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L'affaire fut bientôt faite;
the business was soon over. I had soon done eating.
Preterpluperfect, or Compound of the Imperfect.
21. The preterplufect is used, as well as the above tense, to express an action past before another, which is past also; but with this difference, that the action expressed by this tense is the principal object of the person who speaks; and the following sentence is subordinate to that expressed by the preterpluperfect. So that, though the time of that subordinate sentence be defined, that of the principal sentence is not the less indeterminate, because the former has no influence on the latter. As when we say,
Nous avions dîné lorsqu'il
we had dined when he arrived;
our principal object is to express the action of dining as past, without determining at what time, but only before an action which is past also, without, however, the latter being a consequence of the former; for we do not mean to say that he stayed, or waited, till we had dined, in order to arrive. Ex.
Je sortirais avec vous, si j'avais I would go with you if I had diné: dined.
Future-past, or Compound.
22. The name of this tense seems at first to imply a contradiction: what is meant by it is, not that an action can be future and past at the same time, but only that the action, which is to come, will be past when another action will happen, or even before it will happen. Ex.
In the first sentence, I shall be gone, which is a future with respect to the time when I speak, will be past at the time when you shall arrive, &c.
Conditional-past, or Compound.
23. The conditional-past expresses that a thing would have been done in a time past, if the condition on which it depended had been fulfilled.
Je vous aurais écrit il y a un mois, si j'avais su votre adresse:
I would have written to you a
TENSES OF THE SUBJUNCTIVE MOOD *.
24. The subjunctive expresses no affirmation, but generally depends upon a verb that does express it.
The present and the future are expressed in the subjunctive by the same tense; that is to say, by the present. The meaning alone of the sentence distinguishes them. Ex. Vous avez l'air malade, quoique
vous vous portiez bien; Je suis désolé de vous voir si indisposé. Adieu ! je désire que vous vous portiez mieux;
you look ill, though you are
I am sorry to see you so
In the first example, the verb portiez, which is in the present of the subjunctive, expresses the present state of the person; in the second sentence, the same verb, which is in the same tense, expresses the future.
26. When the verb which precedes the conjunction is in the present or future of the indicative, and when we do not mean to express by the second verb an action past, we must put this last verb in the present of the subjunctive
Je souhaite que vous réussissiez
dans votre entreprise ; J'attendrai qu'il vienne ;
I wish you may succeed in
I will wait till he comes.
26. When the verb which is before the conjunction is in one of the past tenses, or in the conditional, and we do not wish to designate by the second verb a past time more distant than that of the first verb, we must put this second verb in the imperfect of the subjunctive. Ex.
*The use of the subjunctive mood presents great difficulties to the English learner, inasmuch as the two languages essentially differ in this respect. Some endeavour has been made to smoothe this difficulty in the SUPPLEMENT, which see.
Alexandre ordonna que tous ses sujets l'adorassent comme un dieu :
Je voulais que vous écrivissiez
à votre sœur ;
Il souhaiterait que vous prissiez des mesures plus convenables;
Alexander ordered that all his subjects should worship him as a god.
I wished you to write to your sister.
he would wish you to take some more proper step.
27. The preterite of the subjunctive mood is used when we speak of an action past and accomplished, with regard to the tense of the verb which precedes the conjunction; and this tense is generally the present, preterite-indefinite, or future of the indicative. Ex.
Je doute qu'aucun philosophe
Il a fallu que j'aie consulté
I doubt whether any philo
sopher has ever well understood the union of the soul with the body.
I was obliged to consult all the physicians.
I shall by no means go thither till I have received some assurances of being wel
28. After the imperfect, preterite, preterpluperfect of the indicative, or one of the two conditionals, we use the preterpluperfect of the subjunctive mood; likewise after the conjunction si, when it precedes a compound tense. Ex.
J'ignorais que vous eussiez em-
I did not know you had em-
have arrived before you.
I should have acted in the same manner, had I been in your place.
Numbers and Persons.
29. A tense contains both numbers, the singular and the plural.
That there are three persons has already been observed
under the personal pronouns; we have only to remark that one of these three persons is always joined to the verb as its subject; therefore the verb must agree with that subject in number and person.
Je fais, I do;
Tu fais, thou dost ;
nous faisons, we do.
vous faites, you or ye do. ils font, they do.
30. The pronoun vous, you, denotes the second person singular and plural, with this difference, that when we speak to one person only, the attribute, or qualifying noun, must be put in the singular.
Etes-vous marié, Monsieur! and not mariés ;
are you married, Sir?
31. When the verb has two or more nouns or pronouns for its subjects, it must be put in the plural, though all these subjects be in the singular; because two or more nouns in the singular are equivalent to a plural, with regard to verbs as well as to adjectives. Ex.
Mon frère et ma sœur sont my brother and sister are partis;
32. If the verb has for its subjects one pronoun of the first person and one of the second, the pronoun nous must be added to them, and the verb is to be put in the first person plural; but if one of the subjects is of the second person, and the other of the third, the pronoun vous must follow them, and the verb is to be put in the second person plural. See p. 55, Rule 11. Ex.
Vous et moi, nous partirons demain ;
Vous et votre frère, vous me l'avez promis;
you and I shall set off to
you and your brother have promised it to me.
33. In such instances the person spoken to is always to come first, the person spoken of comes next, and the person who speaks is placed the last.
QUESTIONS FOR EXAMINATION
ON VERBS, THEIR MOODS, TENSES,
What is a verb ?
What are called active?
What is to conjugate verbs?
What is meant by regular and irregular verbs?
What auxiliary ?
What is meant by the mood of a verb?
How many moods are there, and what are they?
What is the use of the infinitive mood?
What is that of the indicative?
What is that of the imperative?
What is that of the subjunctive?
How many tenses are there in the infinitive mood in
How many in the indicative ?
How many in the imperative?
How many in the subjunctive?
When is the present of the indicative used?
Instead of what other tense is it sometimes used?
When is the imperfect of the indicative used?
When is the preterite definite used?
What is the use of the future tense?
Are there various ways of expressing the future?
What does the preterite indefinite express?
In what other manner can the same tense be expressed?
What does the preterpluperfect express?
What does the conditional past express ?