In this sentence,

Tu es hors de toi, tu dois bien t'en rendre compte.

which means “You're beside yourself. You must be well aware of that.”, the word "dois" translates into "must". But does the sentence mean either:

  • an obligation: “You're beside yourself. You have to realise that.”

  • or a probability: “You're beside yourself. You certainly realise that.”

2 Answers 2


The use of bien before devoir changes the meaning of devoir, you almost understood it in your comment on jlliagre's answer.

If you add an adverb on devoir, such like bien, it will mean a strong probability rather than an obligation.

Without any adverb in this case, devoir means an obligation.

Tu dois t'en rendre compte, tu vas droit dans le mur sinon

Here is a few adverbs changing the meaning of devoir :

Tu dois sûrement t'en rendre compte

Tu dois probablement t'en rendre compte

But some adverbs insist on the obligation :

Tu dois vraiment t'en rendre compte

The verb falloir can be used in this case to build an unambiguous sentence. Here it means an obligation :

Il faut que tu t'en rende compte


That means a strong probability, i.e. "you are so furious that it is very unlikely for you not to realize it".

  • 1
    When "devoir" is used with "bien", does "devoir" almost always mean a strong probability rather than un obligation? Thanks. May 20, 2016 at 1:01
  • 1
    Not necessarily, e.g. Tu dois bien te tenir à l'école means an obligation.
    – jlliagre
    May 20, 2016 at 1:28
  • 1
    I think it is all about tone. If the sentence is interrogative, it means a high probability, but if it is affirmative (aggressive ?), it is an obligation... You may also say "tu dois bien t'en rendre compte" as an advice or something like that (even if uncommon)
    – Random
    May 20, 2016 at 7:35

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