FR: before he turned 25

FreddieFirebird

Senior Member
USA
English
Hey- I am wanting to check the usage of the Plus Que Parfait in the following circumstance.
Context - giving a eulogy for someone

Avant l'âge de 25 ans, il avait déjà épousé la femme de ses rêves
Avant qu'il ait eu 25 ans (before he turned 25??) il s'était marié à la femme...

Does either of those work?
I *think* I remember that avant que will require subjunctive...
Thanks
 
  • olivier68

    Senior Member
    French Paris France
    Bonsoir Freddie,

    Votre utilisation du plus-que-parfait est, ici, tout à fait correcte.
    "avant que" requiert effectivement le subjonctif.

    Mais la phrase semble poser d'autres problèmes.

    1) en français, on dira peu, je pense, "l'âge de" : on se contentera d'indiquer l'âge :
    ---> Dès (ses) 25 ans, il avait / s'était...
    ---> A moins de 25 ans, il avait / s'était déjà...
    ---> Avant (même) ses 25 ans, ...


    2) Avant qu'il ait eu 25 ans (before he turned 25??) il s'était marié à la femme...
    On comprend bien le sens, mais on ne dirait sans doute pas ainsi : quand le sujet d'une proposition principale est le même que celui d'une subordonnée, le français me semble généralement préférer une tournure infinitive :
    ---> avant (même) d'avoir (eu) 25 ans, il s'était marié

    Hope it helps!
     

    FreddieFirebird

    Senior Member
    USA
    English
    Can I make sure I understand? My brain is not working at the moment, so English!

    My sentences are technically correct. I used PQP correctly. However, the way I expressed age is not very authentic. And in the second sentence, although it works, when the subject in the two clauses is the same, most people would prefer to eliminate one of the subjects to avoid the repetitive sound. But the PQP would still be needed.

    Thank you...I am teaching this soon and I have to be sure I know what i am doing! […]
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    olivier68

    Senior Member
    French Paris France
    Hi Firebird,

    1) use of PQP here: :thumbsup:
    2) "avant que": requires subjonctives (or an infinitive clause: "avant de")
    2) expression of age: not incorrect, but not that usual
    3) infinitive clause: no... it is not really to avoid the repetitive sound. When I mean "le même sujet", I mean both subjects refer to the SAME person/thing, whatever the way these subjects are expressed. Consider the following example:

    ---> mon père (subject 1) pense qu'il (subject 2) viendra demain

    a) if "il" (subject 2) refers to "my father" (subject 1), then, the transformation into an infinitive clause is possible (and, for me, has to be done): ---> "mon père (subject 1) pense venir demain"

    b) if "il" doesn't refer to "my father" (but to any masculine person), then, the transformation is not possible and the sentence remains as it is.
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    en français, on dira peu, je pense, "l'âge de" : on se contentera d'indiquer l'âge
    I agree, but only to some extent. It would indeed not strike me as odd to say, avant qu'il n'ait atteint l'âge de 25 ans.

    the transformation into an infinitive clause is possible (and, for me, has to be done)
    It is certainly not compulsory with penser. I find both solutions equally natural as far as I'm concerned. See also FR: penser + infinitif / penser que + verbe conjugué - lorsque le sujet est le même.

    Anyway, with avant, things are a bit different. In this case the infinitive clause is certainly a lot more common than the subordinate clause with a conjugated verb, but the latter is still possible.

    Avant même d'avoir eu 25 ans, il avait déjà… :thumbsup:
    Avant même d'avoir atteint l'âge de 25 ans, il avait déjà…
    :thumbsup:

    Avant qu'il ait eu 25 ans, il avait déjà… :thumbsdown: ← not incorrect, but slightly odd because the subject of the subordinate clause is the same as the main subject

    but:

    Avant qu'il ait eu 25 ans, j'avais déjà… :thumbsup: ← totally fine because the subjects are different


    As to the use of the plus-que-parfait, note that it's exactly the same as in English: it indicates anteriority relative to some past event.

    Avant d'avoir eu 25 ans, il avait déjà épousé la femme de ses rêves :tick:= Before he turned 25, he had already married the woman of his dreams.
     
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