Concessive Conditions in Les Liaisons dangereuses
An Elegant Construction Still in Use Today
Examples of the conditionnel concessif from Chloderlos de Laclos’s famous epistolary novel of 1782. Some involve the conditional present introduced by quand (rather than the imperfect indicative introduced by si), and some involve the imperfect subjunctive.
The French Literary Subjunctive: Uses
When an Ordinary Tense Is Not Enough
The things literary subjunctive tenses can do, both their rather unsurprising uses in secondary sequence and their more remarkable ones in conditional sentences.
A Semi-Auxiliary Without Peer
The verb devoir in all its many forms and meanings: as a verb in its own right, but especially as a semi-auxiliary, in which capacity it performs an astonishing number of functions.
A French Construction You Couldn't Possibly Do Without
The odd but elegant phrase ne saurait is here explained, also tips for translating it into English are given and examples are provided.
Si, the Many Meanings of
The five functions of French si: 1) “if” introduction a condition; 2) “if/whether” introducing an indirect questions; 3) the intensifying adverb “so, such”; 5) the adverb “however” in an indefinite construction.
Giving an Inch and Taking a Mile
The various forms of grammatical concession in French: not only concessive clauses, but other kinds of constructions as well.
Examples of Conditional Sentences
Examples of the three basic types of conditional sentences: present – future, imperfect – present conditional, pluperfect – past conditional.
Forms & Uses of the Conditional
Formation & Uses of the Conditional Tenses (A Future-in-the-Past), Conditional Sentences, Polite Expressions, To Report What Somebody Else Has Said).
Là-haut sur la montagne
Aimer n'est pas un crime; Dieu ne le défend pas.
A mountain song that may put you in mind of Rousseau’s star-crossed Alpine lovers. My version of the melody is especially good if you like to yodel.
Il était une bergère
Ma fille, pour pénitence, / Nous nous embrasserons
This song is now relegated to children, but its matter is far from exemplary: misbehavior on the part of cats, shepherdesses, and clergy.
Pour qui ces ignobles entraves, / Ces fers dès longtemps préparés?
France’s stirring national anthem. Its “us versus them” sentiment can be (and has been) put to use in a multitude of situations.
Ah! si mon moine voulait danser
Danse, mon moine, danse!
A “spinning” song of a different kind (i.e., it has nothing to do with spinning thread). A good song for increasing your monastic vocabulary.
À la claire fontaine
Je voudrais que la rose fût encore au rosier
A stroll to a favorite bathing spot turns into a lament for lost love and a meditation on what-might-have-been. With a haunting melody.