De peur que + ne explétif + Le Subjonctif = For fear that

Look at these sentences:

Il viendra de peur que tu ne sois vexée.
He's coming for fear that you'd be offended.

Elle a fermé la porte à clé de peur que le chien ne disparaisse.
She locked the door for fear that the dog would disappear.

J'ai arrêté de la voir de peur que ma femme ne découvre tout.
I stopped seeing her for fear that my wife would find out everything.

Il ne voulait pas te le dire de peur que tu n'aies raison.
He didn't want to tell you for fear that you'd be right.

J'ai fait une liste de peur qu'il n'y ait un problème.
I made a list for fear there would be a problem.

To express the more formal expression for fear that / out of fear that + verb in the Conditional (= for fear that you would do this) or may do/might do in French, you will have to use a structure that is slightly more complex than the English structure:

You use de peur que + subject + ne explétif + the verb in Subjonctif présent or Subjonctif passé

Note that in speech, the ne explétif can be dropped.

Il viendra de peur que tu ne sois vexée.


Note
that you can also use the expression de crainte que.

Je ne l'ai pas fait de crainte que vous ne soyez déçus.
I didn't do it for fear that you would be disappointed.


See Understanding the 'ne' explétif

as well as other similar expressions using subordinating conjunctions: 

Sans que (+ ne explétif) + Le Subjonctif = Without doing

À moins que + ne explétif + Le Subjonctif = Unless you do

Avant que + ne explétif + Le Subjonctif = Before I do

 

Examples and resources

J'ai arrêté de la voir de peur que ma femme ne découvre tout.
I stopped seeing her for fear that my wife would find out everything.


Elle a fermé la porte à clé de peur que le chien ne disparaisse.
She locked the door for fear that the dog would disappear.


Il viendra de peur que tu ne sois vexée.
He's coming for fear that you'd be offended.


Je ne l'ai pas fait de crainte que vous ne soyez déçus.
I didn't do it for fear that you would be disappointed.


Il ne t'a pas appelé de peur que tu ne lui raccroches au nez.
He didn't call you for fear that you might hang up on him.


Il ne voulait pas te le dire de peur que tu n'aies raison.
He didn't want to tell you for fear that you'd be right.


J'ai fait une liste de peur qu'il n'y ait un problème.
I made a list for fear there would be a problem.


Q&A Forum 16 questions, 26 answers

JamesC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

There are inconsistencies in the format of the answers to that of the tutorial.

Asked 2 months ago

There are inconsistencies in the format of the answers to that of the tutorial.

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JamesC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Why is Il viendra de peur que tu ne sois vexée correct, but my answer incorrect?

Asked 2 months ago

Why is Il viendra de peur que tu ne sois vexée correct, but my answer incorrect?

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JamesC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Nous avons ouvert les fenêtres de peur qu'il ________ une fuite de gaz.

Asked 2 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi James,

Nous avons ouvert les fenêtres de peur qu’il n’y ait une fuite de gaz.

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi James, did you have a question?

Nous avons ouvert les fenêtres de peur qu'il ________ une fuite de gaz.

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JamesC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I added an adverb (peut-être )in my test answer which made it incorrect. Please explain.

Asked 2 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

The test isn't scored by a human but by a computer. This allows for only so much flexibility in the answer.

I added an adverb (peut-être )in my test answer which made it incorrect. Please explain.

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RobC1Kwiziq community member

A bit more complicated?

The lesson contains the sentence "To express the more formal expression for fear that / out of fear that + verb in the Conditional (= for fear that you would do this) or may do/might do in French, the structure is a bit more complicated". My question is: a bit more complicated than what? It's confusing.

Asked 2 months ago
MarieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Rob,

We have tweaked the lesson for clarity, thanks for bringing this to our attention!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

You are correct. A slight rewording of the English explanatory sentence would prevent people to go looking for what it might refer to as "less complicated" vs. "more complicated":

A bit more complicated?

The lesson contains the sentence "To express the more formal expression for fear that / out of fear that + verb in the Conditional (= for fear that you would do this) or may do/might do in French, the structure is a bit more complicated". My question is: a bit more complicated than what? It's confusing.

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MichaelC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Help me understand when, "be" in subjunctive, which auxiliary verb to choose-Avoir or Être

I initially wrote my answer with avoir...."n'y ait"....But because I see "be", I stop and question which auxiliary verb to use.I changed my answer to use être.... "n'y soit"....Please help me understand how to determine which auxiliary verb to use.Here was the test question...Nous avons ouvert les fenêtres de peur qu'il ________ une fuite de gaz.We opened the windows out of fear there might be a gas leak.
Asked 8 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Hi Michael, don't base your choice of auxiliary verb on the English sentence. Look at the French sentence given.

