Greg
  • Member for 4 years, 7 months
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  • Brussels, Belgium
Do native speakers of French generally use "du/de la" when thinking of nouns like eau, sel, etc?
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38 votes

The partitive article will still be needed, even in short sentences. Even if you are not actually "talking" but only "thinking in your head". In the desert, you would indeed beg ...

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Is the "les" needed in "dans les deux jours"?
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32 votes

There is indeed a nuance: "Dans deux jours" means "in two days" "Dans les deux jours" means "within the next two days" So if I say on a Monday "je reviendrai dans deux jours", that means I'll show ...

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Is there still a Belgian vs. French distinction between "quatorze jours" and "quinze jours"?
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24 votes

I cannot prove it with hard facts or numerical data, but I am Belgian, and quinze jours is the dominant phrase here as well for "two weeks", and not quatorze jours. If there was a regional ...

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Possessive adjective before a body part
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16 votes

In a full sentence (ie, with a verb), if the body part is preceded by a possessive adjective "ses/son/sa/leur/leurs", it means that the body part does not belong to the body of the subject (...

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"Surtout qu'en ce moment" -- what does "qu'en" really mean in this phrase?
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15 votes

En is not a pronoun here, but a preposition. If you leave out the part "surtout que", it may make more sense: En ce moment, je réagis très mal aux bruits En ce moment simply means "at this moment"....

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How do you say "to hell with everything" in French?
15 votes

The phrase au diable is idiomatic if it is followed by a mention of who/what you wish send to hell: Au diable Trump ! Au diable les examens ! Au diable les journalistes ! Au diable le Brexit ! Au ...

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Suis-je le seul informaticien à dire "la" cache ?
15 votes

Cache n'est pas exclusivement féminin: on dit aussi le cache au masculin dans d'autres domaines plutôt techniques, comme quand on parle d'un morceau de papier ou de carton utilisé pour "cacher" une ...

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Conveying the idea of "tricky"
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14 votes

You could use the adjective vicieux if you want to convey a slighty humorous touch. It carries a mildly "sadistic" touch. C'était un problème facile. En voici un plus vicieux.

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Why use "finir par" instead of "finir de" before an infinitive?
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14 votes

The meanings are different: Finir par means this is the last action you will take in a process of multiple actions you had to follow, or from multiple options that you had to choose from. J'ai fini ...

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What’s the French equivalent to ‘why not?’
14 votes

There is a very common equivalent: pourquoi pas ?

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Fiche matériel ou fiche matérielle
13 votes

Both are possible: "fiche matérielle": the word "matériel" is the adjective here, and it agrees. It means then "an actual, material card", as opposed to a virtual one (...

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Can the passive "être + verbe" sometimes mean the past?
13 votes

The sign is indeed wrong. Ici sont enterrés means indeed that their corpses are still buried here. The correct form can be ici étaient enterrés, ici ont été enterrés, ici avaient été enterrés or ici ...

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How do I say “hold the bus”?
12 votes

A spontaneous shout to the driver would be "Attendez !" or "Attendez-moi !" If you want to ask people to keep the bus from pulling away, eg by informing the driver, you can say &...

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How do you say “highest quality” or “first class” in French?
12 votes

You can use the phrase haut de gamme. Note that "haut" is used here as a noun and not as an adjective. Ce magasin ne vend que des produits haut de gamme.

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"Cette affaire l'est pour une autre raison." - what's that "l" there supposed to mean?
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12 votes

The "l'" is indeed the elided form of "le". It is a pronoun that replaces "extrêmement important". Let us imagine the sentence without this pronoun: Cette affaire, extrêmement importante, est ...

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Un verbe pour mesurer le volume ?
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11 votes

On peut utiliser le verbe occuper. Cet objet occupe 3 mètres cubes. Cet objet occupe un volume de 3 mètres cube. Avec la mesure du litre, c'est peut-être un peu inhabituel. On peut alors préciser qu'...

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histoire de se changer les idées - what exactly is this saying?
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11 votes

Histoire de + infinitive is a familiar phrase that means "just for the sake of". It is used to express a simple intention, where one should not look for any other purpose. J'ai été au parc,...

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When to use “lorsque” and “quand”
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11 votes

Quand and lorsque are interchangeable when they introduce a subordinate clause. The meaning is the same, but lorsque is a bit more formal than quand, and quand is more frequent in spoken French. ...

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Can I say "jalousie" instead of "store"?
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11 votes

Store is the most common and general term. Jalousie is used to refer to a specific type of store. A more common synonym would be persienne. But as you seem to guess, the word jalousie also means "...

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Est-ce que « juste mes deux centimes » est une traduction correcte pour « just my two cents »
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11 votes

On peut plutôt dire: c'est juste mon avis Je vous donne juste mon avis je dis ça, je dis rien à mon humble avis "Juste mes deux centimes" sera sans doute compris par les gens qui ...

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Peut-on utiliser les termes "nonante" et "septante" dans la documentation officielle en Belgique ?
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11 votes

Les mots "septante" et "nonante" sont utilisés dans tous les contextes en Belgique, tant familiers qu'officiels. Ils n'y sont pas considérés comme des mots de dialecte et sont d'ailleurs même utilisés ...

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What's the difference between "milieu de travail" and "lieu de travail"?
10 votes

"Lieu de travail" is the location. "Milieu de travail" is rather the general situation of someone being at work: not just the location, but also the conditions in which the workers ...

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Tousser in the reflexive?
10 votes

Tousser is indeed an intransitive verb, so this is a case of "poetic licence". If we accept that it is used here as part of a metaphor, here is my interpretation: tousser, just like to cough,...

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"From Russia with Love" versus "Bons Baisers de Russie"
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10 votes

The most obvious literal translation would have been de Russie avec amour. This translation, however, makes no sense in French when taken in isolation and is not idiomatic. The title from Russia ...

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Pourquoi «À bout de souffle» et pas «au bout de souffle», «au bout de chemin» et pas «à bout de chemin»?
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10 votes

Les expressions à bout et au bout ne signifient pas la même chose. Être au bout signifie être à la fin de quelque chose, concrètement ou figurativement. Exemples : sa maison se trouve au bout du ...

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“Faire” being used to mean “avoir l’air”?
10 votes

Rather than avoir l'air, in your examples, the verb faire means donner un air, donner une apparence, as the subject is not the thing that has the appearance, but is what gives this appearance. This ...

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Comment traduire « crazy straw »
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10 votes

Looking it up on some merchant's webites, you can find different names pailles à boucles pailles bouclées pailles fantaisie (although that one can apply to any straws with an unusual design) pailles ...

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Le mot Hagiographie et la lettre H
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10 votes

Le mot agios commence en fait par une aspiration: il n'y avait pas de lettre "h" en alphabet grec classique, mais cette aspiration est indiquée par un "esprit rude"(un espèce d'accent) sur l'alpha ...

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Why "de" in "à de"?
10 votes

Your understanding is correct, it is indeed "mélanger à" + partitive article used with "eau". The key difference between English and French is that in English, "some" or "any" are not always needed, ...

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« T'inquiètes » ou « t'inquiète » ?
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10 votes

The imperative form is "ne t'inquiète pas", no "s" needed, that would be an error. I think you are confusing the imperative and indicative moods, which in French follow different conjugation rules. ...

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