You might have heard about some strange French words: quoique, quoi que, bien que… They look pretty similar – “quoique” and “quoi que” even share the exact same pronunciation! And it’s easy to think they all have the same meaning — ‘although’ — in French… but in fact, they are quite different.
These words will help you make more complex sentences, and they’re not so difficult to use or understand! You just need to sit down with a pen and paper and go through today’s lesson, step-by-step.
Learning goals: This is what you’ll be able to do after watching this lesson
- Beginner: Know the meaning of ‘quoique’, ‘quoi que’, ‘bien que’, and other words from this lesson.
- Intermediate: Learn the examples in this lesson
- Advanced: Use these words to build your own complex sentences
Bonjour I’m Géraldine, your French teacher.
Welcome to Comme une Française.
I’m here to help you speak everyday modern French with confidence!
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1. “Quoique” / “Quoi que”
Quoique means “Although”
Je pense que ça va marcher. Quoique je n’en suis pas sûr.
= I think this will work. Although I’m not sure.
In spoken French, it’s most often used on its own, in a one-word sentence.
Je pense que ça va marcher. Quoique…
= I think this will work. Although…
While ‘although’ in French is quoique, on the other hand, quoi que (in two words) means “Whatever”. It’s always followed by a subject and a verb in the subjunctive.
Quoi que je fasse, je pense à toi.
= Whatever I do, I think about you.
A common use of “quoi que” is the expression “Quoi que ce soit”: it means “whatever it is” (literally), or in a sentence, “anything.”
Je ne peux plus manger quoi que ce soit.
= I can’t eat anything more.
You can also use “qui que”, which is the equivalent of “quoi que” but for people instead of things (“who” instead of “what”). Similarly, “Qui que ce soit” means “Anybody.”
Je ne veux pas voir qui que ce soit.
= I don’t want to see anybody.
2) Bien que
Bien que… means “even though…”, and it’s always followed by a subject and a verb in the subjunctive. So, not quite the same as ‘although’. It’s a bit formal.
Bien qu’il soit très grand, il ne joue pas au basket.
= Even though he’s very tall, he doesn’t play basket-ball.
As you can see, it doesn’t have much to do with the word bien (= “good”) at all!
Malgré means “Despite / In spite of.” It’s followed by a noun!
Malgré son âge, elle court tous les matins.
= Despite her age, she runs every morning.
A common mistake that even some French people make is to use “Malgré” with a “que” after. Don’t do that! “Malgré que” doesn’t exist!
4) Other ways to say “although” in French
In addition to “quoique”, “bien que” and “malgré”, you can still find other ways to say “Although” in French, or imply a similar meaning. And they’re more commonly used in real-life spoken French!
For example, you can use:
- Même si (followed by the indicative), which means “Even if”
Je t’aime, même si tu es loin de moi.
= I love you, even if you’re far away from me.
- Mais (= “But”)
Je mange du fromage mais pas du roquefort.
= I eat cheese, but not roquefort cheese.
- Cependant / Néanmoins (= “However”) – These are much more formal
Gérard habite à Paris. Cependant, il vient fêter Noël à Strasbourg, avec nous.
= Gérard lives in Paris. However, he comes to celebrate Christmas in Strasbourg with us.
Bonus tip: Does it matter?
French grammar is like a puzzle. Some find it fun to pierce it all together. Others find the challenge frustrating and would rather do something else.
They’re all valid ways of learning! The point is: you should NOT get “stuck” on grammar. Or mistakes. Don’t lose your confidence or motivation just because grammar is hard – instead, side-step the problem.
Focus on communication first! You don’t need perfect grammar to be understood. But you need to speak (and share your thoughts and make mistakes) if you ever want to improve… Or to enjoy the French you know.
Today you learned:
– The differences between “Quoique” and “Quoi que.”
– How to express the “other side” of an idea using “Bien que”, “Malgré”, “Même si”…
– That mistakes don’t matter that much; confidence is more important than speaking ‘perfect’ French.
What was your favorite part of today’s lesson? Let me know in the comments below.
A tout de suite.
See you in the next video!
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Allez, salut 🙂