Which tense is this?

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Shefali

Kwiziq community member

24 February 2019

6 replies

Which tense is this?

I read this phrase somwhere: <> also the same tense (i.e. futur proche dans le passé?

What confuses me here is that this translates in English literally as: "This week, the museum announced that the art was going to be restored from next February." But that's absurd because then we have a nuance of the past (the museum announced; art was going to be restored) as well as future (from next February).

Wouldn't the simple futur proche tense suffice here since we are talking about the future? 

Thanks in advance for your help!

This question relates to:
French lesson "J'allais + infinitive = I was going to (Le Futur Proche in the past)"

Shefali

Kwiziq community member

24 February 2019

24/02/19

The phrase got omitted due to some reason. I'll re-paste it here: 

"Cette semaine, le museé a anoncé que l'art allait être restauré à partir de février prochain." 

Alan

Kwiziq community member

24 February 2019

24/02/19

This is an interesting question, and I hope we get an answer from one of the native speaker experts.

It's a question of reported speech, where the tense is normally changed ("backshifted") from the original speech when it gets reported. So typically the museum spokesman says "The art will be restored" and this gets reported as "He said that the art was going to be restored". 

This backshift is characteristic of reported speech in both French and English. But, at least in English, it doesn't always happen. The backshift is optional if you know that the statement is still true (i.e. still in the future in this case) when you report it. 

In this case we're told it's from next February, so it must still be in the future. Therefore in English we'd probably say "This week, the museum announced that the art will be restored from next February." 

If, instead, you said "This week, the museum announced that the art was going to be restored from next February." it might imply that it's no longer true - e.g. the museum has had to cancel it's plan for lack of funding.

I'd be interested to know whether this is also true in French.

Shefali

Kwiziq community member

24 February 2019

24/02/19

Mille mercis, Alan! :) What you're saying is making sense to me. I'm going with this explanation until a native expert contests it. 

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

25 February 2019

25/02/19

Hi Shefali,

Alan is indeed correct , it is because of reported speech -

The museum says : 

"L' art va être restauré à partir de février prochain"

In reported speech or indirect speech -

"Le musée a annoncé que l'art allait être restauré à partir de février prochain"

In reported speech the main changes in tenses are: 

Présent ----> Imparfait

Passé composé -----> Plus-que-parfait

Imparfait ----> Imparfait    (no change)

Plus-que-parfait———> Plus-que-parfait (no change)

Futur ----> Conditionnel

Futur antérieur———-> Conditionnel passé (rare)

Conditionnel Présent ----> Conditionnel présent (no change)

Conditionnel passé ———-> Conditionnel passé (no change)

We are working on a lesson at this very moment ...

Alan

Kwiziq community member

25 February 2019

25/02/19

In English, we have essentially the same basic rules about changes in tense, but there a lot of exceptions. To achieve native speaker fluency in English, you have to go beyond those basic rules. 

In general, reported speech seems to be similar in French and English, but I imagine there must be some differences. Perhaps we are more flexible in deciding whether to backshift in English? I hope the coming lesson will discuss these differences.

Shefali

Kwiziq community member

13 March 2019

13/03/19

Merci, Cécile! It's a lot more clearer now. Looking forward to the lesson on Reported Speech.

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