Although = bien que + Le Subjonctif or même si + L'Indicatif

Just like in English with although and even if, you can express concession in French with two different expressions : bien que and même si.
BUT these two expressions won't be followed by the same tense mood.

Bien que + Le Subjonctif

Je suis en retard bien que je sois parti à l'heure.
I'm late even though I left on time.

Elle ne le fait pas, bien qu'elle le puisse.
She isn't doing it, although she can.

Bien que l'on ne s'entende pas, c'est quand même mon frère! 
Although we don't get along, he's still my brother!

Bien qu'il ne soit pas fatigué, il devrait aller se coucher.
Even though he is not tired, he should go to bed.

To say although in French, we use the expression bien que followed by a verb in Le Subjonctif.

ATTENTION:
Do not confuse bien que (although) with expressions using bien followed by que (that):

J'aimerais bien que tu fasses le petit-déjeuner.
I would like you to make breakfast.

-> Here it's the expression aimer bien (to like) followed by que.

 

Même si + L'Indicatif

Même s'il n'est pas fatigué, il devrait aller se coucher.
Even if he is not tired, he should go to bed.

Même si l'on ne s'entend pas, c'est quand même mon frère! 
Even if we don't get along, he's still my brother!

Même si je le voulais, elle ne me laisserait pas y aller.
Even if I wanted it, she wouldn't let me go.

Même si elle lui parlait, il ne changerait pas d'avis.
Even if she spoke to him, he wouldn't change his mind.

Même si means even if / even though, however it's always followed by a tense in L'Indicatif and never Le Subjonctif.

The difference between bien que + Le Subjonctif and même si + L'Indicatif is similar to the difference between although and even if, the first being more elegant and subtle than the latter.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Bien qu'il ne soit pas fatigué, il devrait aller se coucher.
Even though he is not tired, he should go to bed.


Même si elle lui parlait, il ne changerait pas d'avis.
Even if she spoke to him, he wouldn't change his mind.


Je suis en retard bien que je sois parti à l'heure.
I'm late even though I left on time.


Même si je le voulais, elle ne me laisserait pas y aller.
Even if I wanted it, she wouldn't let me go.


Bien que l'on ne s'entende pas, c'est quand même mon frère! 
Although we don't get along, he's still my brother!


Elle ne le fait pas, bien qu'elle le puisse.
She isn't doing it, although she can.


Même s'il n'est pas fatigué, il devrait aller se coucher.
Even if he is not tired, he should go to bed.


Même si l'on ne s'entend pas, c'est quand même mon frère! 
Even if we don't get along, he's still my brother!


Q&A

helen

Kwiziq community member

9 August 2018

1 reply

Imparfait after subjunctive? Just use imparfait subjunctive?

I just took one of the writing quizzes and am confused by two grammar issues: using imparfait after "bien que". The sentence: "even though she had already been camping in this forest for a week.

1. I wrote: "Bien qu'elle campait déjà depuis une semaine dans cette forêt"  I assumed this is correct because we're saying "had already been" with depuis.  However, the correct answer was supposed to be, "Bien qu'elle campe déjà dans cette forêt depuis une semaine" ( I thought the present tense with "depuis" would mean "was or has been"camping).

2. Also, since the verb is after "bien que" should we use the subjunctive imparfait: compât ? "Bien qu'elle campât déjà depuis une semaine dans cette forêt"

Alan

Kwiziq community member

11 August 2018

11/08/18

Your second example, using the imperfect subjunctive, is given as one of the correct answers. But, like you, I don't understand why the present subjunctive is considered preferable.

Tom

Kwiziq community member

2 August 2018

3 replies

Même si

Cannot "même si" be equally followed l'imparfait del'ndicatif as in:

Même s'il me le disait, je ne le croirais pas.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

15 August 2018

15/08/18

Hi Tom,


Yes of course you can use the imparfait after 'même si',  as in your example and the following one, 


"Même si je voulais le faire, je ne le ferais pas."


The point of the lesson is that it is a tense from the Indicative Mood and not the Subjunctive in the case of 'bien que'.


Hope this helps!

Tom

Kwiziq community member

15 August 2018

15/08/18

Cécile, thanks for your helpful reply.


It's just that the lesson specifically states :


"Même si can also mean even if / even though, however it's always followed by Le Présent Indicatif and never Le Subjonctif."


which would seem to mandate only the use of Le Présent de l'Indicatif to the exlusion of other tenses of l'Indicatif.


