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Forum Rocket French French Vocab sans doute vs sans aucun doute (5.6 Part 1 and 5.7 Part 2)

sans doute vs sans aucun doute (5.6 Part 1 and 5.7 Part 2)


5.6, "Putting things together" Part 1. The translation for "sans doute" was "probably" but I felt that it should be "no doubt" or "without [a] doubt". On the same lesson "sans aucun doute" was  translated as "without a doubt". I accepted it to pass the test. 
5.7, "Putting things together, Part 2" The translation for "sans doute" was "no doubt" and NOT "probably". That's confusing. See below: 
Sans doute qu'il y aura de la pluie alors !
No doubt there will be rain then!

Is "sans doute" interchangeable with "sans aucun doute" OR the latter conveyed a little more emphasis on the absolute of no doubt? 



toru e

Yes, I agree, the "probably" was more like a "localized translation" to capture the intent of sentence. It is, as you noted "no doubt". "He probably went fishing.", "He went fishing, no doubt."

And yes, it's more on the emphasis over the degree of certainty with "aucun" because it's saying "none"


Is this another case where there's more than one way to say the same thing, hence to translate a sentence into English?  The obvious translation for, "Sans doute qu'il y aura de la pluie !" is "No doubt there will be rain."  However, "Probably there will be rain." also throws doubt onto the situation.  Where I live on Canada's west coast, both "probably" and "no doubt" would be used equally.


Thanks for the succinct explanation. By the time I learned all the nuances and localized translation (there are more regions and countries than I care to count) I'll be too old to travel and have to settle with movies without subtitle.

I think they, tutors should take it into consideration for students working on Module 1 that the translations be more black and white. If and when we make it to Module 2 then they can start introducing some shades of grey or nuances. 

You seem to be the only one who knows all the nuances and regional differences. Thank goodness for the Forum; not everyone is able to have a private tutor or a French school near by. We have a French Cultural Ctr but it is not convenient for me. Besides they require all adults signing up a program to take a written and oral placement tests; that's enough to give me a heart attack. :-)



Thanks! You are the other person who chimes in for your 2 cents in French and points out the regional differences in English too. Granted you are north of and definitely on the opposite side of New England but I assume you are more US English than the east coast Canadians like those in Toronto (students are required to take French; your new PM is bilingual) and especially Quebec Province. But I have never treated "probably" and "no doubt" as interchangeable; neither do the people I communicate by emails and verbally. 

I'm not sure if you have finished all 3 Modules but please read my suggestions about treating beginner students differently, slowly breaking us in and introducing nuances and regional differences. 

Merci à vous deux (I hope this is grammatically correct but everyone has to take the 1st step albeit running the risk of being a laughingstock) 


"Running the risk of being a laughingstock":  That's something we adults don't like.  Years ago I lived for a time in Mexico and struggled with the Spanish language.  A new family moved into the area and in no time the children used the little Spanish they'd learned.  They didn't care if the congujation or gender were incorrect, and nobody laughed at their errors.  Those children also learned Spanish more quickly than I did -- largely because they had no fears of being "a laughingstock."  Sometimes we adults need to be more like children.

M-L, you are likely correct that we West Coast Canadians likely speak more like Americans than do our fellow easterners, but our English still has differences from that of our neighbours to the south.  Regarding French:  Here in BC, French immersion is strong in the elementary schools, and it's possible to graduate from Grade 12 a bilingual person.  Besides that, students in university entrance programs must take a second language in high school, and French is the one most commonly learned, by far.  Another French influence we have in Canada is in labelling; if a product is to be sold across the nation, or even in a large area in and English-speaking province, it must carry both English and French text.  Travel to our national parks and you find bi-lingual signage.  All federal materials are also bi-lingual.

Regarding our new PM:  Although all prime ministers need to know both official languages, this one is truly bilingual; he lived most of his life in Quebec, is of French parentage, and has a West Coast mother.



Thanks! I needed that reminder but it's easier said than done. The older we are the thinner our skin.

For me there are 2 elements based on personal experience: (1) when I traveled to Paris I tried because I felt I was protected by anonymity; I would never see those people again no matter how I mangled their language. In other European cities some of them speak English better than some Americans. Besides all travelers had to survive unless they stayed in the hotel all day which was not an option for business travel and defeat the purpose of traveling in the first place. I speak survival Mandarin so it comes in handy in China, again anonymity protection.

