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33
votes
5answers
16k views

Quand peut-on mettre un adjectif avant ou après un nom ? — When do adjectives go before or after a noun?

Quelles sont les règles quant au placement des adjectifs avant ou après les noms ? Exemples : Un bel animal (avec en prime le changement beau → bel… règle ?) Une belle maison Une verte prairie — ...
19
votes
6answers
9k views

Word order with “prochaine”: before or after noun rules?

Why is it that when I want to say “The next week”, it's: La semaine prochaine But when I want to say “The next meeting”, it's: La prochaine réunion Is there a specific set of rules for the ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

The order of direct and indirect object pronouns

If we have both of them in a sentence, what's the order of them generally? For example: Tu leur donnes des billets gratuits ? — Oui, je leur les donne. ou — Oui, je les leur donne. ...
9
votes
6answers
1k views

About “unusual” word order?

Most French sentences have the normal word order, subject, object, verb: Je te vois. But sentences with a few verbs have an unusual word order. E.g. "Tu me manques," in which the "object" is first, ...
9
votes
3answers
193 views

Différence de registre et position de l'adverbe

Nous en avons longtemps parlé. Nous en avons parlé longtemps. Y a-t-il une différence de registre entre les deux, si légère soit-elle?
9
votes
2answers
357 views

Why is the subject at the end in this subordinate clause?

I thought that French language's word order was SVO and SOV (when object is pronoun). But what's with this sentence (from here): Bouclier que portaient autrefois les chevaliers. Subject is at ...
9
votes
2answers
828 views

« Son imbécile de mari » : comment s'appelle cette tournure de phrase ?

Les expressions du style : Son imbécile de frère Son président de mari ont-elles un nom ? Et quelle est la fonction de chaque mot ?
8
votes
1answer
602 views

Le placement d'un adverbe avant le verbe

Je suis en train de lire "Le dérèglement du monde" par Amin Maalouf. Je le tiens à haut égard comme écrivain puisqu'il est un des immortels de l’Académie française. J'ai constaté plusieurs fois au ...
8
votes
1answer
10k views

Quelle est la façon standard d'écrire la date en français ?

J'aimerais bien savoir comment je dois écrire la date en français ? Par exemple : le mercredi, 19/11/2014 Mercredi, le 19/11/2014 le mercredi 19/11/2014 Mercredi le 19/11/2014 La question est à ...
8
votes
1answer
117 views

Placement of “tant”?

All these examples seem to be...different. I cannot make sense of it. Il a déjà tant fait. Il travaille tant ! J'ai dû partir, tant j'étais fatigué.
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Differences in meaning depending on placement of “pauvre?”

A literal translation of "pauvre" is poor. This could have at least two meanings 1) not rich, and 2) unfortunate. I was told (and forget which is which) that if you place pauvre before the noun, it ...
7
votes
4answers
374 views

Is it “n'y rien comprendre” or “n'y comprendre rien”?

Les télégrammes fusent, les journaux s'y mettent, personne n'y comprend rien. In personne n'y comprend rien there is, I presume, the idiom c'est à n'y rien comprendre. If so, why is it in this ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

“ma jolie femme” vs “ma femme jolie”

I may be mistaken, but I think mon ancien professeur means my former teacher, as opposed to mon professeur ancien which means my elderly teacher. Is this correct? And what if anything is the ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

Negative expressions in passé composé

How are negative expressions (ne pas, ne aucun(e), ne que, ne jamais, ne plus) formed in the passé composé and is there a way to predict whether it forms around or after the auxilary?
6
votes
2answers
78 views

How to translate “the first {number}”?

For instance, in English we might say "I liked the first three, but..." etc. I am interested in whether it is translatable both with a specific noun and without, e.g.: I liked the first three. ...
6
votes
2answers
154 views

Savant versus grognard

Inspiré par cette réponse, je me demandais pourquoi puis-je dire un savant Allemand mais pas un grognard Français* ? Sachant que un grognard de Français et un Français grognard sonnent mieux, la ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Negative past conditional pronominal interrogative inversion?

I'm having a little trouble finding resources on word order here. For instance, turn this into an inverted question: Il n'aurait pas se réveillé. In fact I don't even think I have the ...
6
votes
2answers
318 views

Placement of “tout”?

