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There are posts like the following Toujours vs encore to translate “still”? that state that still can be translated with both toujours and encore.

Please note that my question is different. I am not asking about which of the words toujours or encore to use to translate the word still. I understand that there is a post that talks about how still can be translated by two different words, but that is not my question.


I want to know, if I see the word toujours, how do I know if it means "always" instead "still", or vice versa.

For example, suppose I have a friend Chris whom my housemate was once friends with but now dislikes. In English, my housemate might say "I still hate it when Chris visits you" (that is, emphasizing that he still has not forgiven Chris despite the passage of time), or "I always hate it when Chris visits you" (that is, emphasizing his annoyance with my habitual decision to invite Chris despite me knowing that he doesn't like him).

But in French, if my housemate said to me, "Je déteste toujours quand Chris vient te voir", I am not sure which meaning my housemate intends. I want to know which meaning is communicated when my housemate says this French sentence, and what are the rules about which meaning is communicated when the context does not make this clear.


Edit: Another example.

(Although, this is a different but very similar question).

There is a story from today's (January 7th) edition of a French newspaper (called Le Journal De Québec) that I was reading in a bar tonight. Here is the headline and the first few sentences (ie, to provide context) :

La tension monte entre Uber et les taxis.
Le président de Taxi Coop prédit des "réchauffements" après l'agression alléguée dún chauffeur de l'entreprise.

La tension monte encore d'un cran entre Uber et les compagnies de taxi, alors qu'un chauffeur de Taxi Coope avance avoir été menacé avec une arme de type Taser, mardi: un événement qui laisse présager plusiers "réchauffements", selon Abdallah Homsy, président de Taxi Coop.

Google Translate translates the sentence in question with "still", as in "The tension rises still a notch between Uber and Taxi Companies". However, I cannot tell by context whether this is "Tension mounts still" (Tension continues to mount), or "Tension mounts again", and this is an important difference for a newspaper article to make.

Note: I had read carefully the "Toujours vs encoure to translate "still"?" post before adding this edit, but I could not find any clues about this question, there.

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    In real life conversation, it is very unlikely for the context not to make clear what meaning toujours has. Should for some reason you are unsure, there is no rule, just ask for clarification. – jlliagre Jan 7 '16 at 8:44
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    I see no significant difference between both of your translations. The fact that is reported by the newspaper is the tension is higher that it was previously. – jlliagre Jan 8 '16 at 9:23
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    If the tension monte encore, that clearly means it stayed high, otherwise that would have been la tension remonte. – jlliagre Jan 8 '16 at 10:17
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    @MasonH.Hatfield, there hasn't been an answer below that answers the question I had, but it's probably because I need to ask the question more precisely. I'm going to select an answer below as the "accepted answer", just so that the work people did in responding doesn't get lost forever. – silph Apr 8 '16 at 16:41
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Update

I just saw your updated question and from what I have heard, learned, and experienced it seems to be that most people use encore just to avoid the confusion. I do not believe that in an authentic conversation that clarity would be needed for as to the the meaning of toujours, nor do I believe there is a rule, or guideline as to deciphering the meaning. Simply ask for clarification.

Something along the lines:

Veuillez préciser ce que tu viens de me dire. (Please clarify what you just told me)


Still can be translated by Encore and Toujours (In some cases néanmoins, or nonetheless)

Néanmoins je crois qu'il te faut changer tes réponses! (Still I believe you must change your answers!)

If 'still' modifies an adjective, then you should use 'encore'.

Bien qu'il soit plus agé que moi, il est encore plus vite.

In the case like: They're still hungry!

'Toujours' should be used in that example.

Ils ont toujours faim.

Other examples:

Malgré le fait que je t'aie vu dans mes rêves, je suis encore ravi de faire ta connaisance. (Despite the fact that I've seen you in my dreams, I am still delighted to meet you.)

or

I'm always/still here = je suis toujours là (Lorsque t'as besoin de moi, également pour raconter qu'on n'a pas bougé )

See here.

Please see this for more specific explanation.

  • my question is: if I see "toujours" in a sentence, how do I know if it means "still", vs if it means "always"? For example, "Ils ont toujours faim", how do you know it means "They are still hungry" instead of "They are always hungry"? – silph Dec 31 '15 at 3:42
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    Only the context will tell you in some cases like that one. – jlliagre Dec 31 '15 at 7:53
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    "Je detest toujours quand Chris te va voir" is not correct French. She would say something like "Je déteste que Chris vienne te voir" or perhaps "Je déteste quand Chris vient te voir". – jlliagre Jan 6 '16 at 7:38
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    Je déteste toujours quand Chris vient te voir is still not idiomatic. Neither encore nor toujours would probably be used by French native speakers here. In any case, the context makes it clear your housemate hates these visits and is unlikely to change her mind, regardless of whether toujours or encore are there or not. – jlliagre Jan 7 '16 at 0:45
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    @Legomononc'bléd'Ingres I did not ask, because I was angry, just out of my earnest desire to improve my answers, i appreciate the critique! i also added more examples. – Mason H. Hatfield Jan 8 '16 at 0:37
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Le bon usage (Grevisse et Goosse, ed. Duculot, 14e, §1006, 957) dit, en bref, que toujours c'est principalement la permanence par continuité ou répétition et qu'on manie la durée à l'aide de l'ajout d'une préposition (pour, à; depuis). Deuxièmement, toujours peut indiquer la persistance jusqu'au moment du temps du verbe et vaut encore dans ce contexte (« Et bien, petite, est-on toujours fâchée ? » (Maupassant) ; « Il ne comprenait toujours pas le succès du Bonheur des Dames » (Zola, Bonheur des Dames). Troisièmement toujours peut perdre sa valeur de temps pour signifier en tout cas/en attendant. On note aussi que dans certaines régions on utilise encore pour déjà en explétif dans la langue parlée. On dit toujours plein d'autres choses partout. Enfin on rappelle souvent comment le contexte est déterminant ; il va sans dire (voir aussi ceci pour certains défis de traduction).


