18.2.4 Sequence of tenses with verbs requiring the subjonctif

So far we have only discussed those verbs of reporting and mental involvement that require the indicatif, meaning the 'normal' form of the verb. These are verbs like to think, to assume, to suppose etc. From the chapter subjonctif we already know about verbs and phrases requiring the subjonctif. This is cause by the special meaning of certain verbs (craindre [to be afraid], regretter [to regret]) referring to something irreal. We have also discussed that there are verbs, that require the subjonctif only in the negative form (penser [to think], croire [to believe], espérer [to hope], supposer [to suppose]).
A list of both (the ones requiring the subjonctif, and those where we would expect the subjonctif, but it is used only in the negative form) is to be found in the chapter subjonctif .

However, if we have a verb or a phrase that requires the subjonctif, we can have all three cases; English does not differentiate the moods of verbs as we can see in the overview.

  Overview
introductory verb is in present tense
  before the involvement: I am afraid that he did it.
  at the same time: I am afraid that he does it.
  after the involvement: I am afraid that he will do it.
  introductory verb is in past tense
  before the involvement: I was afraid that he had done it.
  at the same time: I was afraid that he did it.
  after the involvement: I was afraid that he would do it.

Now, how is the French construction, if the introductory verb requires the subjonctif?
We have have already discussed in the chapter subjonctif that the subjonctif imparfait and the subjonctif plus-que-parfait is not anymore actively spoken in French. Therefore, there are some problems of a precise reflection of the sequence of tenses with the subjonctif.

Therefore, we have a differentiation between the literature style and the spoken French, which we will discuss in the following.






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