Introduction to the verb discerner
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The English translation of the French verb discerner is “to discern.” It is pronounced as /dis.sɛʁ.ne/.
The word discerner comes from the Old French verb “discerner,” which means “to distinguish” or “to separate.” It is derived from the Latin word “discernere,” which has the same meaning.
In everyday French, the verb discerner is most often used in the Subjonctif Imparfait tense, which expresses a hypothetical or uncertain action in the past. This tense is formed by using the imperfect subjunctive of the verb “être” (to be) or “avoir” (to have) followed by the past participle of discerner.
Here are three examples of discerner in the Subjonctif Imparfait tense with their English translations:
- Il fallait que je discerne ses intentions. (I had to discern his intentions.)
- Je préférais que tu discernes la vérité. (I preferred that you discern the truth.)
- Il était important que nous discernions les nuances. (It was important that we discerned the nuances.)
Table of the Subjonctif Imparfait (Subjunctive Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of discerner
||Je serais content si je discernasse mieux.
||I would be happy if I discerned better.
||Si tu avais plus de temps, tu discernasses mieux.
||If you had more time, you would discern better.
||Si il discernât plus clairement, il serait plus précis.
||If he discerned more clearly, he would be more precise.
||Elle serait plus attentive si elle discernât mieux.
||She would be more attentive if she discerned better.
||Si on discernât plus tôt, on agirait plus vite.
||If one discerned earlier, one would act faster.
||Si nous discernassions mieux, nous prendrions une meilleure décision.
||If we discerned better, we would make a better decision.
||Si vous discernassiez plus attentivement, vous comprendriez mieux.
||If you discerned more carefully, you would understand better.
||S’ils discernassent plus rapidement, ils agiraient plus efficacement.
||If they discerned more quickly, they would act more efficiently.
||Si elles discernassent ensemble, elles trouveraient une solution.
||If they discerned together, they would find a solution.
Other Conjugations for Discerner.
Le Present (Present Tense) Conjugation of the French Verb discerner
Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb discerner
Passé Simple (Simple Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb discerner
Passé Composé (Present Perfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb discerner
Futur Simple (Simple Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb discerner
Futur Proche (Near Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb discerner
Plus-que-parfait (Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb discerner
Passé Antérieur (Past Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb discerner
Futur Antérieur (Future Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb discerner
Subjonctif Présent (Subjunctive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb discerner
Subjonctif Passé (Subjunctive Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb discerner
Subjonctif Imparfait (Subjunctive Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb discerner (this article)
Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb discerner
Conditionnel Présent (Conditional Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb discerner
Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb discerner
L’impératif Présent (Imperative Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb discerner
L’infinitif Présent (Infinitive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb discerner
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Discerner – About the French Subjonctif Imparfait (Subjunctive Imperfect) Tense
The French Subjonctif Imparfait, also known as the imperfect subjunctive, is a verb tense used to express actions, states, or conditions that are uncertain, subjective, or hypothetical in the past. It is used in a variety of situations, including wishes, doubts, emotions, and polite requests, and often occurs in dependent clauses following certain expressions and conjunctions.
To form the Subjonctif Imparfait, you typically start with the third person plural (ils/elles) form of the verb in the imparfait (imperfect) tense. Then, you remove the -ent ending and add the appropriate endings:
– For regular -er verbs: je -sse, tu -sses, il/elle/on -t, nous -ssions, vous -ssiez, ils/elles -ssent.
– For regular -ir and -re verbs: je -sse, tu -sses, il/elle/on -t, nous -ssions, vous -ssiez, ils/elles -ssent.
Common Everyday Usage Patterns
1. Expressing Doubt or Uncertainty: The Subjonctif Imparfait is used to express doubt or uncertainty about something that happened in the past.
Example: Il doutait qu’elle vînt à la fête. (He doubted that she came to the party.)
2. Wishes and Desires: It is used to express wishes or desires in the past.
Example: J’aurais aimé que tu fusses là. (I would have liked you to be there.)
3. Hypothetical Scenarios: The Subjonctif Imparfait is employed in hypothetical situations in the past.
Example: Si j’eusse su, j’aurais agi différemment. (If I had known, I would have acted differently.)
4. Polite Requests and Suggestions: It is used to make polite requests and suggestions in a formal or polite tone.
Example: Il souhaitait que vous vinssiez lui rendre visite. (He wished that you would come to visit him.)
Interactions with Other Tenses
The Subjonctif Imparfait is often used in dependent clauses with the Subjonctif Présent in the main clause, especially in complex sentences.
Example: Il faut que tu manges bien pour que tu aies de l’énergie. (You need to eat well so that you have energy.)
Indicatif Passé Composé
The Subjonctif Imparfait can be used alongside the Indicatif Passé Composé to indicate a contrast between a factual event and a hypothetical one.
Example: Il est parti avant que tu ne fusses arrivé. (He left before you arrived.)
The Subjonctif Imparfait is often used with the Conditional to express unreal or hypothetical situations in the past.
Example: J’aurais pu le faire si j’eusse eu plus de temps. (I could have done it if I had had more time.)
It can also be used with the Conditional Perfect to express unreal or hypothetical past events that would have occurred before other past events.
Example: J’aurais su s’il eût partagé l’information. (I would have known if he had shared the information.)
The Subjonctif Imparfait is a relatively complex tense, and its usage depends on the context and the verbs involved. It is essential to practice and become familiar with common expressions and contexts where this tense is appropriate to use it effectively in everyday French communication.
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