French Language

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Re: Working all day..

 Chrissie wrote:

Perhaps it's all to do with the french being terribly accurate about the timing of all tenses.

It seems from the above posts that "en travaillant" can only be used if it is a simultaneous action, so if you can say "whilst working in the garden I whistled", it would be OK, but similarly "I spent all day whilst working" would be nonsense.........

Hope this is right!!

Chrissie (81)

 

We posted at the same time - how apposite is that?Big Smile [:D]
"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:
The examples you cite, Alan, are gerondif (two things happening at the same time). 

Passing the time by doing something,  avoiding doing something by doing something else etc etc, take the infinitive in French.

I can't explain it, but I fear that it's more complicated than that.

For instance, I think you would say "En prenant le TGV j'espère arriver avant midi." (by taking the TGV ...)

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Re: Working all day..

French uses an infinitive
1) After prepositions 'Sans Hésiter' 'avant d'entrer'  
2) After a verb with or without a preposition depending on the verb

Aimer boire   Like drinking
Commencér à boire   Start Drinking
Eviter de boire  Avoid Drinking
Passer la journée à boire  spend the day drinking

This is the confusion that comes from Clair's correction.

'passer' takes 'à' so 'à travailler dans le jardin'

In other cases when the prepoition is 'en' best translate in English as 'in'   so en tombant 'in falling' or
"while"  "by""on"   but not just the verb in 'ing'

Looking at the original example, you can't really say in English 'we spent the day while working' or 'by working' etc

It is a simultaneous action, done by the same subject as the main verb

BUT

(Complication: compare" j'ai vu mon frère en sortant de l"école"  and "j'ai vu mon frère sortant de l'école!!!)







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Re: Working all day..

Lets see if I have been paying attention and any of this has sunk in (it never did at school!).

"J'ai vu mon frère sortant de l'école", is OK? - I saw my brother leaving the school.

And so is "J'ai vu mon frère en sortant de l'école", I saw my brother whilst I was leaving the school.

Would it be preferable to reverse the order "En sortant de l'école j'ai vu mon frère"

Or is that my English logic intervening?

Or should I get my coat? Cry Out [:'(]


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Re: Working all day..

Si tu vas à l'école, get your coat, car tu verras en sortant qu'il fait très froid !   Big Smile [:D]

I think you can say it both ways, you are right Chancer.

 


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"Saving the life of one animal may not change the world, but the world will surely change for that one animal"

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Re: Working all day..

 NormanH wrote:
(Complication: compare" j'ai vu mon frère en sortant de l"école"  and "j'ai vu mon frère sortant de l'école!!!)

The first of these is clear, but I'm not sure what the second means.

If it was your brother who was leaving, wouldn't you normally say j'ai vu mon frère sortir de l'école"?

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Re: Working all day..

What about "En sortant de l'ecole, j'ai vu mon frere"?
That's pretty clear.
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Re: Working all day..

 bubbles wrote:
What about "En sortant de l'école, j'ai vu mon frère"? That's pretty clear.

No, that would mean that I saw him as I was leaving the school.  At least, I think it would.

If I saw him as he was leaving the school, I think I would say "j'ai vu mon frère sortir de l'école."

What I'm questioning is the second of NormanH's examples ("j'ai vu mon frère sortant de l'école").  I'm not sure whether that's clear, or even correct.

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