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Use of Devoir

MichaelC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Use of Devoir

In exercise "Fishing with my father C1". Could you please explain the use of devais in 

je ne devais pas avoir plus de dix ans. If it's; I mustn't have been... isn't that the passe composse ?

Asked 4 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Michael, 

This is quite an idiomatic use of

devoir + avoir +age

Je devais avoir 4 ou 5 ans = I must have been 4 or 5 

Je ne devais pas avoir plus de 5 ans = I couldn't have been more than 5 

Je devais avoir une vingtaine d'année quand ça s'est passé I must have been about 20 when this happened

And no, you couldn't use the passé composé as it indicates a period of time.

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Same confusion over use of 'devais' - not least because the phrase to be translated is 'I couldn't have been more than 10'.  Is «Je n'aurais pas pu avoir plus de dix ans» acceptable but just not the way it is said?

Use of Devoir

In exercise "Fishing with my father C1". Could you please explain the use of devais in 

je ne devais pas avoir plus de dix ans. If it's; I mustn't have been... isn't that the passe composse ?

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