French Language

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Re: I would have had to...........

 NormanH wrote:
It can help to have a longer phrase or sentence to translate, as I said in Patf's question about 'tough'.
In your case  'I would have had to ' is a bit clearer if you add a bit more to give a real context to work with
For example "If I had missed the train I would have had to go by car" triggers a real situation in my imagination and I start thinking what I would say, whereas the snippet 'I would have had to ' is a bit dry..

Si j'avais raté le train, il aurait fallu que j'aille en voiture
or (easier to say)
Si j'avais raté le train, il m'aurait fallu prendre la voiture

But these 'sequence of tenses' are a minefield and I am by no means convinced of either of those.
In fact I would probably have skirted round 'falloir' and used 'obligé'

J'aurais été obligé
so

Si j'avais raté le train, j'aurais été obligé de prendre la voiture


No, Norman, no context needed in this case!  A straightforward grammatical question and the phrase can be inserted anywhere that requires this form of the conditional.

You would know that I normally give a lot of context.  I'd recount a story, give you the name and author of the book from which a phrase is extracted.  Sometimes I think I go on too much and for too long with the preamble.

This time, I deliberately didn't give a context because it was to do with the purchase of my new car and I didn't want to seem to be braggingWoot! [:-))]

N'allez pas trop vite - Proust
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Re: I would have had to...........

The problem with taking a single phrase is that it is often rather too specific to be used elsewhere. In this case there is also the problem of the verb 'to have to' which complicates the phrase with one 'have' as an auxiliary
I would have....then the second 'have' in fact being the past participle of 'have to'
had to

It can be much simpler to reformulate the phrase in English before translating it, and that re-formulated phrase often sounds rather academic to modern English ears.

I turned it to I would have been obliged to  which makes sense but I doubt many people would say nowadays.
In French however j'aurais été obligé de feels less stiff than the formulations with falloir

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.
- Bertrand Russell
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Re: I would have had to...........

I did think of "obligé" but I wasn't sure about the "aurais été" bit and, rather than give a wrong impression, I thought I'd ask.

It wasn't "I would have" but what I wanted to say was exactly what I'd written "I would have had to..."  I guess you are right "I would have been obliged to".............they'd think it old-fashion if they could understand it at all.

N'allez pas trop vite - Proust
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Re: I would have had to...........

I guess maybe early on that you carried a EF/FE dictionary around with you, if not then chapeau, it was an important crutch to me for a while but superbly liberating the when I made the decision to leave it at home, like riding a bike without stabilisers there is no looking back!
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Re: I would have had to...........

I took a dictionary but only for a very short period of time, maybe to the doctor's or to the DIY shop but I found it cumbersome and I can't really remember when I stopped carrying it around.

The worst bit I found was when I COULD say a few things and then the French person or persons started talking to me at their normal speed and using their normal vocabulary.  I then had to say hold on a bit, not so fast please as I don't understand what you are saying!  Yes, that was definitely a depressing and frustrating period of my language-learning.

N'allez pas trop vite - Proust
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Confused [8-)]

Re: I would have had to...........

NormanH wrote :

In French however j'aurais été obligé de feels less stiff than the formulations with falloir

My thoughts exactly ...

Grammar and correct grammatical construction are crucial in any language to convey meaning, unless you want to misunderstand what is being said or be misunderstood.

This has been brought home to me recently as I now find that my thoughts in both French and English need to be as precise as possible as I have been roped in to help in 'perfecting' the English of a group of French people at the local Maison des Associations. As these people are retired teachers, administrators, pharmacists etc they have no desire to be fobbed off with ungrammatical English so I am kept on my toes.

Sue
Computing - it's another world
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Re: I would have had to...........

What an interesting activity to be associated with, Sue, lucky you!Big Smile [:D]

I have found that, if anything, learning French has made me reassess the way I speak and write English.  The other time when I started questioning my English was when I did a certificate in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL).  For possibly the first time in my life, I felt a bit shaky about my grammar.......and that was after a university degree and a few professional courses....ah um a really tough time when your own language use is put in the spotlight!

N'allez pas trop vite - Proust
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Re: I would have had to...........

A quick googlecount:

il m'aurait fallu - 83,300 occurrences
j'aurais été obligé(e) de - 38,300 occurrences.
il aurait fallu que je - 150,000 occurrences

I know it's no more than a very random snapshot but I'm surprised that there are so many more fallu que + subj than fallu + infinitives.
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