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I'm having just a little trouble translating this, please advise.

Mom goes upstairs to read a bedtime story to her son.

He says, "What did you bring that book that I don't like to be read to out of up for?"

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This is more of a question about English. The English sentence is convoluted on purpose. You can't expect a straightforward translation that keeps the same obfuscation in place. – Gilles Mar 18 '13 at 23:42
Yes, the question was half in jest. – Aerovistae Mar 19 '13 at 16:04
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Well it did took me a lot of time to even understand that sentence! Magically it existed somewhere else!

One of the trick to be able to translate a sentence is to put it in a form where the prepositional word are grouped with their base word.

What did you bring up that book out of which I didn't want you to read to me for?

This way, you can translate the sentence expression by expression.

  • What for : Pourquoi / Pour quoi (can be one of the other depending on the context)
  • to bring up : apporter
  • to be read out to : se faire lire / me faire lire

You can then translate it to something similar to :

Pourquoi m'as tu apporté le livre que je ne voulais pas que tu me lise?


Pourquoi m'as tu apporté le livre que je ne voulais pas me faire lire?

So to answer your question, it's way easier to translate a sentence if you are able to split the sentence in group of words, that you can then translate.

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You know, it actually makes a lot more sense to me in it's original form than the rearranged way. I find that much harder to read. – Aerovistae Mar 18 '13 at 22:25
@aerovistae well English is not my first language and that might be the reason why! Ill edit to reflect what you said though – Hugo Dozois Mar 18 '13 at 22:32
@Aerovistae updated tell me what you think about it now! – Hugo Dozois Mar 18 '13 at 23:46
What for is pour quoi not pourquoi, huge difference ;-) – Stéphane Gimenez Mar 19 '13 at 11:02
@Hugo: Sorry but you are plain wrong. If you want examples with only one valid writing: “Pourquoi choisir maintenant ?” and “Pour quoi faire ?”. But “Pour quoi m'as tu apporté” and “Pourquoi m'as tu apporté” are both valid, and different questions (one is answered with pour ceci and the other with parce que cela). – Stéphane Gimenez Mar 19 '13 at 14:23

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