Using 'trouver' to express 'to find' and opinions

The verb trouver (to find) can be used differently depending on context in French.

 

(1) In French, you often use the verb trouver (to find) in a similar way as the verb penser (to think) to express an opinion, as follows:

Elle trouve qu'elles sont malpolies.  =  Elle pense qu'elles sont malpolies.  (She thinks they're rude.)

Je trouve que c'est dangereux.
I think it's dangerous.

Je trouve qu'il a de bons arguments.
I think he's got good arguments.

In this context, just like with penser, you can never omit the que ('that').
See Penser que, croire que = To think that, to believe that

 

(2) You can also use trouver the same way you use 'to find (something to be ...)' in English, as follows:

Je trouve cela fascinant.
I find that fascinating.

Je trouve Martha intéressante.
I find Martha interesting.

Ils trouvent ces soirées ennuyeuses.
They find these parties boring.


ATTENTION:

When using this second structure with object pronouns (i.e. I find me / you / him / her / us / you / them), in French you will use me / te / le / la / nous / vous / les before the verb.

Elle les trouve malpolies.
She finds them rude.

Nous la trouvons exquise.
We find her exquisite.

Je te trouve dur avec lui.
I find you harsh on him.

 

See also the more advanced Using Le Subjonctif after penser, trouver. savoir, croire, prétendre + que in the negative

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je trouve Martha intéressante.
I find Martha interesting.


Il trouve que c'est une belle maison.
He finds that it's a beautiful house.


Je trouve cela fascinant.
I find that fascinating.


Je trouve que c'est dangereux.
I think it's dangerous.


Je te trouve dur avec lui.
I find you harsh on him.


Elle les trouve malpolies.
She finds them rude.


Nous la trouvons exquise.
We find her exquisite.


Elle trouve qu'elles sont malpolies.
She thinks they are rude.


Ils trouvent ces soirées ennuyeuses.
They find these parties boring.


Je trouve qu'il a de bons arguments.
I think he's got good arguments.


Q&A Forum 6 questions, 9 answers

MarritA2Kwiziq community member

Answer of question

In the quiz I got 'Elle trouve ________ beau'. I answered: que t'es. However, this was counted wrong and instead it should be que tu es. Would my contraction be incorrect?

Asked 3 months ago
ShreyA1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer
Bonjour Marrit !

Usually, “tu” is never elided, though you may use the contracted form of ‘tu’ in  very informal everyday speech (preferably when talking within a family setting).

Saying, “que tu es beau” seems  elegant and hence is more acceptable.

Hope this helps !

Answer of question

In the quiz I got 'Elle trouve ________ beau'. I answered: que t'es. However, this was counted wrong and instead it should be que tu es. Would my contraction be incorrect?

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TomC1Kwiziq community member

Why couldn't you say (for example) "Il nous trouve être ennuyeux"?

Asked 7 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

You would say, Il nous trouve ennuyeux. 

Why couldn't you say (for example) "Il nous trouve être ennuyeux"?

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CarolynB1Kwiziq community member

In the example above ‘Il trouvé que c’est une belle maison’, shouldn’t the translation be ‘He thinks it is a beautiful house’

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Carolyn, 

Indeed I prefer your translation too.

In the example above ‘Il trouvé que c’est une belle maison’, shouldn’t the translation be ‘He thinks it is a beautiful house’

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StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Distinction between 1. and 2. above

I'm not quite grasping the distinction between 1. and 2. above. In the example 'Je trouve Martha intéressante' surely this is also an opinion  and as such could it also be stated as 'Je trouve que Martha est interessante?'
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Hi Stewart, I also believe that the distinction is mostly a stylistic nuance.

I find Martha interesting. Versus: I think Martha is interesting.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Distinction between 1. and 2. above

I'm not quite grasping the distinction between 1. and 2. above. In the example 'Je trouve Martha intéressante' surely this is also an opinion  and as such could it also be stated as 'Je trouve que Martha est interessante?'

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JohnB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

So when should we use trouver and when to use penser?

Are they completely interchangeable?
Asked 2 years ago
JohnB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
I mean to express an opinion, of course. In English I see "I think" but when it comes to french, I see je pense, je crois or je trouve, and I never know when to use which.
GruffKwiziq team member
Hi John, I find these work the same way as they do in English, on the whole (see what I did there? ;) ) The same nuances apply in French as they do in English for find/think/believe, although Aurélie may have a more sophisticated view on this than I. Hope that's helpful though.
JohnB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
As I mentioned above, "I think" in English doesn't always translate to "je pense." So I don't think they are the SAME nuances. The other problem is that when it translates to je ne pense pas que or je ne crois pas que, then I have to use subjunctive while je ne trouve pas que doesn't go with subjunctive. So the nuances are definitely not the same. Basically I'm looking for cases where I can use trouver so I don't have to use subjunctive :-)
GruffKwiziq team member
The nuance between thinking, finding (i.e. experiencing, or simply expressing a thought more politely or less forcefully) and believing is very similar to those distinctions in English. Subjunctive is another matter, but is used with trouver as well as penser in the negative (unless you drop the que?)...

So when should we use trouver and when to use penser?

Are they completely interchangeable?

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DoraidaC1Kwiziq community member

I can't hear the audio, when I press the speaker, the page changes, this happen with all the pages

Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour - thanks for letting us know, it's fixed.

I can't hear the audio, when I press the speaker, the page changes, this happen with all the pages

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