctive of être, followed by a past participle.
    2. l'être = the "l' " is there to represent "it", that is, to be lost.

    Is my understanding correct? Thanks,
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    1. Your interpretation that égarer is in the passive voice is definitely possible, but I'd prefer to say that the verb is être (not égarer) and that égaré is just an adjective of state, like être fâché, être fatigué.
    2. Yes, l' represents "it", but it refers to "lost" alone, not "to be lost".
     

    pointvirgule

    Senior Member
    langue française
    As a sidenote, I think it needs to be repeated that, as a matter of style, it's always a good thing to avoid the subjunctive mood, whenever possible. "How can I kill that subjunctive?" is a good exercise for finding more flowing phrasings. Thus, you could write,
    J'étais perdu, mais lui ne semblait pas l'être. :)
     

    pointvirgule

    Senior Member
    langue française
    Well, the subjunctive often produces sentences that are more stilted than necessary. Compare bien que j'aie été to même si j'étais or j'étais... mais. ;) Don't you agree?

    Et considère ceci : si on remplace bien que je fusse par bien que j'aie été, ne suggère-t-on pas une antériorité, la possibilité que j'aie été perdu dans le passé, mais avant l'autre personnage et non en même temps ? Difficulté complètement superflue quand on peut simplement employer l'imparfait de l'indicatif.

    Alors, oui, je suis d'avis que c'est toujours une bonne idée de se demander si on a vraiment besoin d'une tournure au subjonctif quand on rédige une phrase. Parfois, on ne peut pas y échapper, mais souvent, si. Mais je ne voulais pas créer une polémique, seulement suggérer une solution différente.
     

    FreddieFirebird

    Senior Member
    USA
    English
    I'm sure in some cases it is better to avoid subjunctive, and the passive for that matter. But my classes are learning about both of those functions so in this case it's better to use them! But I genuinely appreciate your telling me the ways/reasons to avoid it.
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Well, the subjunctive often produces sentences that are more stilted than necessary. Compare bien que j'aie été to même si j'étais or j'étais... mais. ;) Don't you agree?
    In this specific example, I do. But I disagree about systematically avoiding the subjunctive. :)

    Je ne pense par exemple pas que tu dises que le subjonctif de cette phrase-ci soit à éviter. ;)
     
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