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Et pourquoi, je vous le demande, ne pas nous plaire à notre petite vie quotidienne, qui nous semble bien un peu morose, certes, mais qui est, sans doute, charmante, puisque nous sommes assurés que, dans peu d'années, nous ne penserons à elle que pour regretter qu'elle se soit enfuie?

This is from "PATACHOU" by Tristan Deréme.

I can not understand the meaning below,

puisque que, dans peu d'années, nous ne penserons à elle que pour regretter qu'elle se soit enfuie ?

"dans peu d'années" is "in few years"?

Why is "dans peu d'années" passé composé, while "nous ne penserons" is futur?

  • « dans peu d’années » is "in few years", yes. It's not a passé composé… – Stéphane Aug 28 '16 at 0:39
  • why do you say « "dans peu d'année" is passé composé » ? there is no verb in your quote. Are you talking about "puisque nous sommes assurés que" ? – Random Aug 28 '16 at 18:51
  • Sorry I was wrong , "puisque nous sommes assurés que" is passé composé instead of "dans peu d'année" Anyway I do not understand the meaning of this sentence, Thank you. – Hiroshi Inagaki Aug 29 '16 at 4:21
  • @Hiroshi Inagaki In substance : "Why bother with everyday life as, in a few year, we'll be thinking about it just to regret it fled away" – Stéphane Aug 29 '16 at 6:25
  • Your first question was attached to a temporary account. You can regain control over it by filling the account merge form. – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Aug 30 '16 at 7:38
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This is a very long phrase, so you should try to split it to understand it well.

"puisque nous sommes assurés" means something like "because we know for sure". "Assurés" is here an adjective (attribut du sujet) linked to the subject by the verb être, it is not the past participle of a verb in "passé composé" form. Conjugating assurer in passé composé would use the auxiliary verb avoir (Nous avons assuré quelqu'un de quelque chose). I think that this is the confusing part for you. Note that you could replace "assurés" with an adjective that is not derived from a verb: e.g.

puisque nous sommes certains que ...

Then there is a long statement about what we know for sure "in a few year (in a near future), we will think about her in a certain way (it is sad that she ran away)". "Dans peu d'années" is thus well linked with the sentence in "futur".

  • Thank so much for your kind and detailed instruction! I have understood the meaning clearly. Excuse me I can not mark up your point because my experience is under 15. – Hiroshi Inagaki Aug 30 '16 at 0:44
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Nous sommes assurés” is in the passive voice. The same construction exists in English: “we are assured that …”. In French, the sentence could be rephrased using the indeterminate pronoun on: “puisqu'on nous assure que …”. The meaning would be approximately the same, although using the passive voice reduces the emphasis on the fact that someone has given this assurance: “nous sommes assurés” can be read as a state of being — “nous sommes” = “we are”, and “assurés que …” is a state of mind.

Nous sommes assurés” is in the present tense. The rest of the sentence happens “dans peu d'années” (“in few years”), hence the future tense. The last part “qu'elle se soit enfuie” is a subjunctive past, with the past tense indicating that the action in the relative clause happens in the past compared to the clause that it is a complement of, i.e. “qu'elle se soit enfuie” is in the past compared to “regretter” which itself is at the same time as “nous ne penserons à elle”.

Thus:

Dans peu d'années, nous ne penserons à elle que pour regretter qu'elle se soit enfuie.
In few years, we will think of it only to regret that it had escaped.

Nous sommes assurés que dans peu d'années, nous penserons …
We are assured that in few years, we will think …

And elle refers to “notre petite vie quotidienne, qui nous semble bien un peu morose, certes, mais qui est, sans doute, charmante”. Without the adverbs that qualify the impressions we have of this day-to-day life, that's “notre petite vie quotidienne, qui nous semble un peu morose, mais qui est charmante”.

  • Le sujet est toujours délicat, mais dans ce cas je penche très clairement pour l'attribution plutôt que pour la voix passive. Ce n'est pas de l'action dont il est question mais du statut (qui pourrait bien les assurer de cela ?). – Stéphane Gimenez Aug 30 '16 at 12:31

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