Navigating Through “Pleuvoir”: A Detailed Guide on the Usage of the French Verb

Bonjour les étudiants! Let’s embark on our linguistic journey by exploring an intriguing French verb — “pleuvoir”. This particular verb, translating as ‘to rain’ in English, might seem straightforward initially, but its unique characteristics position it as an interesting subject for French language enthusiasts. With this blog post, we aim to demystify the usage of “pleuvoir.”

  1. Pleuvoir – An Impersonal Verb:
    Let’s start by understanding that “pleuvoir” is an impersonal verb. What does that mean? Simply, it means that the verb does not change according to person or number. It only has a third person singular form, “il pleut” (it’s raining). Remember, even when it’s about a different tense or mood, the verb never attaches to a personal subject.
    • Il pleut in Paris. (It’s raining in Paris.)
    • Il va pleuvoir demain. (It’s going to rain tomorrow.)
    • Il pleuvait quand je suis sorti. (It was raining when I went out.)
  2. The Expressive Aspect:
    “Pleuvoir” can also function metaphorically to express abundance or a great amount of a certain thing, usually as part of the phrase “pleuvoir des…” (to rain…).
    • Par exemple, on peut dire : “Après la publication de son livre, il a plu des offres de toutes les maisons d’édition.” (After the publication of her book, it rained offers from all publishing houses.)
    • Il commence à pleuvoir des critiques sur son dernier film. (Critiques are starting to rain down on his latest movie.)
  3. Using “Pleuvoir” with Feelings and Desires:
    Interestingly, “pleuvoir” is also used to denote feelings in some French expressions. For instance, “pleuvoir dans l’âme,” directly translates to ‘rain in the soul,’ stands for feeling depressed or desolate.
    • Il pleut dans mon âme comme il pleut sur la ville. (It’s raining in my soul as it rains in the city.)
    Additionally, “pleuvoir à seaux” or “pleuvoir des cordes” means ‘to rain cats and dogs’ or to rain heavily.
    • Il pleut à seaux, n’oublie pas ton parapluie! (It’s pouring rain, don’t forget your umbrella!)

The French verb “pleuvoir” is indeed fascinating, not only due to its unique status as an impersonal verb but also because of its diversity in usage. Whether it’s setting the scene with weather changes, illustrating an abundance of things, or beautifully expressing human emotions, this verb has the power to breathe authenticity into your French dialogues. So, as you step forth on your journey to master the French language, ensure that “pleuvoir” is firmly integrated into your vocabulary toolbox, ready to be used whenever the right occasion ‘rains’ down on you!