I had never considered Canada a foreign country but a very rule abiding and friendly neighbor, pleasant to visit; I mean it fondly rather than disrespect until 9/11. I am reminded it is a foreign country because I have to carry my passport. Recently I asked my nephew who was born in Toronto area and now works in the same vicinity if he uses his French. Sadly he said no because everyone speaks English. This surprised me because the administrative staff in Manchester, New Hampshire, 50 miles away from my house, were bilingual. Further north in Montpelier, Vermont the bank tellers spoke to us in French until they realized my "French" then they switched to English quickly.  

(2) I tried speaking with 2 former colleagues who went to McGill University and married French Canadians but they were hesitant to speak with me because we shared a common language and/or they felt we were being rude to be speaking French when no one else at work could understand. 

Lacking opportunity to apply what I learned from RF is certainly a big obstacle. Now I talk to myself at home or in my head when in public places when the situation presents itself and I know how to say it in French. 

Most products (shampoos, moisturizers), some food packaging and all appliance manuals are bilingual, some 6 languages. I save those to practice my reading comprehension. I purchased an electric kettle recently and on the box it stated "Un goût frais commence par une eau pure." and on the other side the English translation was "A clean taste starts with clean water."

I don't know if the French bit was correct to begin with but based on the statement, "A fresh taste starts with pure water." popped into my head. Am I correct or too literal again? 


toru e

Great discussion, everyone! I definitely understand the lack of opportunities to apply what you've learned. It's a big reason that I still have tutoring anywhere from 3-5 times a week; it's not so much the "learning grammar" phase anymore, as it is learning the nuances, usage, and, in the case of one of my teachers, actually learning literary styles. With two others, it's mostly dialogue to exercise grammar, like talking about things that happened in the past to get into the habit of speaking in passé composé and l'imparfait (and knowing instinctively when to use when).

My goal is to be truly bilingual: to be able to write creatively in French as well (or as poorly :) ) as I do in English, so I know it's a long road. Honestly though, I realized early this year that I was thinking in French and no longer translating, so I know that the "how do I say this in French?" becomes autonomous too after a while.

As for the «frais» question, I can see why they translated it as "clean" because there is an element of cleansing or refreshing when it's used, so they probably wanted to capture that.


Congratulations torusan! "I realized early this year that I was thinking in French..."

The nuns/teachers "beat us" verbally not to think in English and then translate to French when I was in middle school when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth :-) . "Thinking in French" was our mantra. 

I was once again too literal about the translation on my new kettle box. I got to be pleased with myself for a day about my ability to translate instantly albeit it was a very short sentence but you brought me back down to earth. It's good; I learn to think out of the box and nuance. My background was in science; I had always written journal articles, nothing imaginative and ornate like literature or worse like ads and commercials to entice people to buy. 

I live in a small town where I don't have the opportunity to find a teacher and a group of like minded people to learn French; there are plenty of book clubs though. 



M-L, you might find someone to practice your French all over the web, for example on It has paid lessons but you can also find native speakers for free. There are thousands of French natives in the world who are willing to help.  You only need a computer, a microphone and Skype!


Thanks bolletjet,

I checked the site you sent; it sounded great but not for me for now but may be down the road some day. I would be wasting their time even though I'm paying or for free. 

Right now I'm just "extremely fluent" in saying bonjour, comment aller vous and it's friendly version as well as with a quick come back of pouvez-vous parler un peu plus lentement, s.v.p.. After that I had to think to get the sentence in my head first before I would/could venture to say it out loud, the same way I do the tests but with no time pressure. I froze under pressure. 

A few months ago I went with my family to a wildlife sanctuary; the ranger gave a talk about what to expect but basically "open your eyes and listen" and you would see more or less than what you came for. No one can control wildlife. 

I came upon a wood bridge and saw 2 people, a man on one side and a woman on the other. He was very intense while the woman was just casually looking around. So I went to his side thinking he might be seeing something. He saw my shadow and must thought I was his wife or companion. He whispered something and pointed (people always whispered when they were in a wildlife area as if we talked we'd scare them to run or fly away). I didn't know what came over me other than recognizing he was talking French and I whispered, "Non, je ne vois pas". What I saw under the bridge was some decomposed leaves and twigs, dirt and a shallow stream near by. He pointed and continued to explain what to look for; that's what I thought anyway but all I heard was "bébé". My mouth must have dropped to the ground and my eyes, like deer in headlights. He switched to English with a French accent and I saw the bébé perfectly camouflaged. 

