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When googling lyrics to the song "pas toi" by Jean-Jacques Goldman, I noticed that I got hits both for "quoique je fasse" and "quoi que je fasse." I took this as evidence that many native speakers think of them as the same word (much like "affect/effect" in English or "your/you're" among uneducated native English speakers). Is this true?

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Yes, it's true. –  Alexis Pigeon Dec 13 '13 at 15:04
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Oui, parfois il y a comme un « couac ». –  Stéphane Gimenez Dec 13 '13 at 15:35
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

I dare say it's a very common mistake, even among very literate French natives. It takes a lot of going over in French schools, even then, the confusion will linger on.
That being said the difference in writing between "quoique" (conjunction meaning although) and "quoi que" (pronoun meaning whatever) is fairly recent and even some of our most revered writers have made the mistake as you can read here.
And, honestly, I think making this confusion is not as serious as confusing in English your and you're (or its and it's) or affect and effect.


La confusion entre la conjonction « quoique » et la locution pronominale « quoi que » est classique et fréquente même chez les plus cultivés d'entre nous. On peut se donner comme excuse que la différence d'écriture ne s'est pas toujours faite et que ceux qui font cette confusion se trouvent en bonne compagnie comme on peut le lire sur Projet Voltaire, site consacré à l'orthographe.
D'autres confusions tout aussi fréquentes sont, me semble-t-il, plus graves comme « fût-ce » et « fusse », « d'avantage » et « davantage », etc.

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