The propositions in French
- Multiple choice questions about the propositions in French Score -/-
- Fill in the blank exercise about the relative subordinate clause in French Score -/-
- Completive vs circumstancial subordinate clause in French Score -/-
- Fill in the blank exercise about the conjunctions of subordination in French Score -/-
- 1.What is a proposition in French ?
- 1.1.independent proposition in French
- 1.2.Main proposition in French
- 1.3.Incidental proposition in French
- 2.Subordinate clauses in French
- 2.1.Relative subordinate clauses in French
- 2.2.Conjunctive subordinate clause in French
- 2.3.Recap: What is a subordinated conjunction in French ?
- 2.3.1.The completive subordinate clause in French
- 2.3.2.Circumstantial subordinate clauses
What is a proposition in French ?
A proposition is a part of a sentence containing a verb. A sentence can have one or several propositions. Therefore it is linked to the phrases in French.
It is a grammatical set organized around a verb, generally conjugated. In a sentence, each conjugated verb is therefore the core of a proposition: there are as many propositions than verbs.
The French grammar has three types of proposition:
- Independent proposition
- Main proposition
- Incidental proposition
independent proposition in French
The independent proposition (French: la proposition indépendante) is linked to the simple phrases. It is a proposition which does not depend on any other proposition and of which no proposition depends.
|Il boit du lait||(He is drinking milk)|
|Le chat chasse la souris||(The cat is hunting the mouse)|
|Cendrillon est une princesse Disney||(Cinderella is a Disney princess)|
A phrase can have many independent propositions. Then it is called:
- Coordinated independent proposition
- Juxtaposed independent proposition
|Coordonnée||Je ne comprends pas la leçon mais je peux faire l'exercice||(I don't understand the lesson but I can do the exercice)|
|Juxtaposée||Ne t'en vas pas, ferme d'abord la boutique||(Don't leave, close the shop first)|
Learn more about these types propositions to use it in the composed phrase.
Main proposition in French
The main proposition (French: la proposition principale) is a proposition that does not depend on any other and upon which depends at least one subordinate clause.
It is the basic proposition to which the other proposals hang up.
|Proposition principale||Proposition subordonnée||Traduction|
|Léo a fui||quand il a vu ses parents||(Leo ran away when he saw his parents)|
|Marie a acheté une nouvelle voiture||lorsqu'elle a déménagé à Los Angeles||(Marie bought a new car when she moved to LA)|
|Elle se demande||pourquoi je suis plus avec elle||(She wonders why I left her)|
Incidental proposition in French
The incidental proposition (French: la proposition incidente) also called "incise", appears in another proposition with which it is not coordinated and has no relationship of dependence.
It plays somehow the role of a parenthesis. Usually, It indicates that someone is reporting what somebody said.
The incise proposition can be placed whenever you want: at the beginning, in the middle or at the end.
- "Il faudrait trouver une autre solution" disait -il. (We have to find another way, he said)
- Quoi qu'il en soit, je ne reviendrais pas sur ma décision. (Anyway, I won't reconsider my decision)
- Le directeur, paraît-il, a déposé sa démission. (It seems that the CEO has submitted his resignation)
Subordinate clauses in French
The subordinate clauses (French: les propositions subordonnées) are linked to the complex phrases. We say that a proposition is subordinate if it depends on another proposition (almost always a main). It completes the meaning.
There are four types of subordinate clauses:
- Relative subordinate clauses
- Conjunctive subordinate clauses
- Completive subordinate clauses
- Circumstantial subordinate clauses
Relative subordinate clauses in French
The relative subordinate clause (French: la proposition subordonnée relative) is part of the nominal group. It can not exist alone and is necessarily introduced by a relative pronoun.
Its grammatical function is the complement of the name. The completed name is called antecedent and the pronoun agrees with it.
Let's analyze this sentence:
Je ne veux pas réveiller mon amie qui dort dans la chambre. (I don't want to wake up my friend who sleeps in my room)
- The main proposition is "je ne veux pas réveiller mon amie"
- The subordinate clause is "qui dort dans la chambre"
- "Qui" replace "mon amie" so the antecedent is "mon amie"
|Proposition principale||Proposition subordonnée relative||Traduction|
|Je parlais de l'enfant||dont on a eu la garde||(I was talking about the kid whom we have had the custody)|
|Léa acheté les mêmes chaussures||que j'ai porté à son anniversaire||(Lea bought the same shoes that I wore at her birthday party)|
|Pierre a rencontré l'homme||
qui lui a sauvé la vie
|(Peter met the man who saved his life)|
Note that the relative subordinate clauses is not necessarily placed after the main proposition.
Conjunctive subordinate clause in French
The subordinate conjunctive proposition (French: la proposition subordonnée conjonctive) is a proposition which depends on a principal proposition and which is introduced by a conjunction of subordination
The conjunctive subordinate clause can be completive or circumstantial.
Recap: What is a subordinated conjunction in French ?
The conjunctions of subordination (French: les conjunctions de subordination) are invariable words. They can also be conjunctive phrases.
They connect two propositions: a main and a conjunctive subordinate whose grammatical function varies with the conjunction used.
It belongs to the subordinate clause it introduces
|Conjonctions de subordination||que, quand, comme, si, lorsque, puisque, quoique|
|Locutions conjonctives||ainsi que, vu que, alors que, à moins que, après que, depuis que, aussitôt que, bien que, parce que, dès que, malgré que, pendant que, tandis que|
The completive subordinate clause in French
The completive subordinate clause (French: la proposition subordonnée complétive) is a proposition which depends on a main proposition and which, in most cases, has a role of direct object complement. The completive subordinate clause can be conjunctive, infinitive or interrogative.
The conjunctive is introduced by:
- que (that)
- ce que
|Conjonction||Proposition subordonnée completive||Traduction|
|Que||Malia a beaucoup aimé la robe que je lui ai achetée||(Malia really loved the dress that I bought for her)|
|Ce que||Il ne s'attendait pas à ce qu'il soit aussi distant||(He wasn't expecting him to be this stant-offish)|
The infinitive has any introductory word and includes an infinitive verb. It is often a direct object of a verb of perception like voir, regarder, entendre..
- Pedro sent Sandra s'éloigner de lui. (Pedro can feel Sandra driving away from him)
The interrogative is indirect and may be introduced by
- "si" if it's the total interrogation
- An interrogative, pronoun and adverb id it's the partial interrogation
|Interrogation||Proposition subordonnée complétive||Traduction|
|Total||Je ne vois pas si elle a raison||(I cannot see if she is right)|
|Partial||Dis moi pourquoi tu es parti||(Tell me why you left)|
You can learn more about the two types of interrogation.
Circumstantial subordinate clauses
The circumstantial subordinate clause (French: la proposition subordonnée circonstancielle) depends on a main proposition and has the function of circumstantial complement.
It can be introduced by a subordinated conjunction or a verb conjugated in the past or present participle.
|Conjonction de subordination||J'ai visité la tour Eiffel quand j'ai été à Paris||(I have been to the Eiffel tower when I was in Paris)|
|Participle||La travail fini, tout le monde rentra chez eux||(Job is over, everyone went back home)|
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