Lecciones de Francés

Temas

Getting Angry in French

We all know that when you're angry about something, it's better to talk about your emotions than to keep them pent up inside. If you ever need to vent in French, there are several constructions you can use to express your anger.

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Two of these constructions employ the French word for anger, la colère (related to the English word "choleric," meaning "bad-tempered" or "irritable"). As in English, there's a distinction in French between being angry (être en colère) and getting angry (se mettre en colère, literally, "to put oneself in anger"):

 

J'étais très en colère contre Harold.

I was very angry at Harold.

Caption 28, Le Jour où tout a basculé - Notre appartement est hanté - Part 6

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Elle devenait nerveuse, elle se mettait en colère.

She became nervous, she got angry.

Caption 3, Le Jour où tout a basculé - Mon père n'est pas mort - Part 2

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Note the preposition contre in the example above. Whereas in English you can be angry "at" or "with" someone, in French you're angry "against" someone. 

 

If you're really angry about something, you can use the construction fou/folle de (which we discussed in a previous lesson): 

 

Elles sont folles de colère, folles de rage, horripilées.

They are wild with anger, raging mad, incensed.

Captions 52-54, Le saviez-vous? - Les synonymes

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Besides expressions with colère, the other main way of describing anger in French is with the adjective fâché(e) (angry) or the reflexive verb se fâcher (to get angry):

 

Tu es fâché contre Léon?

Are you angry with Leon?

Caption 2, Les zooriginaux - Léa jacta est - Part 3

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Ça va, vieux, te fâche pas!

It's OK, old pal, don't get upset!

Caption 22, Il était une fois... L’Espace - 3. La planète verte - Part 3

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Don't confuse the adjective fâché(e) with the adjective fâcheux/fâcheuse, which has a slightly more subdued meaning. It can mean anything along the lines of "annoying," "unfortunate," "regrettable," or "aggravating":

 

C'est fâcheux qu'il ne puisse pas venir. 
It's unfortunate that he can't come. 

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We hope there was nothing in this lesson that made you angry! Stay tuned for our next lesson and tweet us @yabla or send your topic suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

Vocabulary

The French Subjunctive: Emotional and Hypothetical

The French Subjunctive - Part 2

In this lesson, we'll be tackling the subjunctive, a verbal mood that expresses a wide range of situations, such as a wish, an obligation, a possibility, a doubt, or an emotion. Whereas the indicative mood simply describes something that happens, the subjunctive mood describes something that may happen, something you want to happen, something you're afraid will happen, and other hypothetical situations. It's the difference between the phrases "you are here" and "I wish you were here." 

 

The general rule for forming the subjunctive in French is to take the third-person plural (ils/elles) present indicative form of the verb, remove the -ent, and add the subjunctive endings: -e, -es, -e, -ions, -iez, and -ent. Take a look at this handy chart for a concise summary of the conjugation of regular subjunctive verbs. We'll go over irregular subjunctive conjugations in another lesson. 

 

Let's take the verbs dire (to say) and réfléchir (to think about) as examples. To conjugate them in the first-person singular subjunctive, we would go to the third-person present plural indicative (disent and réfléchissent), drop the -ent, and add the first-person singular subjunctive ending -e. The results are dise and réfléchisse

 

Qu’est-ce que tu veux que je te dise? 
What do you want me to tell you

Avec tout ce choix, il faut que je réfléchisse.

With all these choices, I have to think about it.

Caption 10, Il était une fois... L’Espace - 3. La planète verte - Part 3

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Besides the conjugation, the most important aspect of the French subjunctive is that it almost always follows the word que (that), as in the expressions tu veux que and il faut que above. Vouloir que (to want) and il faut que (it is necessary that) are among the large number of French expressions that require the subjunctive. You can find a detailed list of these expressions here.
   
The subjunctive is used to express some of the most basic emotions, such as happiness and sadness: 

 

On est vraiment très heureux que nos huit jeunes puissent partir.

We are truly very happy that our eight young people are able to go.

Caption 8, Télé Lyon Métropole - Sport dans la ville & Afrique du Sud

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Je suis triste que mon ami ne vienne pas au concert avec nous. 
I'm sad that my friend isn't coming to the concert with us. 

 

It's also used in a number of conjunctive phrases such as pourvu que (as long as), bien que (even though), and avant que (before):

 

Tu pourras leur parler de ce que tu voudras, pourvu que tu parles au moins deux heures.

you'll be able to talk to them about whatever you like, as long as you speak for at least two hours.

Captions 3-4, Il était une fois... L’Espace - 6. La révolte des robots - Part 5

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J'aime le karaoké bien que je ne chante pas très bien. 
I love karaoke even though I don't sing very well. 

