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vraiment vs très: when to use each properly

M-L

M-L

2.2 On a Tour, Extra Vocabulary:
The statement was "Il est vraiment marrant" and the translation was "It's very funny". When do I use vraiment instead of très? 

 
toru e

toru e

Actually, the vraiment is being used as a «tics de langue» here, rather than something that literally (or more concretely) means "very".

I'd say that this is more along the lines of saying "quite" or "rather" or "really", to "bump up" the degree of the adjective in spoken/conversational French. (Ex: Il est tellement intelligent. - He's quite intelligent., Il est vraiment intelligent - He's really intelligent.)
M-L

M-L

Thank you tousan for the explanation. Being very new to the language and not a natural language person I'm still not quite getting the gist of the nuance. I know tic in medicine but not language. Please give a few examples if you would exactly when you would use vraiment and when, très. Introducing tellement confused me more. 

Are you saying that when someone said, "Il est tellement intelligent." that person didn't really mean that he was very intelligent but rather saying it for the sake of saying it OR there was a little sarcasm? I'm over analyzing, aren't I?
 
As a person and in language I'm simple. If I think he is very funny or intelligent I would have used très. I look forward to your reply and everyone who can enlighten me. I think it is very important to get the nuance when learning any languages. 
toru e

toru e

Hi M-L, I guess I was trying to say is that très would be used for the "proper" grammatical phrasing, but that people would tend to use tellement or vraiment more in a conversational or informal (everyday) speech.

In English, it would be like the variation in saying:

This ice cream is very good. - Cette glace est très bonne. {grammatical, sounds "proper" and exact, I can write this sentence in an English composition and it doesn't come across as though I'm talking casually to friends.)

This ice cream is so good. - Cette glace est tellement bonne. {colloquial/informal, something I would say to friends, but I wouldn't write it this way if I were, say, a food critic writing a review for a magazine because I would come across as an amateur food blogger or something. :)}

This ice cream is really good. - Cette glace est vraiment bonne. {same informal register as tellement, but a bit stronger on emphasis}.

So, in your question, yes, you can always say très, and it's not wrong. It sounds proper.

If I were writing about Einstein or maybe if I were talking about him in a formal capacity (say, a presentation), I would also say "Il était très intelligent."

But if I were talking about him to friends, I would use a more informal tone, and so I would use a variation on the superlative (tellement/vraiment). It's more to sound "natural" or "native", if you will, because this is how French people would actually say it in everyday conversation.

"Je voudrais penser comme Einstein. Il était tellement intelligent." (I would like to think like Einstein. He was quite/so intelligent)."
M-L

M-L

You deserved a merci beaucoup from a beginner. You explained it so well; the 2 words, presentation and superlative hit the spot. I used to do presentations and in science writing we don't have superlatives. I hope someday I can explain the same to another beginner as clearly as you did me. 

Thanks!
toru e

toru e

You're welcome, glad to help! I can understand how confusing it gets sometimes with the mixing of formal/textbook-learning approach with the casual/everyday French, but it's good to know both styles. I met a well-known language hacker recently and he may have the "tics" down pat, but his French still sounds terrible because he doesn't have a good command of grammar. But he can "d'ac" (d'accord) and "tellement" you until the cows come home to fake an air of fluency. :-/
M-L

M-L

Thanks again torusan, (Are you learning Japanese?)

I checked Cheryl Demharter's French Sounds series, so far just watched the lesson on R a few times, which was very good but may be still a bit difficult for a beginner, the nuance again. But one thing I might be on the right track - she kept saying about the tension when doing the trill or using the uveola soft tissue. I don't even know I have that kind of muscles until now and that explained the jaw-neck pain after repeating after her for over an hr. 

Diana-S1: You are right about the practice makes perfect; after watching her video I don't feel like I'm shooting my mouth randomly and hope for the best; different people have different learning style; I need explanations and demonstrations. 

Thank you both. 
toru e

toru e

Haha, yes, I'm learning Japanese now (and going very slowly :(), and also restarting my Spanish since I lost quite a bit of fluency when I started focusing on French. Fortunately, I found a native (Castillian) Spanish teacher who lives in France, so our lessons are in French and Spanish (no English) and she can decipher this "Franish" thing I've got going. :D

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