2 Subjects -Subjonctif

DraganaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

2 Subjects -Subjonctif

Il a attendu jusqu’à ce qu’il doive partir.

If subjonctif requires 2 subjects- I assume that “he” waited until another “he” had to go?

Asked 4 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Dragana,

Most examples in this lesson use two separate subjects ( meaning different people)  but in the case of -

Il a attendu jusqu'à ce qu'il doive partir ( qu'il soit obligé de partir/ce qu'il soit prêt à partir), the 'il' represents the same person.

If you were talking about another person you would have to use a name to clarify what you were trying to say -

Il a attendu jusqu'à ce que Pierre doive partir = He waited until Pierre had to go

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I don't know what you mean by "subjunctive requires two subjects". In the sentence you quote, the "he" is most likely the same person in either part of the sentence.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

The "two subjects" rule is mentioned here, for example:


But I think it only applies when the subjunctive could be easily avoided, if there were a single subject, by using an infinitive, for example. That doesn't seem to be the case here.

In the following example, from Advanced French Grammar by Monique L'Huillier, the two "elle"s must refer to different people.

Elle craignait qu'elle ne prenne froid. 

If it were the same person, you would say:

Elle craignait de prendre froid.

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Alan, 

I have personally never heard of that 'two subjects' rule and I think I broke it with the example I gave. 

It is however useful as a 'rule of thumb' when you want to avoid the subjunctive and want to use the infinitive instead.




AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Obviously there are different opinions on this.


I suspect that calling it a rule is too simplistic, sometimes using the subjunctive with a single subject will be acceptable, sometimes it will seem odd. 

Your example doesn't break the rule, because it's not possible to use an infinitive instead. There is no prepositional equivalent for "jusqu'à ce que", since  "jusqu'à" + infinitive would mean "to the point of" rather than "until".

In fact, according to Monique L'Huillier, when the conjunction is a compound like "jusqu'à ce que", rather than just "que", you always have the option of using the subjunctive instead of the infinitive.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

There's a similar rule described in Grevisse - Le Bon Usage. (La proposition infinitive - S1074, p1620/1 in the 13th edition.)

They distinguish  between cases where using the infinitive instead of a subordinate clause (not necessarily the subjunctive mood) is obligatory, and those where it's optional.

For example, it's optional after verbs of opinion such as penser or croire. However it's obligatory after verbs of desire or sentiment such as vouloir, aimer, craindre, and, notably, attendre.

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Alan, 

I couldn't find this rule in my trusted 'Petit Grevisse' , however you wouldn't say-

Il a attendu jusqu'à devoir partir , as it is very stilted, you might want to say -

Il a attendu jusqu'à ce que ce soit l'heure de partir 

still using the subjunctive.

I have altered my answer to Dragana to help her with her query.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Cécile, 

I had already edited my previous reply to explain why I think "jusqu'à" + infinitive can't be used, and therefore the subjunctive should be used in this case.

See also http://core.ecu.edu/forl/hennings/emploi.htm

2 Subjects -Subjonctif

Il a attendu jusqu’à ce qu’il doive partir.

If subjonctif requires 2 subjects- I assume that “he” waited until another “he” had to go?

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