Il faut que je fasse…

by Nic Olson

Nic’s French Lesson #1
My first bilingual try at sorting out my thoughts. This oughta be good.

Il faut… can be translated as It is necessary… or at least that is how I translate it in my mind. From the impersonal verb falloir.
Il faut manger avant midi.
Il faut faire des devoirs.
Il faut bien lire les journaux.

Il faut que je… can be roughly translated as, It is necessary that I… followed by subjunctive verb conjugation because it follows the indefinite pronoun que. It is possible to replace ‘je‘ with any other pronoun but the conjugation will change also. More crudely translated as, ‘I gotta…
Il faut que je fasse un pain aux pommes aujourd’hui.
Il faut que je sache comment de changer les pneus de ma voiture.
Il faut que je regarde la route quand je conduis.

We practice this phrase with subjunctive conjugation often, and while walking the soaked sidewalks of the city the phrase constantly rolls through my mind. Il faut que… Il faut que… Il faut que… Il faut que… Il faut que… Il faut que…

My knowledge of both French and English is extremely limited, and my vocabulary is also fairly unexceptional, but I cannot recall an impersonal verb in English that is as effective as the verb falloir‘, and I appreciate the French language for finding such an efficient way of expressing the demands placed on us. The phrase repeats itself in my head because my mind is constantly trying to sort out all the new ideas and conjugations and translations, and just as I occasionally dream in French, I think ‘Il faut que…‘ instead of I gotta… I gotta… I gotta… I gotta… I gotta… I gotta…

It is necessary that I finish my book soon.
Il faut que je finisse mon livre bientôt.


It is necessary to read every day.
Il faut lire chaque jour.

It is necessary that I cook dal.
Il faut que je fasse du dal.

Il faut que je trouve un bon emploi.
Il faut que je reste ici pendant dix ans.
Il faut que je paye le loyer.
Il faut que j’aie des enfants.
Il faut que je trouve Dieu, peu importe quel est son nom.

Il faut…

There is an awful lot of things that ‘Il faut faire‘ but not a lot of things that ‘Je veux faire‘. The responsibilities of life can be sorted out and listed with one impersonal French verb and it will make you realize that there are a lot of things that are deemed necessary to do, and although the efficiency of the verb is a sign of a well developed language, I am not convinced that having a verb that makes it so easy to demand things is good for most human beings. We can have the il-fauts roll constantly through our heads and sort out what we are required to do, but just as importantly we need to let the ideas of je fais, present tense, roll through our minds. Because what we are currently doing is equally if not more important to what we feel it is necessary to do eventually.
Il ne faut pas que je fasse beaucoup, mais au contraire, il faut que je fasse les choses qui sont bonnes pour ma santé mentale.

If needed, here’s the link to Google Translate for rough translations.

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