[ Toujours is mainly about permanence (continuous or through repetition); the time frame can be tuned with a preposition (pour, à, depuis + toujours). It can also be about persistence, up to the moment referred to with the verb tense; it means encore. Finally toujours could mean something unrelated to duration: in any case etc. Context is central. ]


Sur ces entrefaites, le français n'est pas une traduction de l'anglais. La phrase qu'on présente est calquée et me semble personnellement incomplète (hate it ; il y a un pronom), et je ne peux m'imaginer l'entendre en effet avec l'un ou l'autre des adverbes dans cette position. Je présente ce qui me vient à l'esprit en réfléchissant à la question. Dans mon sociolecte (en français québécois) :

— Je déteste ça (cela) quand Chris vient te voir : je lui en veux toujours/encore... [avec pronom]
— J'haïs (ça) voir Chris : il dit toujours des bêtises... [toutes les fois, systématiquement]
— Même aujourd'hui, je déteste (toujours/encore) ça quand Chris... [alors que normalement]
— ..., j'haïs ça/je n'aime pas que Chris vienne te voir... [en soi ; aime pas, par euphémisme]
— Ça m'ennuie que Chris vienne encore et toujours te voir. [la persistance, la fréquence]
— Je te déteste d'inviter/quand tu invites Chris ! Tu sais pourquoi... [détestations multiples !]
— J[e n]'aime toujours pas (ça) quand [ce] Chris[-là] vient/que [ce] Chris[-là] vienne [ici pour] te voir... [un autre calque (?) ; et avec jeu de mot sur le juron difficile à éviter ici...]

On peut imaginer différentes combinaisons. J'ai le réflexe d'ajouter le pronom ça quand détester n'est pas directement construit comme un des trois cas mentionné au Larousse (+ nom, + inf., + que). Je ne sais pas si je sens vraiment une nuance entre détester Chris, détester qu'il vienne parce que je le déteste depuis un moment antérieur et détester sa visite; du premier au deuxième au troisième. Quoiqu'il en soit, le calque (de still/always hate it) n'est pas requis pour faire un sous-entendu à mon avis alors que même aujourd'hui (encore) ou une variante le permet (un renforcement pour rappeler inversement la valeur normale - ne pas détester en contexte etc.). Évidemment, rien de ceci n'est exhaustif.


[ The provided sentence is generated with a translation tool and feels off to me, in part because it uses a construction where you neither have a name, an infinitive nor a construction introduced with que yet there is no pronoun following the verb (that it in hate it). To create an implication about a past event, I didn't need to use toujours after the verb like you did. Rather, I've found that beginning the sentence with même aujourd'hui (encore) i.e. even to (this) day (still) feels more natural to me (Québec French here); it underscores how unusual hating on this day feels to sort of hint about what might have happened in the past. Some examples explore shifting the blame (I hate you for having him over) and stereotyping the visitor (that goddamn Chris) as means of implying something about prior events. Other examples leverage other verbs (haïr, ennuyer), and euphemism (I don't like it when) etc. ]

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    Une petite remarque pour les non francophones: J'haïs \ʒa.i\ est du français québécois. Ailleurs, on dit Je hais \ʒə ɛ\ , sometimes \ʒə e\. – jlliagre Jan 7 '16 at 20:57
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    The tréma in j'haïs keeps its sound more-or-less distinct from j'ai. – ChrisW Jan 8 '16 at 0:36
  • Is it okay if I try to translate this answer (over the next few days) and post it here, so that people can then correct any errors concerning ways I misunderstood the content of this post? (Google Translate seems to be doing a poor job at translating this answer!) – silph Jan 8 '16 at 4:36
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    I can only agree with the first part. The second part is interesting, but still foreign to me ;-) – Stéphane Gimenez Jan 8 '16 at 8:22
  • @Legomononc'bléd'Ingres Actually, the whole thing is not clear to me because my French is so poor that it would take me about half an an hour (or maybe more?) and lots of Google Translate (for individual words and phrases) for me to (attempt to) translate this into English! I hope to see the points you made here after translating your response. – silph Jan 8 '16 at 8:48
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Je pense que Toujours signifie 'always', n'importe l'usage; ainsi 'encore' represent le 'yet' ou 'and yet', 'still' ....alors, encore tu persiste en m'resistant! Montagnards!

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For your first example : "Je déteste toujours quand Chris vient te voir" With this sentence order, it has to be "still". If you would like to have the meaning with "always", the sentence would be different. French language is more direct so it'll looks like "Je déteste que tu invites Chris"

For your second example, it depends of context. At the moment, tensions already exist and for a long time, so it is translated by "still". To have "again" instead of "still", you need to have another sentence. Something like "The Uber driver who was been hitten last month has been strokken again."

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