Subjunctive trigger?

BrianC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Subjunctive trigger?

Hi, what specifically triggered the subjunctive in “ Depuis, impossible de trouver une position qui puisse soulager la douleur.”?


Over time I’ve built a list of “subjunctive triggers” and all of them are of the format “[something] que”, but there’s no “que” in this case. 

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Brian, 

The idea of impossibility just like possibility triggers the subjunctive -

Il est possible qu'elle se soit trompée = It's possible that she made a mistake

Il est impossible que ce soit vrai It's impossible that this is true

Here are a few lessons which might help you with your list of 'subjunctive triggers' :

https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/glossary/mood/the-french-subjunctive-mood-le-mode-subjonctif-ou-le-subjonctif

 

Hope this helps!

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Brian,

Interesting point!

https://french.kwiziq.com/questions/view/je-ne-pense-pas-que-je-puisse-le-faire

The above may help you because it looks like a similar issue was posted a couple of years ago.

Have a look and if this does not help then post again and I will try to help further.

Bonne journée

Jim

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Brian, I wonder whether an explanation such as use of hyperbole fits the bill, noting that ‘qui’ can also contribute to ‘triggering’ the subjunctive, not just ‘que’  ? 

https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/superlative-subjunctive/

BrianC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hi Jim, that’s an interesting thread (and well remembered from 2 years ago!) on the use of the subjunctive, but I think it doesn’t specifically answer my question as “je ne pense pas que” is a trigger I’m aware of. Hi Maarten, that’s a great link, and the use of hyperbole seems to be the trigger here. Very interesting to see both “que & qui” being used - I hadn’t seen that before. 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

In French, the statement of an absolute often triggers the use of the subjunctive. The absolute could be the use of a superlative or, as in this case, words such as impossible. If you want to express that the statement of the absolute is your opinion  (and therefore carries some doubt), you use the subjunctive. If it is an absolute truth, you use the indicative.

To quote an example from Lawless French's page on this subject: https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/superlative-subjunctive/

C'est le dernier message qu'il ait écrit. -- This is the last message that he wrote. The limiting word is dernier. Using the subjunctive (ait) also says that it's the last message I know of. There may be others.

C'est le dernier message qu'il a écrit. -- This is the last message that he wrote. Here, it isn't just your opinion, there may be proof that there aren't any other message. In this case, you use the indicative mood (a).

Subjunctive trigger?

Hi, what specifically triggered the subjunctive in “ Depuis, impossible de trouver une position qui puisse soulager la douleur.”?


Over time I’ve built a list of “subjunctive triggers” and all of them are of the format “[something] que”, but there’s no “que” in this case. 

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