Two years ago, I learned that to say

  • Do you want me to speak French?

I must say something similar to "Do you want that I speak French": "Est-ce que tu veux que je parle le français?".

But, strangely, the following very similar sentence:

  • It is difficult for me to speak French.

is translated by "C'est difficile pour moi de parler le français".


  1. Why is "me to speak French" translated so differently between the two sentences?
  2. Is this sentence correct: "Est-ce que tu veux moi de parler le français?"?
  3. Is this sentence correct: "C'est difficile que je parle le français."?
  • You should consider that to speak is translated the same way in the two cases. What differs is that me can't be considered alone. In the first case Do you want me (est-ce que tu veux que je), and in the second case It is difficult for me (c'est difficile pour moi) .. Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 9:07

3 Answers 3


To answer 1., it doesn't make much sense to consider "me to speak French", because the me can come from very different constructions.

You want me to [verb] = Tu veux que je [verbe]

It is hard for me to [verb] = C'est difficile pour moi de [verbe]

The two constructions aren't even close in English, and you should consider them as a whole and not chop parts of them who look alike and assume they behave the same way.

  1. No, vouloir in French is always like you're taught. There is no way to make it look like the English "I want you to ...", it's always "Je veux que tu ..."

  2. No, but in books it would be correct to say :

Il m'est difficile de parler Français

Just know that it exists, to satisfy your curiosity, but don't use it in conversations, it's way too formal.

  • Funny enough, if anyone said to me "il m'est difficile de parler français", I would probably assume that they are actually pretty good at it...
    – Malcolm
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 1:40

You should't use an article in parler le français:

Est-ce que tu veux que je parle français ?

C'est difficile pour moi de parler français.

Otherwise, these two sentences are correct.

  1. Their difference in structure is due to the fact que has to be followed by a conjugated verb (like "that" in "that I speak") while de must be followed by an infinitive (like "to" in "to speak").

  2. The following sentence is incorrect:

Est-ce que tu veux moi de parler le français ?

A possible but a little far fetched sentence could be:

Est-ce que tu veux de moi que je choisisse de parler français ?

  1. The next sentence is not idiomatic, difficile and que do not mix together here:

C'est difficile que je parle français.

The is no evidence yet it is ungrammatical though, but the fact is this combination sounds odd and essentially unused in written French or in standard spoken French.

There are however similar constructions that are definitely grammatical:

C'est bien que je parle français.

C'est ennuyeux que je parle français.

and even:

Il est bien difficile que vous vous trompiez. (Tocqueville, 1858)

  • I'm wondering: though "C'est difficile que je parle français." is not idiomatic, is it grammatically correct?
    – silph
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 10:31
  • 1
    I might be wrong but I don't think it is strictly ungrammatical. In any case, it is written with an extremely poor style. A French teacher would certainly rephrase that sentence if coming from a student.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 12:04
  • 1
    I would say it's ungrammatical. "C'est difficile" should not be followed by "que" but most probably by "de" : "c'est difficile de parler français pour moi"
    – Malcolm
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 1:44
  • @Malcom You didn't demonstrated it so you do not state a grammatical rule but an opinion. The fact nobody uses some phrasing because it doesn't sound well doesn't necessarily make it ungrammatical. For example c'est bien que je parle français or c'est ennuyeux que je parle français are perfectly correct. So is Il est bien difficile que vous vous trompiez (Tocqueville, 1858)
    – jlliagre
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 8:37
  • Me voudriez-vous que je parle en français/ que je parle du français ====> would you like me to speak in French/ to speak French.

  • me voulez vous que je parle en/ du français ====> do you want me to speak in/.0.. French.

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