I'm too much of a beginner to use this kind of supplement. I tried finding a French teacher near by but in vain. What I had in mind was that I continue RF but jot down every little question that I have (I said this many times for every new sentence I learned I had 10 questions) and ask that teacher and then s/he would based on my weak area and gave me some homework or tailor made problems for me to practice at home. I'm too foggy to even think straight what I need at this point other than continuing and reviewing the RF lessons, FlashCards and checking the Forum to see what questions other people had that also applied to me, which was every one of them. 

merci mille fois


Why not have a go in starting to actually talk in French? This is what it is all about, right?

There are lots of teachers on the internet who specialize in teaching beginners (and answer beginner's questions as well!), so don't delay in actually try out on a real person the words and phrases you have learned already, instead of only talking to your computer.  

It is only by plunging into it that you will soon gain confidence in talking in a foreign language, which, I think, is far more important than dotting your grammatical i's and crossing your t's. The latter could take so much of your energy that you'd probably end up giving up altogether.



You are my helicopter "mom" :-)  ; it's a compliment from me for my type of personality. 90% of things I'm a self motivator, the others 10% I need someone to give me a push. I did spend most of yesterday trying to find a teacher and narrowed down to a few. I watched all the French videos; my impression was that the teachers gave out worksheets/homework but I already have RF. I haven't found one that demonstrated based on the student's questions=weakness or need work on and then come up with a tailor made worksheet for me to study or ponder until the next meeting/lesson and that's why I chicken out. 

A few of them have initial trials for 30 minutes for a song; may be I will start with those, just ask their teaching style rather than blindly boxed myself in as a beginner. Based on the videos I watched I might be an in between but greatly in need of grammar lessons. 

merci mille fois

toru e

M-L, except for my first tutor, all of my tutors (for French, Castilian Spanish, Japanese, and Swedish) have come from italki. One of the things I do before booking a lesson is to contact the prospective teacher and say exactly what I'm looking for (whether it's "I'm a complete beginner" or "I'm very advanced but still make grammar mistakes" or, in the case of Spanish, "I answer in French" :) ) and ask their thoughts or ideas on their approach. Then, I would book based on their response.

This way, you could specifically tell them that you're working with Rocket French and you want to practice the dialogue, grammar, or whatever from it.

I've had a few teachers who had "canned" lessons, and I ended up not continuing with them. But that was because by the time I started working with tutors, I had already finished the RF series, so I was looking for lessons to fill in the gaps.

Some tutors, I've been with for over two years, while others are new (I had to replace a few recently). But if I had to do it again, I would have started with them in conjunction with Rocket Language, which is what I'm doing with Japanese. It's really the only way to get over the fear of making mistakes and speaking in public.



You always come up with something to surprise me. How do you contact the prospective teacher? I haven't narrow it down and it's getting late; meaning I need to do some RF for today. From your experience do you find the cost per lesson correspond to the quality of the teacher or no correlation? 

Will let you and bolletjeb know once I get started. Thank you both for providing me with the invaluable info. As I said before I tried looking for a teacher in a small town, never crossed my mind about a virtual one. Old school :-)

merci mille fois

toru e

Oh, below the red "Schedule Lesson" button, there's a white "Contact Teacher" button that pulls up a pop-up form. Honestly, I've found that there's not a lot of correlation between cost and quality, but I'm wary of the really cut-rate ones though, so I haven't tried any of them.

Usually, the French teachers living in France charge higher rates because their cost of living is higher than someone living in say, South America. I ended up getting all French (from France) teachers, so on the positive side, when I'm in France, people think I live there because my accent is neutral French. :)

On a handful of occasions, I discontinued working with someone because I found that the connection was routinely poor (either because the teacher's computer is old or the person lives in a remote area). The videos can be a good indication of how the session will transmit on Skype, but sometimes not. If you can, schedule your trial lesson around the same time that you would probably take the lesson so you can gauge if you'll have connectivity issues.



Thanks for the info. I have to sign up first before seeing that button. But it will have to be another day. I lived in the "cave" for 6 hours.  :(

Today I learned a valuable lesson about internet provider and cell phone provider. It is exactly like investment; don't put all your money in one basket. 

