(○) : N'allez-vous pas soutenir qu'il n'y a pas d'honneur à affronter une femme ?

(○) : Il maintient qu'il n'était pas là le jour du crime.

Je ne peux pas m'empêcher de me dire que l'on ne peut pas substituer « maintenir » à « soutenir » et inversement dans ces deux phrases. Ou je me fais trop d'idées là-dessus ?

(×) : N'allez-vous pas maintenir qu'il n'y a pas d'honneur à affronter une femme ?

(×) : Il soutient qu'il n'était pas là le jour du crime.

  • 2
    Je dirais qu’on soutient un propos et qu’on maintient une position… Donc les premiers exemples me semblent plus corrects. Sans que les seconds me choquent outre mesure. – Stéphane Nov 16 '16 at 20:48
  • 4
    en disant "maintenir", il y a une idée de ne pas changer d'avis. Dans "soutenir", il y a une idée de convaincre les autres personnes (comme quand on soutien une thèse par exemple) – Random Nov 17 '16 at 8:10
  • @Random: J'abonde. Je dirais même que maintenir, c'est soutenir de façon répétée. – mouviciel Nov 17 '16 at 14:18

Maintenir is used exclusively to mean that you still claim something you said is true. It is an affirmation you made about an event mostly relative to you, like "I wasn't there that day".

Soutenir does not necessarily imply you supported the statement before, and is often used with an idea, an ideology. It's more philosophical than factual.

  • 1
    So "maintenir" is about keeping/not changing your claim previously stated, whereas "soutenir" is about holding a belief/idea? Merci. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Nov 17 '16 at 10:15
  • @LUNA yep, pretty much. – Teleporting Goat Nov 19 '16 at 16:55

Maintenir has a lot of meaning but the general idea is "not moving", in your case it precisely means not changing your point of view.

Soutenir is more difficult, the concept is "to be with" or "to help", in you first example the idea is "don't you agree about what I said ?".

Your first sentence is a bit peculiar because we don't use it anymore in current language, just in movies presenting old stories.

For your switched sentences, the second one is false, because your not by the side of someone or something. Unless, like said in comments, the two "Il" are two different persons, otherwise I personally don't recommend the usage.

The first one is correct, in the idea "you don't want to change your point of view ?", but still we don't use it that much.

  • " Il soutient qu'il n'était pas là le jour du crime" is correct and can be used, but the meaning is a bit different as answered by Teleporting Goat, – Daniel E. Nov 18 '16 at 9:46
  • " Il soutient qu'il n'était pas là le jour du crime" I think it is more correct if you mean the first and second "Il" being two different persons. If he speak about himself it's not incorrect but really weird. – Alvisslp Nov 18 '16 at 10:44

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