FR: I wish you had done that

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jacques songo'o

Member
spanish
I would like to emphasis the fact that the subordinate clause happened before the main clause with the "J'aurais aimé" construction to say "I wished you had done that". According to the concordance des temps I should be able to use the past subjunctive as the action occurs before the main clause. I Googled "j'aurais bien aimé que tu aies fait" and only 2 results came up. Surely there would be more results if this construction was used. Can anyone tell me why the past subjunctive seems to be avoided? Does French simply put the main clause in the past to show that the sub clause happeneed in the past without any notion of anteriority? So "j'aurais bien aimé que tu fasses" can mean "I wish you did/I wished you had done".
 
  • Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Be careful not to confuse the French sequence of tenses with the English one because they are quite different in this case.

    A1. Present regret about the present:
    I wish (present) you were (past subjunctive) here. / J'aurais aimé/voulu (conditionnel passé) que tu sois (subjonctif présent) là. (= Je regrette que tu ne sois pas là.)
    Because the wish is counterfactual, English uses a past subjunctive in the subordinate clause, but French uses a past conditional in the main clause.
    Because the regret is true now, English uses a present (indicative) in the main clause, but French uses a present subjunctive in the subordinate clause.

    A2. Present regret about the past:
    I wish (present) you had done (pluperfect subjunctive) that. / J'aurais aimé/voulu (conditionnel passé) que tu fisses fasses (subjonctif présent) cela. (= Je regrette que tu n'aies pas fait cela.)
    Because the wish is counterfactual about an earlier event, English uses a pluperfect subjunctive in the subordinate clause, but French uses a past conditional in the main clause.
    Because the regret is true now, English uses a present (indicative) in the main clause. Because it is about the past, French should use the imperfect subjunctive in the subordinate clause, but since that tense is literary nowadays, we use the present subjunctive instead. In other words, we use the same sequence of tenses as the previous case using j'aurais aimé/voulu.

    B1. Past regret about the past:
    I wished (past) you were (past subjunctive) here. / J'aurais aimé/voulu (conditionnel passé) que tu fusses sois (subjonctif présent) là. (= Je regrettais que tu ne sois pas là.)
    Because the wish is counterfactual, English uses a past subjunctive in the subordinate clause, but French uses a past conditional in the main clause.
    Because it is a past regret, English uses a simple past in the main clause. Because it is about the past, French should use the imperfect subjunctive in the subordinate clause, but since that tense is literary nowadays, we use the present subjunctive instead.

    B2. Past regret about an earlier event:
    I wished (past) you had done (pluperfect subjunctive) that. / J'aurais aimé/voulu (conditionnel passé) que tu eusses fait aies fait (subjonctif présent) cela. (= Je regrettais que tu n'aies pas fait cela.)
    Because the wish is counterfactual about an earlier event, English uses a pluperfect subjunctive in the subordinate clause, but French uses a past conditional in the main clause.
    Because it is a past regret, English uses a simple past in the main clause. Because it is in the past about an earlier event, French should use the pluperfect subjunctive in the subordinate clause, but since that tense is literary nowadays, we use the past subjunctive instead.
     
    Last edited:

    zappo

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    If, according to A1, J'aurais voulu que tu le fasses means: I wish you did (=were doing) that (now), does your example for A2 (I wish you had done that) mean that it is incorrect to say: J'aurais voulu que tu l'aies fait ?
     

    t k

    Senior Member
    Korean - Korea
    Bonjour.
    May I make sure that I understand this old instruction?
    Then "(A1) I wish you did ...", "(A2) I wish you had done ...", and "(B1) I wished you did ..." are all translated into the same sentence, with no distinction in French?
    Merci. --- tk
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    The same tenses are used in cases A1, A2 and B1 only with volition verbs (vouloir, aimer, souhaiter, etc.). The tenses are, however, different in each case if using regretter.
     
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