I want to express the idea of "if anything were to happen to that child" in colloquial French, and I wonder why "il" can serve as a subject in Version 1. Are these two versions nuanced at all?

  • Version 1:

    S'il arrivait quoi que ce soit à cette enfant, ...

  • Version 2:

    Si quoi que ce soit arrivait à cette enfant, ...

  • 1
    At first sight, they are both correct and mean exactly the same thing... Be aware that if you use "cette enfant", it implies it is a girl.
    – Random
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 8:27
  • I would prefer and recommend the version 1. I found it more natural.
    – Eria
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 13:06

2 Answers 2


Les deux formes sont exactes.

La 1 est une version impersonnelle de la 2, qui peut se construire avec des verbes qui indiquent un événement, quelque chose qui survient:

Une personne arrive => Il arrive une personne.

Un drame survient => Il survient un drame.

De la neige tombe => Il tombe de la neige.

Exemple d'autres verbes: apparaît, entrer, venir, ...


Your sentences mean what you want to say.

If you choose to use "quoi que ce soit" as a common name (V1), then you need to add a pronoun to say your condition.

Litterally, the translation is "If it happened anything..." but with the elision, you write "S'il".

V1 is more formal, V2 is in common language.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.