FR: il te faut aller / il faut que tu ailles

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Senior Member
English (US)
Good evening!
I would like to know how to make my French sound more "beautiful" for my upcoming concours. My teacher tells me that I should avoid the subjunctive (i.e. Il te faut aller au marché vs. Il faut que tu ailles au marché). [ ... ] In the concours I will be judged on how I express myself in French.
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  • itka

    Senior Member
    My teacher tells me that I should avoid the subjunctive (i.e. Il te faut aller au marché vs. Il faut que tu ailles au marché) […].
    I'm not sure I understand very well what you mean (or what meant your teacher !)
    "Not to use the subjunctive" ? I hope he didn't advise you to use "il te faut aller au marché" instead of "il faut que tu ailles au marché" ?:eek:
    I completely disagree with these statements. It would be very weird to say : "Il me faut aller au marché" ! ... […]
    Are you sure you understood well what your teacher said ?
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    Senior Member
    Langue française ♀
    I agree entirely with itka (bonjour :)). Il te/me faut aller au marché doesn't sound natural at all - by this I mean that it's not "spontaneous".

    Now if the idea is to avoid the subjunctive - for some unknown reason - you can always change the verb.

    Il faut que tu ailles can become (simply): Tu dois aller.
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    Senior Member
    British English, England
    As people have said above, this seems a very odd suggestion indeed, not just because the examples you gave are rather unnatural but also because the subjunctive can, in my opinion, give rise to some very beautiful French. I suspect the reason your teacher suggests you avoid it is that it is more difficult to conjugate, which leads on to my question - what level is the concours at?
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    Meyer Wolfsheim

    Senior Member
    I am no native, but I think you shouldn't avoid the subjunctive which can give lend to awkward constructions which have already been pointed out by natives. But if you haven't mastered the subjunctive conjugations completely, then if you can you might want to use it sparingly (if possible). Some situations it's obligatory so don't get lazy on it. Personally, I will use the subjunctive as much as possible when appropriate (really due to Spanish).

    As you should, be simple when possible and say what you know how to say. If you go for constructions which you aren't familiar with you're bound to trip up.


    Senior Member
    English - America
    I completely disagree with these statements. It would be very weird to say : "Il me faut aller au marché" ! ...
    Combien d'année as-tu ? Une fois, (je suis presque certain que) j'aie lu que la première forme « il te faut » est plus soutenu en francais. Peut-être, ça c'est d'autre fois, non ?
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    Senior Member
    I'm not unfamiliar with wordings like "il me/te faut + Infinitive" and I wouldn't say it sounds unnatural. However, I'm positive, as has been said, that "il faut que je/tu + subj." is much more idiomatic.

    Plus, those two aren't exactly synonymous.
    Il faut que is more like you've got to while il te faut is closer to you need to or you want to (in its BE "need" sense).

    Interestingly enough, il te faut seems to sound more natural in the future ===>
    Il te faudra aller au marché.
    in sentences like
    Si tu veux manger un poulet à midi, il te faudra d'abord aller au marché, puis trouver le marchand de volailles, puis .....
    Incidentally, the above example emphasizes its "you'll need to" sense.

    Again, let me insist that there's absolutely nothing wrong with the (present) subjunctive. And it isn't that hard to conjugate, at least if you use regular 1st or 3d group verbs.
    Tu manges ==> Il faut que tu manges.

    If still in doubt, I would recommend Nicomon's excellent suggestion ==>
    Tu dois aller.

    PS : I was wondering whether your teacher is from the South-West. "Il te faut" is more common there. ==>
    "Il te faut la pile' = "you want the flashlight" (as it's very dark there).
    [don't use "pile" in this sense too far up North or you won't be understood :D]
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    I'm don't agree your teacher. I suggest you to have a look on this link Subjonctif — Wikipédia and I can assure you that the examples this article gives are used in conversation. I can tell you too that is the correct way of speaking French.
    The way you wrote "Il te faut aller au marché" is usefull if you want to make some humor like caricaturing a noble or if you want to speak french like in the "middle age" " Fi chevalier, il me faut aller au chateau pour voir séant ma mie"
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    Senior Member
    English (US)
    Je vous remercie tous ! Quoique je n'avais pas la chance de voir vos commentaires, j'ai fait exactement ce que vous m'avez conseillé. Il me semblait bien bizzare ne pas employer le subjonctive et j'avais beau y essayer mais il m'était si difficile. Or je sais que je ne dois pas me fier ce à quoi mon prof (il n'est vraiment pas mon prof, mais le seul prof du français dans mon école) dit puisqu'il ne parle aucunement bien le français. Merci !

    (i have no french this year. but i took two years so far (french 3 and 4), too complicated to explain why i took those classes)
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    Senior Member
    I saw this sentence on the dictionary of this website: "Il nous faut appréhender la réalité de la vie." So, I think maybe it's not common but natural, no.
    But I came across yet this one also there: il faudra te décider.

    Now my question is this: Does "il faudra te décider" means "il te faudra décider"? Like the construction we have discussed above.

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    No, it is quite different.

    Il faudra te décider (pronominal verb se décider) = Tu devras te décider → You will have to make up your mind.
    Il te faudra décider (regular verb décider) = Tu devras décider → You will have to decide.


    Senior Member
    I'm still confused about this "falloir"! I know "falloir" has to be preceded by the pronouns but could someone please put me out of my misery and tell me why it says:
    Il a des manières de sauvage, il faudrait le civiliser !

    and why not: "il le faudrait civiliser"

    Merci beaucoup


    Senior Member
    French Paris France
    In that single example, I think both are possible (without any change in the meaning) :

    "Il le faudra civiliser"
    "Il faudra le civiliser"

    In this example the "le" is a direct object, to be distinguished from the "te" used in Capello"s examples:

    "Il faudra te décider" = il faudra que tu te décides ("te/tu" is a subject)
    "Il te faudra décider" = C'est "à toi" qu'il reviendra de décider (indirect object)

    It is possible to combine both formulations:

    "Il te le faudra décider" or "Il te le faudra civiliser" : correct


    Senior Member
    I have a hard imagining anyone say "Il le faudrait civiliser". I think you might be confusing several different concepts, Hamedato.
    I know "falloir" has to be preceded by the pronouns...
    It doesn't have to. Il faut... means "it is necessary to...". Il me/te/lui/etc. faut... means "I/You/He/etc. must...". The indirect pronoun makes the statement personal. It pretty much amounts to changing "It is required to..." into "I/You/He is required to...".

    The sentence "Il faudrait le civiliser" is completely different. The pronoun "le" is direct. Literally, "Il faudrait le civiliser." It would be well-advised to civilize him. In other words, "That man should be taught some manners!".

    In Old French, it was common to put direct pronouns before the very first verb when the sentence had several verbs in a row. So, instead of "Je vais le faire" (I'm going to do it), you might come across "Je le vais faire" in old texts. "Il le faudrait civiliser" would follow the same pattern, but that would be a very archaic turn of phrase (and it wouldn't sound very natural to me, even in an archaic context. I can imagine reading "Il le faudrait quérir" in a seventeenth-century play, but I would be surprised to read "Il le faudrait éduquer" or "Il le faudrait civiliser". It doesn't sound right to me, somehow).
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