posted on May 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm
En ce moment, la France me manque ! How would you translate this ? France misses me ? Well that’s not exactly right.
The French verb manquer is a regular -ER verb. It means “to miss” but can cause confusion because it is sometimes used in an unusual construction, as in the above example.
1- Manquer + à means “to miss a person, place, or thing,” as in to feel the lack of it:
Jean me manque = I miss Jean.
Tu me manques = I miss you.
In French, the person missed is the subject of the sentence, whereas in English, the person missed is the object. The French construction literally says “A is missing to B,” where in English we say “B misses A.”
(I can clearly remember saying to an English boyfriend : you miss me, when I wanted to say I miss you ! What a laugh)
If you can remember to think about the literal meaning of the French construction, you should be all right.
Je manque à David. = David misses me.
Literal meaning= I am missing to David.
Je lui manque. = He misses me.
~ I am missing to him.
Tu me manques. I miss you.
~ You are missing to me.
Tu nous manques. We miss you.
~ You are missing to us.
2- Manquer + direct object means “to miss something,” in the sense of not being at/on/in it
J’ai manqué le bus = I missed the bus.
Il va manquer le film = He’s going to miss the movie.
3- Manquer + de + direct object means “to lack something”
Vous manquez de patience. = You lack patience.
Ce thé manque de lait. = This tea is lacking (needs) milk.
4- Manquer + de + verb means “to fail to do something“
Ne manque pas de m’écrire ! = Be sure to write to me! (Literally, Don’t fail to write…)
This blog post was inspired by one of my student who struggles with the verb ‘manquer’. I will certainly include this to one of my French classes.