FR: Qu'il soit en retard n'est pas bon signe - mode d'une proposition sujet



What mood should be used in a ''proposition subordonné relative'' which acts as a subject? Subjunctive or indicative?
For instance:
Qu'il finisse/finit ses études le rend heureux
Qu'il a/ait perdu son argent de poche l'a rendu malheureux.
Qu'il soit/est en retard n'est pas bon signe.

In these sentences it seems to me that the actions are rather factual, he really has lost his money, he checks his wallet and there is nothing left, or we can see he is late by looking at the clock. So it feels strange to use the subjunctive.

Qu'il soit d'accord m'étonnerait.

However, in this sentence I'm fine with the subjunctive, because I don't know yet what his decision is, he may agree or not.

Is there a rule that says you have to use subjunctive in a relative clause that has the function of subject? Can you use either the subjunctive or the indicative, depending on what you mean?
  • arundhati

    Senior Member
    French - France
    "Qu'il soit en retard n'est pas bon signe."
    sounds fine to me,. The two previous ones are clumsy more because of the subject being the same as the object.
    For example you could say: "Qu'il finisse ses études a rendu son père heureux".
    In all these examples subjonctive is mandatory.

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    I agree with arundhati that most of those examples are clumsy. But to answer your grammar question, you should definitely use the subjunctive in such subject clauses.

    ''proposition subordonné relative'' which acts as a subject
    Note that those are actually not "propositions subordonnées relatives" in this case… :)


    Thanks for your replies!

    I know they are pretty awkward examples, but I got them from a textbook that I'm working with at school and I just have to deal with their clumsiness...

    What are they, if not subordinate clauses?
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