By the way, I love how clauses of fearing are pretty well preserved with their entire syntax intact from Latin.
The ne often gets dropped. I'm not sure I would say "generally" because it's still not so rare to hear ne in colloquial speech. Let's just say it's optional.Incidentally, I've been told that in colloquial French, the ne generally gets dropped.
You can (but don't have to) just leave out the ne, yes.So how does one express fear clauses in colloquial French (or does the ne just get left out there as well)?
Grevisse gives the use of the subjunctive in this kind of sentence as "souvent" but also gives counter-examples in the indicative. I suspect there is a nuance of difference between the two. I'm not a native speaker of French, but la plus jolie que je connaisse sounds at once less certain but also that there's some emotional engagement with the statement, like the speaker is amazed or feels affection. La plus jolie que je connais seems like a statement of fact and less subjective. Thoughts?I'm now tackling le subjonctif. Though most uses of it are pretty familiar from Latin, its use in clauses that depend on superlative adjectives or seul/premier/dernier is new to me (e.g. Marie est la plus jolie demoiselle que je connaisse). I suppose it must be an extension of Latin clauses of characteristic, but is the precise reasoning behind this known?
I wouldn't be surprised if that's how it came about.'Let's use the subjunctive with superlatives. Foreigners will get it wrong, like the Spanish cows they are, & we might even catch out a few native speakers. Hours of fun, I promise you.'
It's true that the present subjunctive is nearly the same as the indicative for most verbs, but it's very different for some of the most common verbs (être, avoir, faire, venir, aller), and the past subjunctive is always different from the passé composé because of the auxiliaries.How often do you even hear a difference between the indicative and the subjunctive?
All regular verbs of the first group are the same in both present indicative and subjunctive.It's true that the present subjunctive is nearly the same as the indicative for most verbs, but it's very different for some of the most common verbs (être, avoir, faire, venir, aller), and the past subjunctive is always different from the passé composé because of the auxiliaries.
|Azay-le-Rideau doit être le plus grand château que nous ayons visité.||Azay-le-Rideau must be the biggest château we visited.|
|(Assumption. I’m not sure this is true, because we visited more than 20.)|
|Azay-le-Rideau est le plus grand château que nous avons visité.||Azay-le-Rideau is the biggest château we visited.|
|(Fact. We only visited three, and this was definitely the biggest.)|
|C’est le meilleur restaurant qui puisse exister !|
|This is the best restaurant that could possibly exist!|
|C’est le meilleur restaurant que je connais.||This is the best restaurant that I know.|
Yes, essentially.That's basically what Clemens was saying, isn't it? It could be true; I don't know.
True, but I would like to have a decent working knowledge of French, at the very least so I can read literature (not just scholarly papers but novels, poetry, etc.) and get something of the feel it would have for a native speaker, and if possible, so that I can converse with French speakers on at least basic topics.While I can't say that I'm particularly good at conjugating French verbs, it never felt to me like it was particularly hard to learn them if you spend enough time on writing a few bits in French and maybe doing a few exercises.
Apart from that, you don't seem to need French for actual conversations in French, but just for academic references (i.e. clown jobs) ... so you don't need to overdo it.