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I were ?

Démarré par Freddyben, 06 Août 2007 08:59

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Hi everyone,
what is the proper translation for "I wish I were an actor" ? The "I were" is pretty much a mystery to me ??? (is "to me" correct or is it "for me"?)


The "were" from "I were" is actually a case of the subjunctive in English. I would translate it as "Je souhaite que je sois un acteur." (correct me if that's improper subjunctive in my French there). To be honest, Americans do not use the subjunctive very much at all, and most people don't even know what it is. As a result, you'll hear "I wish that I were" but you'll also hear "I wish that I was" quite often, too.

And yes, something is a mystery to someone. :)
Hello, and welcome to Apprendre l'anglais.
Bonjour, et bienvenue à Apprendre l'anglais.


Hi Freddyben,
that's the translation I found: Je regrette que je ne sois pas un acteur
"I were" it's very strange . So go
Maybe you find une explication. They talk about... here just a part of their conversation.:
rare, exists in English, as in "if I were a rich man" (not was)
Does it help you a little bit?

PS:  "a mystery to me " rings better in my ears


Hi Thomas,
"Je souhaite que je sois un acteur" doesn't work because there is only one subject (je), in this case you sould say "je souhaite être un acteur" but anyway I reckon we would need a whole lesson to understand this bit (I'm not even sure what is the "Subjonctif" in French even though I heard this ages ago). I would dream of listening one anyway. :D because I think that can be important in written English and a little bit in spoken one.
Thank you Bettina for this tip, I had a look at it and it's quite interesting :) (but a little hard to understand plus when you read it in English, crazy, isn't it ! :D)


Actually, I do understand what you mean about "je souhaite être un acteur" and not using the subjunctive. It's one of those "oh, duh, that makes sense" moments :P . I've spent hours and hours studying the subjonctive in French, because it's so difficult, and I still make mistakes (obviously ;) ) But do you see what I meant by my sentence? I was just trying to show that it's the subjunctive in English. I will have to study the English subjunctive more before I do any lessons on it, but I do know that we use it with "wish" and "if" as you can see with some of the examples here.
Hello, and welcome to Apprendre l'anglais.
Bonjour, et bienvenue à Apprendre l'anglais.


OHHHH, I think I got what the subjunctive in French is, I think it's something like "Si seulement j'eusse été un acteur", that's completly funny because it's something lost in the attic since ages and ages, I don't even realize how I could have found this one but I'm sure that's the perfectly right sentence, that's the perfect French !! but nowadays I guess we would say "si seulement j'avais pu être un acteur" it's just that we don't use the same verb (it's "pouvoir" and auxiliary : "avoir"), it's a modern way of speaking (some guys would say it's less beautiful than in the past but I don't really care about this, we're still speaking "la langue de Molière" that's the expression we use sometime to call our language :)). So as a result I would bet on the first one I wrote to properly translate "I wish I were an actor" but I could be completly wrong, that's the "heads or tails" game. :D


C'est sûr que le subjonctif n'est pas du tout utile dans ce contexte. cela alourdit la langue, un point c'est tout.

Mais au lieu de "je souhaite être un acteur", je pense qu'il est préférable d'écrire "j'aimerais être" ou bien "j'aimerais devenir" si c'est pour plus tard.

Mais le subjonctif est très moche dans cette phrase française. en tout cas, c'est assez maladroit. :/
Listen to the silence which swings at your ear...


Would you really were an actor ?
Apprendre c'est faire le choix d'évoluer