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De peur que + 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, the structure is a bit more complicated:

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

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.


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.


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.


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


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.


Q&A

CrystalMaiden

Kwiziq community member

16 May 2018

1 reply

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

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

17 May 2018

17/05/18

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!

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

13 February 2017

2 replies

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.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

13 March 2017

13/03/17

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:
https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/how-to-understand-the-ne-expletif )

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

13 March 2017

13/03/17

Bonjour Aurélie,

Yes I think it is,

Jennifer

sue

Kwiziq community member

11 February 2017

2 replies

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

13 March 2017

13/03/17

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 !

Ron

Kwiziq community member

5 November 2017

5/11/17

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.

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

20 November 2016

2 replies

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.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

22 November 2016

22/11/16

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 !

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

22 November 2016

22/11/16

De rien and merci

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

12 October 2016

2 replies

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?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

13 October 2016

13/10/16

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!

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

13 October 2016

13/10/16

Yes indeed thank you

ly fen

Kwiziq community member

22 February 2016

2 replies

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?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

22 February 2016

22/02/16

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 fen

Kwiziq community member

23 February 2016

23/02/16

OK, thank you.

lola

Kwiziq community member

23 November 2015

1 reply

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

8 December 2015

8/12/15

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!
I'll be right with you...