If I would like to translate this sentence to French:

Since they broke up, his condition has gotten much worse.

Would I say the following?

"Depuis qu'ils se sont rompu, son état soit devenu tellement pire."

Since this sentence has two different subjects and uses "depuis que", it should use the subjunctive. However, the translation doesn't sound right to me. Am I mistaken?

If so, what would be the right translation?

1 Answer 1


You will never have a subjunctive either in a subordinate clause starting with depuis que, or in the main clause. In your example you must use the passé composé.

Other issues with your sentence:

  • break up is rompre and it is conjugated with avoir,
    ils ont rompu ;
  • to express devenir pire we have the verb empirer,
    a empiré ; which you can use with an amplifier such as beaucoup or considérablment.

    Depuis qu'ils ont rompu son état a beaucoup empiré.

  • You are right in saying that this sentence has two different subjects but you are mistaken in thinking it is a reason to use the subjunctive. In French the subjunctive is used to express attitudes or feelings like doubt, uncertainty hope..., but not actual facts, and in your sentence we are dealing with an actual fact.

  • Difference between rompre and se rompre:
    An example where rompre and se rompre can be used indifferently:

    Les branches se sont rompues sous le poids des fruits.
    Les branches ont rompu sous le poids des fruits.

    But in your example you use rompre for the people :

    Ils ont rompu.

    And se rompre for the tie that (used to) unite them:

    Leurs liens (leurs rapports) se sont rompus.

  • The answer to your initial question: "Is there an imperfect subjunctive tense?": yes there is, see here but you can't use it in your sentence and it is generally very rarely used nowadays.

  • 1
    Un exemple d'usage du subjonctif imparfait eût été apprécié.
    – Kii
    Jul 28, 2016 at 14:00
  • 1
    @Kii The point of Stackexchange is one question at a time and an answer to that question. The question was asking about the use of the imperfect subjunctive in a precise case. Several FL answers already deal with the imperfect subjunctive, there are numerous pages on the web that deal with it and if OP wants to know something else they can ask another question.
    – None
    Jul 28, 2016 at 14:32
  • 1
    This is a very good, comprehensive answer. Thank you for explaining! Jul 30, 2016 at 2:19

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