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Like in English “He doesn't have a social life”, is it normal to say in French “il n'a pas une vie sociale“? What is a better phrase for the same type of expression?

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“Il n'a pas de vie sociale” would be a more accurate translation, and can be used in French. It means exactly the same, however I don't know why, to my ear, the English version sounds joke-ish while the French one sounds grave… –  Stéphane Gimenez Apr 18 '12 at 19:56
    
@StéphaneGimenez Thanks so much. You could have given this as an answer and I would done an upvote. No, in English it's not jokish. It's a negetive expression to signify an introvert. –  codious Apr 18 '12 at 20:09
    
@StéphaneGimenez though I have upvoted your comment. –  codious Apr 18 '12 at 20:12
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

I think the phrase vie sociale would be understood, but it is not idiomatic. I would say

Il n'a pas de vie.

The meaning is subtly dependent on the context. For example, “ce n'est pas une vie” means “this is no way to live”, i.e. there's something wrong with my lifestyle (which is usually not something I can fix); while the absence of a social life is often an aspect of this, it is not the primary meaning.

I think I would more spontaneously use other ways of phrasing “he doesn't have a social life”, not using the word vie:

Il ne sort pas.
Il reste dans son coin.

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perfect explaination. –  codious Apr 18 '12 at 20:46
    
I would translate "Il n'a pas de vie" (idiomatically) as, "He needs to get a life." But the translation "does the job." –  Tom Au Apr 28 '12 at 21:38
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