I recently set my Facebook UI to use French. I noticed that there's an option to mark all notifications as read, which is translated as "Tout marquer comme lu." But then there's an option to "Show All"...
6
votes
1answer
116 views

Question by reverting position of verb and noun for people

There is this sentence: Marie aime la peinture. and the question for it: Marie aime-t-elle la peinture ? Why cannot it be the following: Aime Marie la peinture ? Why is Marie placed ...
5
votes
3answers
15k views

Understanding how “Je ne parle pas français” is broken down

When I enter “Je ne parle pas français” into Google translate I get “I do not speak French.” But if I just type “Je ne pas”, I get “I do not.” Why are the pas and parle switched around in the phrase ...
5
votes
2answers
760 views

Placement of the word “aussi” in a sentence

It confuses me a little bit where I should place it. For example if I say in English; "Someone had also eaten my porridge" or "Someone also had eaten my porridge" They both would imply that that '...
5
votes
1answer
419 views

Pronoun order in an inverted question that contains an infinitive clause

“Aiderez-vous ces éleves à répondre au questionnaire ?” If I wanted to substitute pronouns for ces éleves and à répondre au questionnaire what is the word order? I think it might be aiderez-...
5
votes
1answer
114 views

« Nouveau » après le nom

Je connais deux cas où l'adjectif nouveau tombe après le nom qu'il décrit: Ville nouvelle: utilisé dans les pays du Maghreb pour désigner les quartiers construits sous l'occupation française (par ...
5
votes
3answers
223 views

Translation of “For the following 11 months”

How do we express in French that an action lasts 11 months from the moment it begins? I'm not sure if it's supposed to be written like this "Pour les suivants onze mois" or "Pour les onze mois ...
5
votes
2answers
170 views

Using more than one adjectives: “belle brosse à dents neuve”?

In the following sentence J'ai une belle brosse de (not sure whether «pour» could be used here) dents neuve, mais je n'ai plus de dentrifice. Is my ordering of adjectives okay? Could you refer ...
5
votes
1answer
251 views

Is the position of space and time precisions in this sentence correct?

Today I was sitting on a bench in the Public Garden in the city of Boston when a beautiful girl and her boyfriend sat down beside me, speaking French. Simultaneously I noticed there were six or seven ...
5
votes
5answers
161 views

Ordre des pronoms compléments des verbes transitifs

En lisant une réponse de Stéphane Gimenez, une énigme me saute au yeux : Pourquoi y a-t-il une différence d'ordre dans les phrases suivantes ? Qu'est-ce que la troisième personne a de si particulier ? ...
5
votes
1answer
84 views

Where to place the year in a product's name?

Which one of the following phrases is correct translation of the "2013 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter"? 2013 Sprinter de Mercedes-Benz, or Sprinter 2013 de Mercedes-Benz And if you could give an example ...
5
votes
2answers
113 views

Ils voulaient savoir tout / Ils voulaient tout savoir

J'ai eu des difficultés avec cette structure. Par exemple, pourquoi on dit: Tout savoir sur... Ils voulaient tout savoir. Mais on dit aussi quelque chose comme: Je sais tout. Ils ...
5
votes
1answer
462 views

Pourquoi et quand l'ordre des mots en français est devenu fixe ?

J'ai lu les articles suivants (en anglais): Latin Grammar - Word Order | Grammaire latin - Ordre des mots Vulgar Latin - Grammar (enumeration of changes) | Latin vulgaire - Grammaire French Grammar -...
4
votes
3answers
117 views

Quel pronom utiliser pour traduire « It's not possible to translate IT » ?

C'est le pas possible traduire. C'est pas possible le traduire. C'est pas possible traduire-il. ou comment?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is not “Je t'aime”, “Je aime te”?

If the following sentence is correct: J'aime le sandwich (I + like + the sandwich) I expect (I + love + you) to be: J'aime te Then, why is it "Je t'aime"?
4
votes
1answer
213 views

“I was almost there” in French?