There is a gas leak. -- Il y a une fuite de gaz.

The French phrase explicitly uses avoir. Hence the missing word is a form of avoir: ait.

 

Help me understand when, "be" in subjunctive, which auxiliary verb to choose-Avoir or Être

I initially wrote my answer with avoir...."n'y ait"....But because I see "be", I stop and question which auxiliary verb to use.I changed my answer to use être.... "n'y soit"....Please help me understand how to determine which auxiliary verb to use.Here was the test question...Nous avons ouvert les fenêtres de peur qu'il ________ une fuite de gaz.We opened the windows out of fear there might be a gas leak.

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MaxC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Le Robert versus itself.............

Le Robert on line gives two examples of "de peur que" - one with and one w/o ne expletif. I'll think that in another lesson on your site, you do not recommend using ne with de peur que

4  par peur de ;de peur de ;(VX) Peur de.« Je me presse de rire de tout, de peur d'être obligé d'en pleurer » (Beaumarchais).▫ De, par peur que (et subj.).« Elle me renvoyait par peur que je la fatigue » (Proust). Il la retenait de peurqu'elle ne s'enaille.

© 2018 Dictionnaires Le Robert - Le Petit Robert de la langue française

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
The difference is that without que what follows is a verb. With que it is the subject. 
MaxC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
I pasted in too much and did not make clear apparently what concerns me. It intrigues me that "Elle me renvoyait par peur que je la fatigue" doesn't take the ne expletif, while "Il la retenait de peur qu'elle ne s'enaille." does. I now difference between "par peur que" and "de peur que". Perhaps it's just customary that the one does and the other does not take the ne expletif. I am interested to hear what anyone thinks. It seem perverse (or just French) that one takes the ne and other doesn't. I feel no difference between par peur que and de peur que.........

Le Robert versus itself.............

Le Robert on line gives two examples of "de peur que" - one with and one w/o ne expletif. I'll think that in another lesson on your site, you do not recommend using ne with de peur que

4  par peur de ;de peur de ;(VX) Peur de.« Je me presse de rire de tout, de peur d'être obligé d'en pleurer » (Beaumarchais).▫ De, par peur que (et subj.).« Elle me renvoyait par peur que je la fatigue » (Proust). Il la retenait de peurqu'elle ne s'enaille.

© 2018 Dictionnaires Le Robert - Le Petit Robert de la langue française

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JayC1Kwiziq community member

I'm confused. I understand that 'j'ai peur q'il ne vienne' means I fear he will come' but how do you say 'I fear he will NOT come

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Nothing complicated, just what you'd guess: J'ai peur qu'il ne vienne pas.

JayC1Kwiziq community member
Thanks. Thought so but wanted to be sure.

I'm confused. I understand that 'j'ai peur q'il ne vienne' means I fear he will come' but how do you say 'I fear he will NOT come

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BonnieC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

English in wrong tense in this example

Il ne t'a pas appelé de peur que tu ne luiraccroches au nez.
He didn't call you for fear that you may hung up on him.

should be might hang up...

Asked 1 year ago
GruffKwiziq team member
thanks Bonnie -fixed!

English in wrong tense in this example

Il ne t'a pas appelé de peur que tu ne luiraccroches au nez.
He didn't call you for fear that you may hung up on him.

should be might hang up...

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CrystalMaidenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

It actually makes more sense in French. Even I struggle with understanding, " FOR fear that. "

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi CrystalMaiden,

Indeed the expression 'de peur que' translates into 'for fear that' or 'lest' (as in lest we forget) in English. 

It actually means 'to avoid the risk of' and is widely used in French.

e.g. Je ne lui ai pas dit de peur qu'il ne se fâche....

Hope this helps!

It actually makes more sense in French. Even I struggle with understanding, " FOR fear that. "

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JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

De peur que versus pour que?

I wonder if yoy could write il viendra de peur que tu ne sois pas vexée as il viendra pour que tu ne sois pas vexée and if so translate it as he will come so that you will not be offended. I am just trying to work out how the subjunctive works out in english.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Jennifer ! This sentence "Il viendra de peur que tu ne sois pas vexée." is very weird in French, as it means "He'll come for fear that you won't be vexed." . "Pour que" here marks a purpose "in order for you not to be vexed / so that you won't/wouldn't be vexed". Using "de peur que" could work here, but it would bring a nuance of meaning, as it would be saying that he's anxious that you'd be vexed, rather than he's acting to avoid your vexation. The correct sentence with "de peur que" would be : "Il viendra de peur que tu *ne* sois vexée." (Here it's the "ne explétif", see: Understanding the 'ne' explétif ) I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !
JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Bonjour Aurélie, Yes I think it is, Jennifer

De peur que versus pour que?