We have state wide problems. The worse part was the tech support person kept asking for my landline in case s/he (I talked to both genders for almost an hour) they lost connection so they could call me back. In my opening statement about my problems I told them that I have both phone and internet service with them and neither was working. Besides they should have the records in front of them while we were talking yet with each tech support (I was their human football) they continued to ask for my landline just in case they lost me.  What a bunch of yahoos!


bolletjeb and torusan, 

I have signed up for a lesson but am waiting for her reply. The other 2 had replied but not to the point that they felt that we were good match or they were busy. Anyway, you should both claim that $10 in italki credits because you had indeed invited a friend to join. 

The site is very confusing; it said I have 3 trial lessons but yet I had to purchase 1,000 italki credits in order to pay for the trial lessons. It's not a deal breaker, just confusing to me. 


I'm afraid you missed out something, M-L.

You don't have to buy so many ITC's at italki if you don't want to. Click the green bar and you will find that one can go as low as 100 credits.


Thanks for the info! That's alright; the 3 teachers I had picked 2 of their trial lessons are a tad more than 100 credits.  I did have trouble with the credit card company initially because the site is in Hong Kong.  I always call my credit card company when I travel overseas so they don't get "alarmed". 

My first meeting is on Monday and the teacher asked me to prepare to introduce myself in French. That sounded easy enough but I am having an "anxiety attack" or deer in the headlights feeling. I'm not having a good weekend :-(



I know that feeling M-L. No need for that, really. Relax. A teacher won't eat you (because it's bad for his business too)!

I will be off line for a couple of weeks, so for this Monday je vous souhaite bon courage!



Bonjour bolletjeb,

You and torusan had been of great help. I might be off line for much longer; will find out next week. "Je vous souhaite bon courage!" to you too.

toru e

Ne t'inquiète pas, tout se passe bien. :)


It didn't happened. The Skype name provided wasn't on the directory and I waited and waited until she finally email me via their website that she had been waiting for 10 minutes. Long story short I didn't have my dreaded first lesson after all. I'm going to double check with the 2nd teacher to be sure he is the same as what was given to me and accepted as my contact. The only concrete confirmation I had was that the first name and the city matched. Other than that I might have invited a serial killer :-) belly laugh!!!

toru e

Oh, that blows! I hope you're able to reschedule or at least get your credits back since it's not your fault that they had outdated information. Usually, it's the teacher who adds me.

Oh, wait a minute, was it Jessica by any chance? I just remembered that her skype is backwards from what's written on the site (last name.first name).


Bonjour torusan,

No, it was the same you used actually, Clémence. I didn't know until after I had scheduled. It was probably the website was down this morning. I knew I didn't have to respond right away after the "lesson" but I just wanted to close the loop. On payment I checked pay in full to the teacher but the circle kept turning and turning for a few minutes. I didn't want the teacher wondering what my course of action so I signed on to the teacher-student communication that I had authorized the full payment but she had already posted that she expected at least half the amount and that I wasted her time that she could have used with another student. All true but it was the tone that took me by surprise. 

I have another one from Paris this Friday but the 3rd one rejected me because she (native French) is teaching in Barcelona and the school wanted her to spend more time so she couldn't take in new students. 

I went back to the website trying to find another one for comparison but when I checked "French" I got mostly Mandarin and after I refresh I got teachers for English and/or Spanish. I don't have the time or energy to scroll through 400+ names to find just another one or 2 teachers. Besides I will find out this week if not today whether I'll be off line for a long time or not. I'm not going to jail if that's what you had in mind, Hahahaha!

My husband has been asking when we could go back to Paris as if he wanted to speak with the French President with me as his interpreter. I reminded him that I got him through using my middle school French based on memory. I ordered him his first croque-madame which we can't get here or just not the same. He loves eggs all day and everyday if he could. 

I can't thank you and bolletjeb giving me so much outside info and camaraderie support. 


toru e

Oh, sorry to hear that. To be honest, I like Clémence a lot (her accent is really clean), but it's getting more and more difficult to schedule with her. In fact, I was thinking about booking with Jessica again, but I'm still trying out a few tutors instead of teachers since I really prefer conversation at this point over grammar.

I actually like Jessica, but when I was booking with her, she was in France, and the connection wasn't always great. Now that she's in South America, I haven't tried a lesson with her again.

By the way, it sounds as though you have my parents' internet service. Every month or so, they'll call me on their cell to say that they have zero service and to call them on their cell if there's an emergency. :)

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