One of Maupassant's stories in the Gallimard edition contains the following sentence.

Ma chère petite, j'ai en effet pour amie Mme Rosset, que je connais depuis six ans et que j'aime beaucoup; j'ajouterai que je connais vingt autres familles dont je ne t'ai jamais parlé, sachant que tu ne recherches pas le monde, les fêtes et les relations nouvelles.

Is "avoir en effet pour quelqu'un" an idiom, meaning "I have a platonic friendship with her," or has a phrase been dropped from this sentence by some editing mistake?

Source: Maupassant: Contes et nouvelles. Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Éditions Gallimard. 2008. ISBN 978-2-07-010805-3. Page 585.

  • 4
    En effet means something like indeed or in fact, so doesn't this mean something like "In fact, I have Mme Rosset for a friend"?
    – Peter Shor
    Oct 18, 2022 at 0:34
  • I took your comment and expanded it into a "official" answer. But the insight was all yours. Oct 18, 2022 at 1:14
  • You might even rewrite it this way instead in the original french sentence "En effet, ma chère petite, j'ai pour amie Mme Rosset," since the "en effet" is modifying the sense of the sentence, not the verbal group. Apr 16, 2023 at 18:51

2 Answers 2


Thanks to @Peter Shor. I was misreading "pour amie." Here, "j'ai pour amie" must mean
"I have her as a friend." So my attempt at a colloquial American translation is

Sweetie, it's true that Mme Rosset is a friend of mine. I've known her for six years and I like her a lot. Might as well add that there are twenty other families that I've never told you about, seeing as how you don't go for society, parties, and new acquaintances.


Putting "j'ai en effet pour amie Mme Rosset" between commas usually means that you're emphasizing your statement, and placing "en effet" between the verb and the CoD (Complement d'Objet Direct -> the 'thing' that you 'have', don't know the term in English grammar) instead of right before "j'ai" is also emphasizing what you're saying (quite heavily!)

I feel that it's the same in english when using "indeed" at the start of the sentence or between the verbs.

I don't recall the novel this is from and why is the character stating the fact like this, but it feels like he is displaying some annoyance being asked about his relationship/acquaintance by his "dear lady friend" (who might be asking out of jealousy or whatever) given the rest of the sentence.

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