I was wondering how you would say 'I was almost there' in French. I tried a couple of things but it looked a bit weird.. J'étais là presque. Or a different order? Je presque étais là. Or ...
4
votes
2answers
202 views

The placement of the word “seulement” in the following sentence

I was listening to the song Tous les mêmes by Stromae the other day, and in the second verse I noticed he sings the following; Moi je l'disais pour t'faire réagir, seulement Toi, t'y pensais ...
4
votes
3answers
509 views

Terminer une phrase avec un verbe (d'autant plus, au futur)

I hesitate because it doesn't seem logical… but I don't know the rules in French! Is it possible to end a sentence with a verb in French? For example, in English it is (I believe) grammatically ...
4
votes
2answers
142 views

Placement of “tout” as an object in a sentence

In the sentence Elle a tout fait Why is "tout" between "a" and "fait"? Can't it be Elle a fait tout If you want to say "they all have done everything" would you say: Elles ont tous ...
4
votes
2answers
149 views

Is “Il me fait faire attention” correct?

The construct of “make someone do something”, to my knowledge, is “faire quelqu'un faire quelque chose”. Il me fait payer le resto. Elle nous fait attendre depuis 30 minutes. Which is the ...
4
votes
4answers
135 views

Why is “Plus rien ne me choque” composed like this?

In the sentence Plus rien ne me choque (Which is supposed to be translated as "Nothing shocks me anymore") Why isn't it like Rien ne me choque plus Why is the ne plus inverted and put on ...
4
votes
3answers
80 views

Le plus proche + COI

J'ai un doute sur une phrase, mais je ne sais pas pourquoi je la sens mieux d'une manière que d'une autre. J'aimerais exprimer le fait que je souhaite placer un objet près d'une cible. Pour cela est-...
4
votes
2answers
840 views

An adverb between a verb and an infinitive that follows?

In English it is sometimes permissible (but not necessarily (always?) proper grammar) to "split" a verb infinitive with an adverb. For example, consider the placement of "quickly" in the two following ...
4
votes
1answer
6k views

How to say “See you then” and “You see then” in French?

How would I say each ("see you then" and "you see, then") given that in French the object comes before the verb? Would it be “vous voyez alors” in each case? The first statement would be made when ...
4
votes
1answer
240 views

Position du verbe dans une interrogation non dépendante

Je n'ai jamais été parfaitement sur de l'ordre des mots dans certaines constructions particulièrement simples. En anglais on dirait "Could you tell me where the Empire State Building is?". Dire "...
3
votes
4answers
345 views

Beginning a sentence with “there” - “là”?

In English, we may begin a sentence with the multi-functional word "there" as part of a longer paragraph: The village is quiet, with only a single public house hidden behind a quiet alley. ...
3
votes
2answers
9k views

“Vous êtes” or “Êtes-vous” ?

A friend of mine and I was discussing around the difference between “Vous êtes” and “Êtes-vous” – and I couldn't conclude nothing. So, are “Vous êtes” and “Êtes-vous” the same thing? If not, ...
3
votes
2answers
215 views

Placement des adverbes dans une phrase négative

I'm a brazilian living in Paris for 1 year. I have some doubts about the order of words: In portuguese we're kind of flexible regarding the order of some words, I'll try to explain using an example, ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

How to translate “Let the good times roll” into French?

Many American communities, large and small, celebrate Mardi Gras in some fashion. I've often seen Mardi Gras signs reading "Laissez les bons temps rouler." Something doesn't seem right to me. Should ...
3
votes
2answers
123 views

How exactly do you say “a wireless computer mouse” in French?

Is une souris d'ordinateur sans fil how you would say it? les souris d'ordinateur sans fil would be the plural form? I know that many of you would probably say that une souris sans fil is already ...
3
votes
2answers
208 views

Explication de « lui dit-il » et « lui dit-elle »

My French is not good enough to ask this question in French, but hopefully I can understand the answers! I bought a copy of Le Petit Prince in French and I have been reading it to improve my French. ...
3
votes
3answers
88 views

Word order when using indirect object with a reflexive verb

When using a reflexive verb and an indirect object pronoun in French, would the reflexive object or indirect object come first? For example, I identify with them: Je me leur identifie or: ...
3
votes
4answers
142 views

Comment traduire « alleged murder plot » en français ?

La phrase que j'essaye traduire : an alleged murder plot J'envisage quelques possibilités, mais je ne suis pas sûr. un complot de meurtre présumé un complot présumé de meurtre un ...