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Scenario

Person 1: Look at the video I took in this park in Paris.

Person 2 watches the video which shows a beautiful sky along with beautiful landscapes and sounds and birds.

Person 2: Wow. I didn’t know Paris was this beautiful.

This kind of construction is used all the time in English and even though I’m an English native I’m having a hard time describing the function of the word this lol 😂. However, what I can say for definite is that the sentence “Wow. I didn’t know Paris was this beautiful.” is equivalent to “Wow. I didn’t know that Paris contained the amount of beauty that’s shown in the video.”

So firstly, I’m guessing this is an adjective or adverb. If it is, what kind of adjective or adverb is it?

Secondly AND WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT is what is the French equivalent?

Thank you for your help!!! 😊

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  • You can use so instead of this in English. So it's an adverb. Dec 30 '20 at 22:24
  • Un article intéressant sur le genre des villes, ici
    – Damien
    Dec 31 '20 at 18:06
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Waouh ! Je ne savais pas que Paris était si beau (que ça) !

Waouh ! Je ne savais pas que Paris était une aussi belle ville (que ça) !

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Wow. Je ne pensais pas que Paris était si magnifique ! [magnifique (très beau/belle) works with both masculine and feminine nouns, Paris is generally masculine]

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On pourrait dire également :

Je ne savais pas que Paris était magnifique à ce point

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Here this is used as an adverb modifying the adjective "beautiful" and "this beautiful" means "as beautiful as that". The Macmillan dictionary says that "this" can be

as an adverb (before an adjective, adverb, or ‘much’):

  • e.g. It’s a long time since I felt this good.

To add another French translation to the ones already given in the other answers, I would also say:

Je ne savais pas que Paris était tellement beau (or pareillement beau).

Larousse gives it as a translation of so/that much (which is the same with this much):

Je n'ai pas tellement mal = it doesn't hurt that (this) OU so much.

Another option would be:

Je ne savais pas que Paris était d'une beauté pareille.

where pareil is used:

[Pour marquer l'intensité, avec une valeur emphatique, laudative]

  • Dès sept heures du matin, elle m'apportait elle-même une tasse de chocolat. Je n'en ai jamais bu de pareil. Un chocolat à s'en faire mourir (Maupass.,Contes et nouv., t.1, Morin, 1882, p.853). (TLFi)

You can see how pareil (and tellement can do that also) replaces a quality previously expressed in the context, in the same way that "this" refers to "a beautiful sky along with beautiful landscapes and sounds and birds" in your context.

P.S. I like poetic language, so if I was the author of that statement, I would write:

Je ne savais pas que Paris cachait de pareilles beautés/ une pareille beauté!

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