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Sometimes I find sentences like the following:

Si vous êtes pressé et que vous n'avez pas envie de prendre les transports en commun, vous pouvez toujours prendre un taxi.

Why is it si […] et que […] + main clause? My understanding is that it is the same as si […] et si […]. Is it correct?

Any other cases where the conjunction appears the second time as que? Is it more formal this way or quite the contrary?

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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Almost all subordinate conjunctions in French end in -que (either as a word ending, e.g. lorsque, quoique, or as a separate word, e.g. bien que, tant que). When they are repeated, only the que part is repeated.

Lorsqu'il va venir et qu'il va voir ce qui s'est passé, il ne va pas être content.

There are a few conjunctions that do not end in -que, but we still use que when repeating them.

Quand il va venir et qu'il va voir ce qui s'est passé, il ne va pas être content.
Si vous êtes pressé et que vous n'avez pas envie de prendre les transports en commun, vous pouvez toujours prendre un taxi.

It is sometimes possible to use si the second time. This tends to put some emphasis on the necessity of the second condition being true. Some purists may frown on this construction.

Si vous êtes pressé et si vous n'avez pas envie de prendre les transports en commun, vous pouvez toujours prendre un taxi.
If you're in a hurry, and if you really don't want to take public transport, you could take a taxi.

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Oh ok, thanks! :) But what's the register in this case? Can I use it also in spoken French? –  Ricky Robinson Jul 16 '13 at 13:13
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@RickyRobinson Spoken French tends to avoid such long constructions. When they're used there's definitely more of a trend to repeat si because by the time the second part comes the beginning of the sentence is already fading in the listener's mind. I wouldn't repeat quand, but I might repeat si. –  Gilles Jul 16 '13 at 13:18
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I see two main reason to use que in that case

  • it allows avoiding to repeat si, which might not sound nice
  • it denotes a cause/consequence relation between the two phrases

You could also use it with other forms, like quand for example

Quand le feu est clignotant et qu'aucun véhicule n'arrive, tu peux traverser

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Yes, si ... et que ... has the same meaning as si ... et si ....

Si vous êtes pressé et si vous n'avez pas envie de prendre les transports en commun, vous pouvez toujours prendre un taxi.

But this form is heavier and a bit less natural.

Another example of conjunction that can be repeated with que is comme:

Comme tu chantes bien et que tu as du temps, rejoins notre chorale !

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