I wonder if yoy could write il viendra de peur que tu ne sois pas vexée as il viendra pour que tu ne sois pas vexée and if so translate it as he will come so that you will not be offended. I am just trying to work out how the subjunctive works out in english.

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SueC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

not really a question but a request

could you include an impersonal in your examples such as the gas leak one becaue the il n'y ait threw me , not having given it due consideration. many thanks
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Sue ! In this case, "il n'y ait" is simply "il y a" (=there is/are) + the "ne explétif", but I've now added a similar example to the lesson :) Bonne journée !
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Aurélie, I just came upon the same situation addressed above: J'ai fait une liste de peur qu'il n'y ait un problème. ---> I made a list for fear there would be a problem. However, the pronom «y» is not addressed in the lesson which I found a bit confusing as I was not anticipating «il y a» as being a part of the phrase syntax. Perhaps that is on me for not reading it more carefully. Merci en avance.

not really a question but a request

could you include an impersonal in your examples such as the gas leak one becaue the il n'y ait threw me , not having given it due consideration. many thanks

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JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

In the sentencenous avons ouvert les fenêtres de peur qu'il n'y ait un fuite de gas.

In the sentence, which may not be exactly correct, but is more or les as i remeber it, the translatio is ....for frar that there would be a gas leak. Can this be translated as might be or even as there is a gas leak. Like many english people i am a bit hazy about the subjunctive in my own language, hence the question.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Jennifer ! Yes, you are correct, in this case, the alternatives "there is/may be/might be" as more accurate than "there would be" as the latter makes it sound like the gas leak would occur if we opened the window! Thanks to you, this sentence has now been improved :) Merci et à bientôt !
JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
De rien and merci
ChuckC1Kwiziq community member

I got hung up on this translation too. What is it exactly that makes “il n’y ait “ a translation of “there MIGHT be” [which was the phrase we were asked to translate] as opposed to simply “there IS” [il y a]?

ChuckC1Kwiziq community member

I got hung up on this translation too. What is it exactly that makes “il n’y ait “ a translation of “there MIGHT be” [which was the phrase we were asked to translate] as opposed to simply “there IS” [il y a]?

In the sentencenous avons ouvert les fenêtres de peur qu'il n'y ait un fuite de gas.

In the sentence, which may not be exactly correct, but is more or les as i remeber it, the translatio is ....for frar that there would be a gas leak. Can this be translated as might be or even as there is a gas leak. Like many english people i am a bit hazy about the subjunctive in my own language, hence the question.

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JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Past participles as adjectives

In the example soyez decus, the past participle operates as an adjective . Are there any restrictions on this use? Is it possible to use any past participle that fits the bill?
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Jennifer ! Yes indeed, just like in English, French past participles can be used as adjectives: "Les enfants sont fatiguÉS." -> The children are tirED. However, remember that as any French adjective, they need to agree in gender and number with the thing they refer to :) I hope that's helpful!
JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Yes indeed thank you

Past participles as adjectives

In the example soyez decus, the past participle operates as an adjective . Are there any restrictions on this use? Is it possible to use any past participle that fits the bill?

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Ly fenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

is de peur que is similar de crainte que?

According to my understanding, they are similar, so we can use them as same in a sentence? ex : je me relave le verre de peur qu'il ne soit pas propre. ou de crainte qu'il ne soit pas propre. are they correct?
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Ly Fen ! Yes indeed, "de peur que" means exactly the same as "de crainte que". Both are actually accepted as correct alternate answers in our quizzes, as they are synonyms. Thanks for your question! A bientôt !
Ly fenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
OK, thank you.
JoanC1Kwiziq community member

Well, I got marked incorrect when I used de crainte que grammatically correctly.  Said had to use de peur que

is de peur que is similar de crainte que?

According to my understanding, they are similar, so we can use them as same in a sentence? ex : je me relave le verre de peur qu'il ne soit pas propre. ou de crainte qu'il ne soit pas propre. are they correct?

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LolaA1Kwiziq community member

Pourqoi utilise t'on le subjonctif n'ya -t-il pas autres phrase simples?

Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Lola, In this case, when you want to express "(not) doing something for fear that...", I guess a simpler way to say it would be to turn your sentence differently and say "I (don't) do this because I'm scared of/that", which in French would be: Je (ne) fais (pas) ça parce que j'ai peur de (quelque chose) / que (quelque chose ...) I hope that's helpful!

Pourqoi utilise t'on le subjonctif n'ya -t-il pas autres phrase simples?

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