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"Pour autant qu’il m’en souvienne" vs "Pour autant que je m'en souvienne"

Would anyone know the difference between "Pour autant qu’il m’en souvienne" and "pour autant que je m'en souvienne"? I am trying to say "For as long as I COULD remember" to be used in a literary sense, as opposed to "for as long as I can remember" conversationally, but I'm not sure how to conjugate this in this phrase...

D'avance, merci!

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I have come across an explanation   that says that "Pour autant qu’il m’en souvienne" is a literary way of saying "pour autant que je m'en souvienne"  (at first I thought that the impersonal form was  a mistake)

There is also an imperfect subjunctive form that might be used which would give you  "pour autant que je m'en souvinsse"? or "Pour autant qu’il m’en  souvînt" but I really have no idea if that  would make any important distinction (or sense) except that it might accommodate your "COULD" .

By the way I am not sure that "pour autant" necessarily corresponds to "as long as". It sounds to me  less  temporarily defined  than "pour aussi longtemps" which might better correspond to what you are trying to say.


The link to the "litterary" explanation is


Forget what you found there. It's wrong or unused

Je n'ai jamais utilisé ces expressions de ma longue vie française, ni à l'écrit et encore moins à l'oral. C'est du très vieux français

pour autant que je m'en souvinsse"? or "Pour autant qu’il m’en  s'en souvîntsse

P.S. The meaning is usually just "As far as..." in the sense of "To the extent that..." -- there's no actual time reference as such.

I *suspect* that at a time when the past subjunctive forms ("souvinsse") were productive, it may have still been common to use souvenir as an impersonal verb, so that of the two forms you mention, pour autant qu'il m'en souvînt may actually have been the more common. I'm just surmising, though -- I haven't actually investigated frequencies of these forms.

The first sentence - Pour autant qu'il m'en souvienne SHOULD BE Pour autant qu'il s'en souvienne - here you are talking about someone else

Pour autant que je m'en souvienne - is correct vs as long as I can remember (vous vous souvenez de quelque chose réellement)

For the other one's, I'm not sure but it might be : Pour autant que  je puisse m'en souvenir (vous vous souvenez de quelque chose mais vous n’êtes pas sur )

Yannick -- If it is a literary source, I think it is possible that they really mean "Pour autant qu'il m'en souvienne".

As you say, nowadays, this construction wouldn't be used. But what is now said as "je me souviens de...", used historicaly to be "il me souvient de...". I'm not just sure at what point this construction died out in normal usage, but it was surely used until at least 300 years ago, so if you found it in a novel from (say) 200 hundred years ago I don't think this would be surprising.


You are right but it was used before XVIè century and at that time this verb was not constructed the same way (it was souvenir and not SE souvenir) matters of pronominial things

Anyway it's no longer used.  By the way what kind of bedside book do you read ? I'm kidding

Hi Yannick --

My vague recollection was that "souvenir" as in impersonal verb was *common* until roughly 1600, after which one might surmise that it gradually declined in usage over a period of 100 or so years. But I confess I could be a bit out on these dates. When I get chance, I'll try and have a look at some dictionaries from the time to see what usage they report.

The construction "Il me souvient de..." is essentially parallel to "Il me paraît que..." today -- it's not a pronominal verb as such, but as with other impersonal verbs, you can have usages that include a dative pronoun ("me" in this case).

At one time (as I say, up until something like 1600 as I recall), you could have both constructions "souvenir" as an impersonal verb, and also "souvenir" as a 'normal' intransitive verb. What drove the move towards the use of "se souvenir" as it is today is that there was also the construction "faire souvenir", e.g. "Je te fais souvenir de/que...". Syntactically, as things were at the time, this construction was then probably ambiguous between "souvenir" being impersonal, intransitive or pronominal, and that helped to drive the shift in usage towards "souvenir" being a pronominal verb ("se souvenir") as it is today.


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