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I have heard the following sentence in the TV series Marseille:

Voter contre le casino, c'est me trahir, moi.

Is "ce" required in this sentence, i.e. is the pronoun "ce" required when the subject is a clause? Would "voter contre le casino est me trahir" be wrong ?

  • 1
    Oh, that's a good one! In that case, not using ce would sound awkward to me that's probably because in that case you also have a clausal object, e.g. I would have no issue with “Voter contre le casino est une trahison”. See also Le Bon Usage for a sketch of explanation. – Evpok Jan 25 at 17:21
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Constructions of the type "voter contre le casino est me trahir" are not in use.

It can be deduced from LBU that it is a possible construction when the subject is an infinitive but that for the least it has to be rare otherwise.

(user LPH's bold type) Infinitif attribut. a) Sans préposition. I L'infinitif attribut est assez fréquent quand le sujet est lui-même un infinitif, lequel est ordinairement repris par « ce ».

  • Vouloir, c'est POUVOIR (maxime courante).
  • Aimer ce n'est point nous REGARDER l'un l'autre mais REGARDER ensemble dans la même direction (SAINT EXUPÉRY, Terre des hommes, VIII, 3).

Sans ce :

  • Choisir est EXCLURE (DUTOURD, cit. Togeby, § 1216).

Cette absence est beaucoup plus fréquente si l'équivalence est niée:

  • Mourir n'est pas MOURIR! [...] c'est CHANGER ! (LAMART., Mort de Socrate, Pl., p. 91.)
  • Plaisanter n'est pas RÉPONDRE (COLETTE, Maison de Claud., XXII).

It would't even sound perfectly correct to write this.

  • Voter est me trahir, moi.

However this would sound acceptable to me, that is, I would tend to think of it as being in use but only rarely.

  • Ne pas voter est me trahir.

Nevertheless, I would feel more confortable with the form that includes "ce".

  • Ne pas voter c'est me trahir.

This construction (without "ce") seems to have some sort of legitimity when it involves only two infinitives and preferably when used to enunciate a pithy remark about life at large.

  • Trahir est haïr.
  • Partir est mourir.

However, one finds that it remains rare the construction using "ce" being almost the unique one. "Partir c'est mourir… is common but "partir est mourir … is not found at all.

In all cases of use of "partir" and "mourir" found in Google's whole literature, where only the two infinitives are used (6 cases), the pronoun "ce" is used: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

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