For the last lesson of this book, let’s talk about exclamation sentences. In French, as in many other languages, there are two main types of exclamation sentences: one to express an order or a strong wish/desire, and the other to express a strong feeling/emotion.
❑ To give an order, or show a strong desire, you have the following choices:
• The famous imperative mood:
Listen to Track 145
Viens ici toute de suite!
Come here right now!
Allez au lit!
Go to bed!
• Note: In French, the infinitive mood is also used to give an order/instruction, but its tone is more neutral, and we do not usually use an exclamation mark in this case.
❑ The structure “Que+ subjunctive” is used to give an order or strong wish in the third person
Listen to Track 146
Qu’il finisse de faire du bruit!
I really hope he finishes making noise.
Listen to Track 147
Qu’elle rentre avant 10 heures!
I really hope she is back before 10 o’clock.
❑ To express a strong emotion/feeling, there are many possible types of sentence structures. The only thing they have in common is that they usually do not have a complete structure S + S J.
So, let’s examine some commonly used structures.
• Que + clause (indicative mood, do not confuse with the structure above).
Listen to Track 148
Qu’elle est jolie! (How cute she is!)
Que la vie est belle (How beautiful life is!)
• Quelle + noun
Listen to Track 149
Quelle idée géniale! What a brilliant idea!
Quel mec! What a guy!
• Comme + clause (indicative)
Comme c’est super! It is really cool!
• Mais + noun, clause… The conjunction « mais » (but) is used to emphasize
Listen to Track 150
Tu vas venir? – Mais bien sûr!
Will you come? – But of course!
Mais c’est sûr que c’est vrai! B
But it is sure that it’s true!
❑ Finally, you could turn almost any French noun into an exclamation by raising your voice
Listen to Track 151
❑ Exclamation sentences in French are, in general, used for two main purposes: to express an order/wish and to express a feeling/emotion
❑ To express an order, you will generally use the imperative mood. You could also keep in mind the structure “que + subjunctive” to express a strong wish.
❑ To express a strong feeling/emotion, you will, in general, need a particular word for emphasis, such as “quel”, “que”, “comme”, or “mais.”