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

SydneyBox

Senior Member
English -Ireland
#1
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

 
  • coursic

    Senior Member
    France French
    #2
    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.
     

    SydneyBox

    Senior Member
    English -Ireland
    #3
    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.
     

    hersko1

    Senior Member
    French - France
    #4
    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...
     

    SydneyBox

    Senior Member
    English -Ireland
    #5
    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
    Thanks to both of you for your help with the meanings although as a learner I have not come across "hopefully" for "heureusement" before.
    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.
     

    SydneyBox

    Senior Member
    English -Ireland
    #9
    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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