The following came from this French.SE question; I don't understand the bolded sentence very well:
Il était une fois une petite fille que tout le monde aimait bien, surtout sa grand-mère. Elle ne savait qu'entreprendre pour lui faire plaisir. Un jour, elle lui offrit un petit bonnet de velours rouge, qui lui allait si bien qu'elle ne voulut plus en porter d'autre. Du coup, on l'appela Chaperon Rouge.
deepL translator translates the sentence to mean: "She did not know what to do to please her.", which makes perfect sense with the story. But, I'm having trouble seeing how deepL arrived at this translation.
I would have expected that the bolded sentence means "She only knew what to do to please her". That is, my brain sees "ne ... que". I would have expected deepL's translation of "She did not know what to do to please her" to be something like "Elle ne savait pas ce qu'elle entrepris pour lui faire plaisir".
- Is DeepL's translation correct? If so, why is it "savait qu'entreprendre" instead of "savait ce qu'entreprendre"? (I would have expected "what to do to please her" to be translated with "ce que". I have only seen "savoir + que" in sentences like "Je sais que tu est fatiguée"; that is, where the "que" is a clause that replaces a direct object). If DeepL is not correct, what is the correct translation?
- If DeepL's translation is correct, then whenever I see "ne ... que", how will I know if it means "only", or if it means something different?
- How would you properly say "She did not know what to do to please her?" in French?
A user in the comments says that DeepL is correct in its translation (that is, that "Elle ne savait qu'entreprendre pour lui faire plaisir" does indeed mean "She did not know what to do to please her"), and that the answers to this question should answer the question I am asking here. This edit is to clarify why that linked question doesn't help me answer the questions I have.
The linked question says that "pas" is sometimes dropped from "ne .. pas" when using the verb "savoir".
I'm not sure how this applies to my question. My best guess is that the user is saying that I can re-write my sentence to include the pas: "Elle ne savait pas qu'entreprendre pour lui faire plaisir".
- I still don't see how this means "She didn't know how to pleasure her", because the qu' confuses me.
I understand sentences like "Il ne sait pas que je suis fatigué". That is, the que introduces a clause, and this qui-clause acts like a direct object.
But "qu'entreprendre" has an infinitive. So, it looks like "Il ne sait pas que danser", which has a structure I've never seen.
The best guess I have about keeping the "que" while also keeping the "pas" is if I make the "que" into "ce que", as in "Il ne sait pas ce que j'aime". But there is no "ce" in "Elle ne savait pas qu'entreprendre pour lui faire plaisir", and even if it did say "ce qu'entreprendre pour lui faire plaisir", I still don't understand an infinitive following "ce que".
So, I still don't understand this sentence if you add the pas back in, and I don't understand it because the qu' confuses me.
- My question asks "whenever I see "ne ... que", how will I know if it means "only", or if it means something different?", and I still don't have an answer to this.
If it is true that the key to answering my question has to do with "pas" being dropped when using Ne..Pas with savoir, I still don't understand when "Ne.. Que" means "only" and when it doesn't.
Does it mean that any time I see "Ne...Que" used with "Savoir", that I should replace it with "Ne .. Pas"?
- Should I, for example, read "Je ne sais que parler l'Anglais" to instead be "Je ne sais pas parler l'Anglais"? I would have though the former meant "I only know how to speak English" and the latter means "I don't know how to speak English".
Is it impossible to said "I only know X" using ne..que?