French 7.4



J'espère que tu n'as rien de cassé.
I hope nothing is broken.
J'espère que tu n'as rien de cassé.
It makes no sense to me to translate «J'espère que tu n'as rien de cassé» as "I hope nothing is broken", which suggests this is some form of idiomatic use or fixed expression, when the correct translation and the way it would be said in English is as noted in the 'literal' translation. 'Tu' would not be used in the expression of "I hope nothing is broken" - this would be 'J'espère que rien n'est cassé.' Either sentence could be used in English or French, but they are not the same.


Salut MCK !

Thank you for your feedback! 

Since different languages don't always work in quite the same way, things can get tricky when it comes to translation. In our courses, our goal is to use translations that are as close as possible to the French, but that still sound natural in English. In places where the natural English translation is a bit far from the French, we include a literal translation to help learners see what the French is saying more closely.

In this particular case, a close translation for J'espère que tu n'as rien de cassé would be "I hope that you have nothing broken." Since this doesn't sound natural to us in English, we've gone for the looser translation of "I hope nothing is broken." This translation is indeed not word-for-word, but it fits the meaning and the context, and uses much of the same terminology. "I hope that you haven't broken anything" might also be a close candidate here, since it fits in the "you," but this would use a different verb structure and imply a different sentence (J'espère que tu n'as rien cassé), and so we felt it was a bit farther away from the French phrase being taught. We hope that the literal translation will help to make the French structure clearer, while the generalized translation lets learners see what is meant.

I hope that this explanation is helpful! 

À la prochaine,


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