tous étaient contents vs. ils étaient tous contents

AndreasB2Kwiziq community member

tous étaient contents vs. ils étaient tous contents

So a sentence like "My friends came and they were all happy," can be translated in two different ways?

Mes amis sont venus et tous étaient contents.

Mes amis sont venus et ils étaient tous contents.

Is this then just a stylistic difference, or do these differ semantically as well? 

Asked 2 years ago
CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Andrea,

There is a slight difference between both sentences: ‘tous’ is a pronoun in both but its role in the sentence is either subject or complement

Mes amis sont venus et tous étaient contents → tous = subject of the verb

Mes amis sont venus et ils étaient tous contents → tous = complement of the subject ‘they’

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Andreas, 

We can do the same in English:

My friends came and all were happy/Mes amis sont venus et tous étaient contents.

My friends came and they were all happy/Mes amis sont venus et ils étaient tous contents.

Just 2 different turns of phrase with not a hair’s breadth between them as far as I can tell.

tous étaient contents vs. ils étaient tous contents

So a sentence like "My friends came and they were all happy," can be translated in two different ways?

Mes amis sont venus et tous étaient contents.

Mes amis sont venus et ils étaient tous contents.

Is this then just a stylistic difference, or do these differ semantically as well? 

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