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French literautre vocab and grammar

CalliW

CalliW

Bonjour-

I am currently reading my second book in French- The adventures of Clara if anyone is familiar with it. As there are no translations, I was hoping for some clarification on some of the passages.

  1. Ils lui posent beaucoup de questions, ils veulent tout savoir sur sa vie aux Etats-Unis.
  • I don't know to what word ‘tout’ is being applied- does this sentence mean:
    • They all want to know…
    • They want to know all…

2. Le professeur distribue les emplois du temps, Clara est contente de voir que le mardi ils commencent à dix heures…

  • What does ‘le’ stand for here? I didn't think days of the week were usually proceeded by a definite article. Is this because it is speaking about Mondays in general?

3. Sur un mur, on a publié les listes d'élèves classe par classe.

  • I'm trying to figure out why there are two ‘classe'. Is the first used as an adjective and the second a noun? 
  • Does ‘listes d’élèves classe par classe' translate to ‘student class lists by class’? It sounds repetitive. 

4. En entrée, Clara choisit une salade d'endives parce qu'elle n'a jamais goûté avant.

  • At first I thought this meant she hadn't eaten any food before, but now I think Clara chose this particular meal, because she had never tried it before. Does this sound correct? 
  • Also, I thought there would be a pronoun before avant to represent the ‘salade d'endives', such as she has never tried IT (la) before.

5. Clara va à la cuisine leur chercher des boissons.

  • I believe this roughly translates to ‘Clara goes to the kitchen to look for their drinks/look for drinks for them.’ Which one of these sounds more correct? The placement of ‘leur’ is throwing me off for a reason I can't identify.

6. Ce sont de super souvenirs.

  • Is ‘super’ an invariable adjective'? 
  • Does this translate to ‘They are great memories’?
  • Why is ‘de’ necessary?

 

Any feedback is greatly appreciated, merci beaucoup!

Calli 

Gabrielle-D

Gabrielle-D

Hi Calli,

  1. “…ils veulent tout savoir sur sa vie aux Etats-Unis.” = They want to know everything about her life in the United States.
    • If it was “they all want to know," it would be written “ils veulent tous savoir…" because the “tous” here is plural and is connected to “ils
  2. Le mardi = every Tuesday.
  3. “Classe par classe” - the students are listed class by class. I guess it's a little like saying, “they walked in pairs, two by two”
  4. This is correct, she had never tasted it before. There's no pronoun that I can see to indicate it. (I actually wondered whether it was a typo in the book, but I checked with my French tutor and she said that they omitted the pronoun to be trendy, so it's a writing style thing, I guess).
  5. Either one of those translations will work. Another is “Clara goes to the kitchen to get them drinks”.
    • Leur = to them/for them (object pronoun)
    • The placement of “leur” has to do with the order of subject, object pronoun, verb, and noun in a sentence
    • I give the gift to them = Je leur donne le cadeau
    • He tells me the story = Il me raconte l'histoire
    • Where is the book? I found it on the table = Où est le livre ? Je l'ai trouvé sur la table.
    • In all of these, the object pronoun comes before the verb in the French:
      • Subject, object pronoun, verb, noun.
    • In your example sentence: Clara va à la cuisine leur chercher des boissons
      • If we take out “va à la cuisine”, we are left with:
      • Clara leur chercher des boissons
    • Note: object pronouns can be either direct or indirect. There's a lesson about these in Level 3 (18.6). I'm not up to that level yet, but I've had some tuition on the topic. I'm still trying to get my head around it though, so I left it out for now. I thought this (above) would be enough to start with.
  6. "Ce sont de super souvenirs"
    • Yes for the first two points
    • The French rarely use a noun without either a definite or indefinite article. If the sentence was “These are precious memories”, it would translate to “Ce sont des souvenirs précieux”. In this sentence, “des” means “some” and the adjective comes after the noun.
    • However, “des” (“some”) changes to “de” when the adjective comes before the noun. (This rule doesn't apply if “des” is a contraction of “de + les” (of the, from the, to the))

Hope this helps. 

Mitchell-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Mitchell-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Bonjour à vous deux!

 

I want to start by saying thank you to Gabrielle, you have covered everything really well and have effectively made me redundant. It's great to see members helping each other and creating a genuine sense of community.

I might expand on a couple of points just to give you extra food for thought.

 

2. Clara est contente de voir que le mardi ils commencent à dix heures

With days of the week and times of the day, we use the definite article to express habitual actions. Compare the following sentences expressing habitual and one-time actions:

  • Je fais les courses le jeudi.  (I do the shopping on Thursdays.)
  • J'ai fait les courses jeudi. (I did the shopping on Thursday.)
  • Elle fait ses exercices le matin. (She does her exercises in the morning(s).)
  • Elle a fait ses exercices ce matin. (She did her exercises in the morning.

 

3. Sur un mur, on a publié les listes d'élèves classe par classe.

Perhaps it is easiest if we look at the translation first. “On a wall, we published (there was published) the lists of students, class by class.” The structure woks exactly the same as in English: something by something, category by category, one by one, day by day etc. Maybe what threw you was also the lack of a comma after les listes d'élèves, which we would normally use in English. Classe par classe is a separate modifier indicating that each class is represented with its own, separate list of students.

 

4. En entrée, Clara choisit une salade d'endives parce qu'elle n'a jamais goûté avant.

Just putting this out there, not a fan of this stylistic approach. There are two approaches that you can take with this: i.e. any (EN) or it (LA).

  • parce qu'elle ne l'a jamais goûté avant. (because she hasn't tried it before.) LA
  • parce qu'elle n'en a jamais goûté avant. (because she hasn't tried any before.) EN

To be honest, I am more inclined to use the second one, even though we would go more for the first option in English, just sounds more natural to me.

 

5. Clara va à la cuisine leur chercher des boissons.

I think Gabrielle covered this pretty well, so instead I will provide a few example sentences which will all be variations on the same sentence, to highlight to difference of position, order and words used.

  • Clara va à la cuisine pour chercher des boissons. (Clara is going to the kitchen to get some drinks.) - no pronoun, she's just getting some random drinks.
  • Clara va à la cuisine leur chercher des boissons. (Clara is going to the kitchen to get them some drinks.) - indirect object pronoun, she's getting some drinks for them.
  • Clara va à la cuisine pour chercher leurs boissons. (Clara is going to the kitchen to get their drinks.) - possessive pronoun, she's getting their drinks - that belong to them.
  • Clara va à la cuisine pour chercher leur boisson. (Clara is going to the kitchen to get their drink.) - possessive pronoun, she's getting their drink - just one between them.

While the last example is a bit silly, I added it to further highlight the position of the possessive pronoun, compared to the indirect object pronoun.

 

I hope this helps,

 

   -   Mitchell

Gabrielle-D

Gabrielle-D

Hi Mitchell,

Thankyou. I've just recently returned to Rocket French after a long hiatus. Calli's question caught my interest because it covers a lot of what I've been studying myself lately. I didn't realise this section was addressed mainly to tutors so I just thought I'd jump in and have a go. At my current level (mostly A2 with a dash of B1), this question really tested my understanding and ability to explain French grammar. I'm pleased to know that I'm on the right track. 

Thanks for the great question Calli! :) 

All the best.

Gabrielle

CalliW

CalliW

Gabrielle & Mitchell-

Merci beaucoup, very thorough answers as always!

I'm very thankful for the community on Rocket Languages- not only does it provide me with clarification but it broadens my horizons by introducing me to new subjects and scenarios, often in depth.

 

À la prochaine fois,

Calli 

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