Malheureusement, on a.../ Heureusement qu’on a...

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by SydneyBox, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. SydneyBox

    SydneyBox Senior Member

    London
    English -Ireland
    Malheureusement, on lui a dit de quoi il s’agissait
    Heureusement qu’on lui a dit de quoi il s’agissait

    I am comparing these two sentences from a mid 20C grammar drill. I do not understand why the first sentence has a comma and does not use que but the second sentence has no comma and does use que,

    Two other sentences following the same patterns don’t help me :- «Certainement qu’on lui a dit...» and «Involontairement, on lui a dit ...
    »

    Can you help by saying if there any grammatical significance in the differences in the two sentences in bold

    Thank you

     
  2. coursic Senior Member

    France
    France French
    I am afarid I can't explain why it is different, but when I translate it in English, the two sentecnes are quite different
    Unforunately, he has been told what it was about.
    We were fortunate we told him what it was about.
     
  3. SydneyBox

    SydneyBox Senior Member

    London
    English -Ireland
    Thanks, I thought at first that they might be adverbs qualifying different verbs in the triplet:- avoir/dire/agir but I got nowhere with that.
     
  4. hersko1

    hersko1 Senior Member

    Paris - France
    French - France
    Hi,
    you could also compare a same sentence with just this difference :
    Heureusement, on lui a dit...
    Heureusement qu'on lui a dit...
    They are actually quite different :
    Hopefuly, we told him...
    It's fortunate (that) we told him...
     
  5. SydneyBox

    SydneyBox Senior Member

    London
    English -Ireland
    Thanks to both of you for your help with the meanings although as a learner I have not come across "hopefully" for "heureusement" before.

    After googling some English grammar topics I found out for the first time about sentential adverbs. That is, those adverbs which modify whole sentences and not just verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. It looks to me as if sentential adverbs can often be paraphrased by "It is XXX that" where XXX is an adjective. It seems to be a controversial topic.

    A sentential adverb would lead me to the "que" examples. So far so good . However I am having a little trouble seeing if only a verb is modified in the "comma" (non-sentential?) examples.
     
  6. Quaeitur

    Quaeitur Mod'elle

    Lille, France
    French
    It might be because, for me at least, Heureusement, on lui a dit doesn't mean Hopefully, we told him... ;)
    There is no difference of meaning for me between Heureusement qu'on lui a dit and Heureusement, on lui a dit.
     
  7. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    Isn't it quite similar to the English?

    Fortunately, we told him...
    It's fortunate that we told him...
     
  8. Quaeitur

    Quaeitur Mod'elle

    Lille, France
    French
    That's exactly it.
     
  9. SydneyBox

    SydneyBox Senior Member

    London
    English -Ireland
    Thanks Keith and quaiter .
    Happily, (there I go again) in English we can simply leave out "that" not to mention the bonus(?) of avoiding the subjunctive mood in french with the comma version
     

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