Thanks again.


Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

16 August 2018

16/08/18

Bonjour Tom !


Thanks very much for your feedback!


Indeed, the lesson needed to be updated as "même si" can be followed by any tense in L'Indicatif :)


It's now done!


Merci et bonne journée !

Donald

Kwiziq community member

29 July 2017

2 replies

Puis-je utiliser le mot "quoique" dans cette phrase?

"Elle ne le fait pas, bien qu'elle le puisse."

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

9 August 2017

9/08/17

Bonjour Donald !

Yes, here quoique is a synonym of bien que, and will also be followed by Le Subjonctif.

Elle ne le fait pas, bien qu'elle le puisse.
Elle ne le fait pas, quoiqu'elle le puisse.


À bientôt !

Donald

Kwiziq community member

11 August 2017

11/08/17

Merci Aurélie. Au fait, je me demandais où exactement que je trouverais les réponses à les questionnes que j'avais posé. Duh! J'en ai trouvé. Ou peut-être, j'ai fait un erreur et j'aurais dû écrire .

Gillian

Kwiziq community member

20 July 2017

1 reply

Verbs that are follewd by subjunctive

Ron

Kwiziq community member

21 July 2017

21/07/17

Bonsoir Gillian,
I believe that your question is about the use of le subjonctif. The subjonctif follows certain phrases and some verbs. The link below is for the Subjunctivisor here on this site:
https://www.lawlessfrench.com/subjunctivisor/
It provides which phrases and which verbs require the use of le subjonctif, i.e. bien que, accepter que, etc.
I think that you will find this link quite useful, I know that I have. It is a fantastic tool
Best regards,
Bonne chance,

Donald

Kwiziq community member

5 July 2017

1 reply

Puis-je utiliser le mot "quoique" ici?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

7 July 2017

7/07/17

Bonjour Donald !

Yes, as "quoique" and "bien que" are essentially synonyms, and both take Le Subjonctif!

Thanks to you, I've now added it to possible alternate answers :)

Merci et à bientôt !

Arash

Kwiziq community member

29 April 2017

1 reply

Ne explétif

Are there cases where "ne explétif " is used with "bien que"?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

1 May 2017

1/05/17

Bonjour Arash !

No, you never use the "ne explétif" with "bien que" :)

Bonne journée !

Meghna

Kwiziq community member

10 April 2017

1 reply

Le chien aboie bien qu' il n'y ________ personne."

Why does this not have être ?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

10 April 2017

10/04/17

Bonjour Meghna !

Here you are using the expression "il y a" to say "there is", which in French uses the verb "avoir".

Have a look at this lesson:
https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/how-to-say-there-is-or-there-are-il-y-a

À bientôt !

Belinda

Kwiziq community member

16 September 2016

3 replies

Identifying bien que not bien as an adjective

"Je l'aime bien qu'il soit un peu paresseux." - how can we identify here that the bien is part of bien que and not an adjective?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

17 September 2016

17/09/16

Bonjour Belinda,

It has to be "bien que" because otherwise the meaning is weird. If "bien" were an adverb here, it would break it down as

Je l'aime bien = I like him
qu'il soit un peu paresseux = a third person command: "may he be a bit lazy." Since that clearly makes no sense, we know that bien goes with the que.

Does that make sense?

Belinda

Kwiziq community member

17 September 2016

17/09/16

Hi Laura,

Yes I thought you'd say that, but thought I would check.

Cheers

Leon

Kwiziq community member

25 September 2016

25/09/16

For me, the problem of understanding the French sentence often lies in my reading the sentence too slowly. Take the sentence in question. If I read it slowly, I am liable to see "bien" by itself. However, reading it fast enough makes it (to me) clearly "bien qu'il", and the meaning is clear.

ann

Kwiziq community member

18 July 2016

1 reply

"Meme s'il n'est pas fatigué, il devrait aller se coucher" Is it less correct to

to omit the "aller" and just say "il devrait se coucher" ?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

19 July 2016

19/07/16

Bonjour Ann !

Here the meaning is slightly different: "il devrait aller se coucher" means "he should go to bed", whereas "il devrait se coucher" means "he should lie down".

À bientôt !

Katie

Kwiziq community member

3 July 2016

1 reply

Why not qu'on, as opposed to que l'on?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

22 July 2016

22/07/16

They are both correct, but in formal French l'on is preferred for euphony - see https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/on-vs-lon/
Clever stuff underway!