au bout vs à la fin


I am working on 2.8 Where am I? Part 1 test: KNOW IT -
The question was "At the end" and to give the answer in French for which I answered "à la fin" but the correct answer was "au bout". What is the difference and without context how does one know? 

toru e

Good question, without context, it's impossible to know.

Usage wise, bout would be used for something physical (like a location), while fin would be used more for things that are conceptual.


Torusan = Monsieur Toru,

How long did it take you to learn the nuances to be able to explain so well or in your case in all the languages you have tackled so far? I'm discouraged by the slow progress: I froze when given a sentence to be translated into French and I don't get the right intonation but some franglish going. The more mistakes I made the more I hunched over the laptop. I have to clean the surface everyday before I shut down; that's how bad it is. 

Well, thanks again for your prompt explanation. 

toru e

Hi M-L, I can understand your frustration, but believe it or not, you are making progress. It's just that with French, you have to worry about getting so many things right: pronunciation, grammar, word order. I actually bought the Rocket French series in January 2013, so that's not even three years. Before that, I went through the Rosetta Stone series, but it didn't work for me so, for me, it was like starting over. After I finished the series, I then started working with tutors, so I've had tutoring for a couple of years now, and do think that's the key to real proficiency because you learn usage and context that way. Plus, because you *have* to talk, you get past all the anxiety of talking in French and being afraid to make mistakes.

I guess my advice would be to do something supplementary, if you're not already doing so, like listening to French music or picking up a grammar book (like the Practice Makes Perfect series that has exercises). Flashcards don't work for me, but if you're a visual learner, things like Memrise is something to try also (or Duolingo).


Hello torusan,

Thanks for all the helpful tips. I still practice the R and others from the teacher you recommended on YouTube. I stopped RF for a long time because I was stuck at the lesson on "flirting" in the original program and other reasons. I recently started Duolingo and it gave me the incentive to resume RF.

I ordered a couple of the books you recommended from Amazon. It was a good thing that I read the reviews; one said the work book didn't work well on Kindle. I too am an exclusive Kindle user for books so I ordered a couple paperbacks instead.

I don't know if I will go so far as to engaging the service of a tutor. My learning French is for exercising my grey cells; I don't have anyone to talk with. I started talking to myself when a situation arose and I tried to form simple sentences. It's better than nothing. 

 I was amazed that I could picked up more than a few words when President Hollande was addressing the nation/world; he was a slow talker for that particular speech as the tragedy was unfolding but not a word from the Paris mayor who talked at a faster speed. I had heard French people who spoke even faster. Who represented the norm?

Thanks again! 

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