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At a restaurant today, I was explaining my diet restrictions:

I do eat seafood, but I don't eat any other meat.

Saying this using the word "do" has more emphasis than just saying "I eat seafood, but I don't eat any other meat".


The following might be a conversation between a parent and child:

Parent: Why didn't you take out the trash?
Child: But I did take out the trash!!!

If the child had just said "But I took out the trash", it would not have the same meaning.


In each example, I know how to say the sentence that does not have emphasis, but I do not know how to say the sentence that does have emphasis.

The following post: How to add emphasis as with “I do” or “I did”? suggests that perhaps I can use an amplifier, but I can't think of what amplifier I could use for either of the two sentences.

How can I translate these two sentences?

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    I do not think that any particular single word or phrase can cover all instances of the emphatic "do" usage. I would say: « Je mange des fruits de mer, certes, mais je ne touche pas ... » – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Nov 7 '16 at 8:46
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There are two issues that can lead to misunderstanding when translating your sentence. In modern French viande is used to describe any meat that is not seafood. Moreover seafood doesn't translate to fruits de mer because the latter doesn't include fish, only shellfish.

You might thus say:

Je ne mange pas de viande, seulement du poisson et des fruits de mer.

If you want to keep the English sentence structure, you might say:

Je mange bien des fruits de mer et du poisson, mais aucune autre protéine d'origine animale.

but that might surprise the person you talk to for being quite technical.

About your dialog:

Parent: - Pourquoi n'as-tu pas sorti les poubelles ?
Enfant: - Mais si ! Je les ai sorties !!!

  • Your comment about seafood, though not directly about my question, is very useful for me in a personal way, so thank you for that! Also, thank you for reminding me about the word si – silph Nov 7 '16 at 9:33
  • I didn't know that about seafood ! I modified my answer, thanks. (And now I find very strange to eat fish but not terrestial meat...) – Yohann V. Nov 7 '16 at 9:44
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    @jlliagre If I may add something, in french we will tend to say Je mange du poisson and not je mange des poissons. I'm sorry I can't find a rule to confirm that but I'm sure that des poissons would sound weird in this context. – statox Nov 7 '16 at 13:28
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    @statox very true, fixed. – jlliagre Nov 7 '16 at 14:28
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    @statox Yes, hopefully these silly constraints disappear after gaining enough reputation points. – jlliagre Nov 7 '16 at 16:09
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By changing your sentence order :

Je ne mange aucune viande sauf des produits de la mer.

I don't eat any meat but seafood.

and adding adverb :

Je ne mange aucune autre viande, seulement des produits de la mer.

I don't eat any other meat, only seafood.


By accentuating while saying it :

Parent: Pourquoi n'as-tu pas sorti les poubelles ?
Enfant: Mais J'AI sorti les poubelles !!!

In french, (like in English imho) repeating is already emphasis.

2

The emphasis in French is put on the contradiction of the previous statement.

For this you can use "mais... ", "c'est faux, ... "," en revanche", "cela dit" with the adequate voice tone. Some interjection can also be used: "eh! J'ai sorti les poubelles !" Other emphasis word ("bien", "volontiers", "déjà") can be used to highlight the opposition of statements like:

Je ne mange pas de viande, cependant je mange volontiers des fruits de mer.

J'ai déjà sorti les poubelles!

  • +1 Along the lines of your good point that “emphasis in French is put on the contradiction of the previous statement”, in English the use of “do” for emphasis often follows “The fact is (that) [I do eat seafood …]”. Would it be enough to imply a contradiction while keeping the original word order in Fr by simply starting with “Le fait est que” or “En fait”? (“Le fait est que/En fait, je mange des fruits de mer, mais …pas de viande.”/“Le fait est que/En fait, j'ai sorti les poubelles!”). Or is reversing the word order &/or adding “volontiers”/“déjà”/or similar words still advisable?Thx! – Papa Poule Nov 7 '16 at 17:44
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    Using a phrase like, le fait est que ou en fait, will probably sound more polite and less angry than a mais, or other interjection. So it's fine. – M'vy Nov 7 '16 at 18:48

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