...avant que leurs enseignements ne soient exploités par l'industrie.

...before their lessons are exploited by industry.

Caption 22, Le Journal - 2000 mètres sous les mers

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As the above example demonstrates, some subjunctive constructions (like avant que) require a ne without a pas (known as a ne explétif) before the verb. See our previous lesson for an in-depth look at this special use of ne.
  
Some phrases, such as penser que (to think that), only take the subjunctive in the negative: 

 

Je ne pense pas que ça serve à grand-chose, ce que tu comptes faire.

I don't think it's going to help much, what you're planning to do.

 

If we make that sentence affirmative, we'll need to change servir from the subjunctive to the indicative:

 

Je pense que ça sert à beaucoup de choses, ce que tu comptes faire.
I think it's going to help a lot, what you're planning to do.  

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To sum up, the subjunctive is used after a vast number of expressions that convey a wide variety of subjective and hypothetical states. This multitude of usages makes learning the subjunctive no easy feat, but the fact that the subjunctive almost always follows the word que makes it a little less daunting. So if there's one thing you should take away from this lesson, it's that whenever you see a verb after the word que, there's a good chance it should be in the subjunctive! 

Grammar

C'est l'intention qui compte!

If you’ve studied our recent lesson on French numbers, you should theoretically be able to count to a billion (compter jusqu’à un milliard) in French. But since no one has time to do that, let’s focus on some other, more practical uses of the verb compter

Counting doesn’t always involve numbers. For example, if you’re relying on someone to do something, you’re counting on (compter sur) them, as this Parisian chef is counting on us to visit his restaurant:

 

À vous aussi de venir ici, on compte sur vous.

Up to you to come here too, we're counting on you.

Caption 42, Cap 24 - Découverte d'un restaurant parisien

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You can also count on a future event to happen (or not happen). Bertrand Pierre is an extremely talented singer-songwriter, but for some reason he doesn’t expect to make it big. He expresses his pragmatism with the construction “compter + infinitive”:

 

Je compte pas devenir une, une star internationale, c'est pas ça que je veux dire.

I'm not expecting to become an, an international star, that's not what I mean.

Caption 25, Bertrand Pierre - Autre Chose

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Sometimes compter refers not to counting numbers, but containing them. If the subject of the verb compter is an inanimate object, it’s most likely describing contents:

 

Après un peu de lecture, dans une bibliothèque qui compte quarante mille volumes...

After a bit of reading, in a library that contains forty thousand volumes...

Caption 39, Canal 32 - Mesnil-Saint-Loup : moines artisans

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Quite a few expressions are based on the noun form of compter, compte, which can mean “count,” “total,” or “account.” If you’re a Yabla subscriber, for example, you have un compte (an account) with us. Un compte can also mean “account” in a more figurative sense, as in the expression prendre en compte (to take into account):

 

Tous ces éléments-là sont importants aussi à prendre en compte...

All those elements there are also important to take into account...

Caption 19, Le Journal - Grands prématurés

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A very common expression with compte is se rendre compte, which means “to realize” or “become aware” (literally, “to give an account to oneself”). In the latest installment of our Il était une fois episode on Scottish explorer James Bruce, a shipmate reflects on the crew's recent discovery of Abyssinia:

 

Tu te rends compte, Luigi, nous repoussons les limites de l'inconnu.

You realize, Luigi, we're pushing the limits of the unknown.

Caption 1, Il était une fois - les Explorateurs - 15. Bruce et les sources du Nil

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Don’t forget that se rendre compte is a reflexive expression, and its meaning changes completely when you remove the se: instead of giving an account to yourself, you’re giving an account to someone else, i.e., reporting to them: 

 

On y va? Oui, mais d'abord, on rend compte à Oméga.

Shall we go? Yes, but first we report to Omega.

Captions 24-25, Il était une fois... L’Espace - 3. La planète verte

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We’ll end with a compte expression that deals with endings: en fin de compte (literally, “at the end of the account”), which can be translated as “ultimately,” “at the end of the day,” or “when all is said and done”: 

 

En fin de compte, un bateau qui est propulsé par une motorisation cent pour cent électrique.

Ultimately, a boat that's propelled by one hundred percent electric power.

Caption 5, Bateau sport 100% électrique - Le Nautique 196 E

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Compte tenu de (taking into account) all of the different ways of using compter and compte, you might feel overwhelmed when trying to remember them all. But don’t worry if you can’t master them right away: c’est l’intention qui compte (it’s the thought that counts)! 

Vocabulary

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