2

Ça ne faisait que dix jours que j'étais en déplacement. C'est fou comme ma boîte de réception se remplit rapidement ! Des messages non lus, il y en a en pagaille ! Dont un seul est écrit en français. (rires)

This is part of an email I sent. I have the following questions about the "How fast ... !" expression in the second sentence:

  1. Is it incorrect to add "si" and say "C'est fou comme ma boîte de réception se remplit si rapidement !"?

  2. In order to express the idea of "How fast ... !", does the word "rapidement" always have to be placed at the end? Is there a way to move "rapidement" closer to the top?

  3. You cannot substitute "comment" for the exclamative sentence "How ... !", correct?

  4. Is it possible not to use "comme" in this sentence?

  • "How fast" on it's own is just "Comme...rapidement." If you add something else in front of it, then you also add something in the translation, technically. "C'est fou comme..." -> "It's crazy how...", "T'as vu comme/à quel point..." -> "Have you seen how...". However, a sentence beinning with"Comme..." isn't used very often, mostly in literature and weirdly constructed sentences ("Comme t'es belle!"), and rarely on its own, just like you wouldn't say "How beautiful you are" on its own. – MorganFR Sep 29 '16 at 14:47
  • It wouldn’t correspond directly with or be a literal equivalent of “How fast ...!” in the exclamation (so the answer to #3 would appear to remain "yes, you're correct"), but I (granted, a non-native, so please take it with lots of salt) think “comment” (and even a “si” or two?) could perhaps be used to express the general notion of exasperation/amazement with the fast speed by following a stand-alone “C’est fou!” with a rhetorical question: … “C’est fou! [Je me demande] Comment se fait-il/Comment ça se fait que ma boite se remplisse?/se remplit? si vite/rapidement [en si peu de temps]? ” – Papa Poule Sep 30 '16 at 15:06
3
  1. Is it incorrect to add "si" and say "C'est fou comme ma boîte de réception se remplit si rapidement !"?

IMHO, if not incorrect it is not idiomatic. The si here would add nothing and native french speaking people would not use it.

  1. In order to express the idea of "How fast ... !", does the word "rapidement" always have to be placed at the end? Is there a way to move "rapidement" closer to the top?*

If you use the adverb, it has to be placed there. You would have to use the noun to put it closer to the beginning: C'est fou la vitesse à laquelle se remplit la boîte de réception. I used vitesse instead of rapidité, because the latter is less common in spoken language, but more on written/formal one.

  1. You cannot substitute "comment" for the exclamative sentence "How ... !", correct?*

Yes. How ... ! is an idiomatic english expression that cannot be translated literally. The almost litteral translation would be Comme une boîte de réception se remplit vite ! but it would be rather written language. The C'est fou here could be replaced by a (familiar or popular) interjection: Bon sang (ou Putain) qu'une boîte de réception se remplit vite !. IMHO it depends on the expected language level.

  1. Is it possible not to use "comme" in this sentence?*

The expression proposed for the second question does not.

  • I really like your substituting a noun for the adverb to address points 2 and 4 of the question: +1! ….With that cool substitution in mind, would it be possible (and idiomatic) to replace the “... la vitesse à laquelle …” structure with “... à quelle vitesse …” and say “C’est fou à quelle vitesse ma/une/la boîte de réception se remplit!” in such exclamations starting with “C’est fou/dingue/impressionnant/etc” (similar to @MorganFR ‘s “à quel point” suggested in a comment)? … Or is “à quelle vitesse” only possible/idiomatic when used to mark/introduce a question? Thanks! – Papa Poule Sep 29 '16 at 17:20
  • 1
    @PapaPoule I'm pretty sure that it's completely fine, since I recall hearing native speakers use that sentence structure on several separate occasions. For instance, I would say something like: "C'est fou à quelle vitesse on s'est habitués à manger des grenouilles !" – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Sep 29 '16 at 23:19
  • 1
    @PapaPoule: I would say that is is less grammatically correct. But I do agree what it can be said in spoken language. – Serge Ballesta Sep 30 '16 at 7:25
2

1.Is it incorrect to add "si" and say "C'est fou comme ma boîte de réception se remplit si rapidement !"?

You can say that, it is correct but I would not use it this way. I would rather say "Ma boîte de réception se remplit si rapidement" and remove the "C'est fou" because the sentense becomes heavy.

2.In order to express the idea of "How fast ... !", does the word "rapidement" always have to be placed at the end? Is there a way to move "rapidement" closer to the top?

The placement of "rapidement" is very adequate.

You can also use "vite" instead. As a native speaker I would say "C'est fou comme ma boîte de réception se remplit vite"

3.You cannot substitute "comment" for the exclamative sentence "How ... !", correct?

ah ah, if you would say "Comment ma boite de réception se remplit rapidemment !" would not be proper french technically speaking. I would say that to collegues but not to my boss for instance.

4.Is it possible not to use "comme" in this sentence?

You can remove "comme" but then you would have to replace it with "," like so : "C'est fou, ma boîte de réception se remplit rapidement" or make two different sentenses "C'est fou ! Ma boîte de réception se remplit rapidement" or say "C'est fou comme ma boîte de réception se remplit rapidement".

  • Comme ma boite de réception se remplit rapidement ! is proper French. – Destal Sep 29 '16 at 15:32
  • @Simon mince, j'ai oublié de rajouter le comme... Je me suis perdue dans mes explications. – MopMop Sep 29 '16 at 15:33
  • Je ne comprends pas ta modification, je parlais pour le point 3. En fait je ne comprends pas pourquoi LUNA a parlé de "comment" pour le point 3 alors qu'on parle de "comme" depuis le début. – Destal Sep 29 '16 at 15:35
  • @SimonDéchamps (ha-ha) This is a unique perspective as an English speaker, I guess. The "how" aspect of "comment" can instinctively spring to mind at a wrong place, even if we know fully well that the "how" in "comment" is mainly about "de quelle façon". – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Sep 29 '16 at 22:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.