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How To Use The Word “Soit” In French – EXPLAINED

How To Use The Word “Soit” In French – EXPLAINED

In a recent private lesson a student asked for an explanation of how to use the word soit. The literal translation of soit is “be” and and we’ll explain where it comes from below. Soit is a highly versatile word with lots of usages. Let’s get right into examples and explanations!

Soit

Be

Word origin

In French, soit is the third-person singular subjunctive form of the verb être (to be). In Latin, the third-person singular form of the equivalent verb esse (to be) in the subjunctive is sit. Spanish and Italian equivalents are sea and sia. The subjucntive mood is used for expressing wishes, emotions and doubts and we cover it in detail in this lesson.

Example sentences

In this first example, the impersonal expression il faut translates to “it’s necessary”.

Il faut qu’il soit plus patient.

He needs to be more patient.

In this next quick phrase, you’ll see that soit is written with an -s. This is the second-person singular (tu) form of être in the imperative mood, meaning “Be!”. The imperative mood is used to give commands in French.

Sois gentil !

Be nice!

In French, soit A, soit B translates to “either…or…”. The personal pronoun on is used to mean “we”.

Soit on part ce matin, soit on part demain, on doit prendre une décision.

Either we leave this morning or we leave tomorrow; we need to make a decision.

In French, que ce soit A ou B translates to “Whether it be A or B”, “Whether it is A or B” or “Be it A or B”. Translations for the verb importer à quelqu’un are “to be important to”, “to matter to” or “to mean something/a lot to”.

Que ce soit aujourd’hui ou demain m’importe peu.

Whether it’s today or tomorrow is of little importance to me.

For this next example, quoi que ce soit can translate to “anything”, “anything” at all and “whatever it is”. The expression avoir besoin means “to need”.

Si tu as besoin de quoi que ce soit, appelle-moi !

Call me if you need anything at all!

For this last example, soit que…soit que translates to “Whether A or whether B”.

Soit que tu partes, soit que tu restes, tu es toujours la bienvenue chez moi.

Whether you leave or whether your stay, you are always welcome at my place.

Conclusion

Congratulations! You now have a much better idea of how to use soit in French! Now check out our lesson covering ainsi (like this, as well as).

Example of how to use "soit" in French: Il faut qu'elle soit plus raisonnable. = She needs to be more sensible.
Il faut qu’elle soit plus raisonnable. = She needs to be more sensible.

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site, FrenchLearner.com, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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