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Working all day..

How do you say "to spend all day working in the garden?"

Would it be "passer toute la journée en travaillant dans le jardin", or "passer toute la journée travailler dans le jardin."?

And if it's plural and the former, would I write "il nous faut passer toute la journée en travaillant dans le jardin" or "travaillants".....Confused [8-)]

Chrissie (81)

(I don't by the way, it's just a grammatical exercise!!)


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Re: Working all day..

I'm sure it's the infinitive (the second one) because my physio is always telling me off for using "travaillant" as one would in EnglishBig Smile [:D] - this is one of my (many!) blind spots.  It would be great if one of the linguists on here could explain this properly to us,Chrissie.  I've scoured my grammar books but can't find a good explanation - the second example still looks odd to me but I can't think why.
"I couldn't sleep very well last night. Some noisy b*ggers going around in automobiles kept me awake." Ken Miles
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Re: Working all day..

 Chrissie wrote:
How do you say "to spend all day working in the garden?"

"passer travailler toute la journée en travaillant dans le jardin" (your suggestion is grammatically correct, but heavy in construction and unlikely to be used in conversation)
or "passer toute la journée à travailler dans le jardin."

 Chrissie wrote:
And if it's plural and the former, would I write "il nous faut passer toute la journée en travaillant dans le jardin" or "travaillants".....

As it is a present participle, there is no plural from for travaillant. Ever. (see here.)

Nous avons travaillé toute la journée...
Nous avons passé toute la journée à travailler... 
Clair
En Deuil - 8 Nov. 16

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Re: Working all day..

Thanks Clair and Cooperlola - so if I use the infinitive, which is more elegant, I think, I must also put in "à"......

More grammar practice definitely needed!

Chrissie (81)


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Re: Working all day..

Yes, Clair, thanks -as I say, this is one of my favourite mistakes, I can't help harking back to English (which is something I try not to do, but this just seems to "pop out" as it were.)  Still, it keeps my physio busy.Smile [:)]


"I couldn't sleep very well last night. Some noisy b*ggers going around in automobiles kept me awake." Ken Miles
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Re: Working all day..

 cooperlola wrote:
...my physio is always telling me off for using "travaillant" as one would in English...

Not sure whether this will be a complete explanation but it may help.

There are two common uses of "working" in English where it would never be translated as "travaillant" in French, and I'd guess that your physio is talking about one or both of these.

(1) where "working" is just part of the verb: 

What are you doing?  I'm working in London.
This is just another way of saying -
What do you do?  I work in London.
The meaning may be slightly different, but not much.  In French that difference doesn't exist: both of these would be -
Que faites-vous?  Je travaille à Londres.

If you said je suis travaillant à Londres your physio would tell you off.

(2) where "working" is really a noun, meaning the activity of working, which can be the subject or object of the verb.

Working in the garden is not my job.
I don't like working in the garden.


Here again, "travaillant" would be wrong.  You have to use the infinitive form:

Travailler dans le jardin n'est pas mon métier.
Je n'aime pas travailler dans le jardin.


I hope this helps.

PS: I do realize that both of my examples are distinct from the "present participle" use which Clair describes.  I hope I haven't just added to the confusion.



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Re: Working all day..

So can the present participle of travailler "travaillant" ever be used in written or spoken French?

If so can you give me an example please.


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Re: Working all day..

Thanks Alan - not confusing at all, although that's not my problem. 

What I do have trouble with is Chrissie's example.  I spent the day working in the garden/I aleviated the boredom by reading.  It just instinctively (and incorrectly) comes out as "J'ai passe la journee en travaillant dans le jardin/j'ai evite l'ennui en lisant."  Well, it used to - I bring myself up short now, but I still struggle with the correct form - a travailler a lire etc still feel odd!


"I couldn't sleep very well last night. Some noisy b*ggers going around in automobiles kept me awake." Ken Miles
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