"Ce sont les seuls hommes qui aient été bons pour nous."

Translation:These are the only men that have been nice to us.

January 2, 2013

This discussion is locked.


Why is this in the subjunctive?


According to the webpage below, the subjunctive is often used when the principal clause contains terms such as:

  • le seul, l'unique, le premier, le dernier

The original French (webpage):

"De même, le subjonctif est fréquent quand la principale contient les termes tels que : le seul, l'unique, le premier, le dernier.

  • C'est le seul ami que je connaisse.


[Edited to remove "lui" in "je lui connaisse"]


Sort of. A perfect way to know if the verb is subjunctive is to look for a "que" before the noun doing the action, or "qui" if it's a person. As with any French rule, there are some exceptions, but not many.

Also, as a side note, I think you meant "c'est le seul ami que je connaisse." "Lui" means "him" or is used as a replacement for "à lui" or "à elle": " je lui ai téléphoné(e)" = "j'ai téléphoné à lui/elle"


Merci! I took the example from the webpage, and did not notice the error.


"Qui functions as a pronoun and tranlates as "who". "Que" tranlates as "that" and connects a clause to a sentence, so there is always a noun or pronoun after "que". This is how I learned it, and it makes it very easy


The word "qui" does not always translate to "who", because it does not always refer to a person. For example:

C'est un livre qui contient beaucoup de suspense.

The important thing about "qui" is that it acts as the subject of its clause.

It can be translated "who" if it refers to a person, and "that" when it refers to a thing. (Some people will also allow "that" when it refers to a person.)


Merci pour la question.


Merci pour l'explication!

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However, the same webpage states 'On met toujours au subjonctif une proposition sujet introduite par que.' and the example given uses 'que' followed by a subject and then the verb conjugated in the subjunctive. In this case, it is 'qui' not 'que' and the 'qui' is the subject of avoir. All the conjugation tables that I have seen for the subjunctive go (using avoir): que j'aie, que tu aies, qu'il ait, and so on. In fact, I think this answer is wrong, and should be conjugated in the indicative, and I will report it as such. If they wanted us to use the subjunctive, the starting phrase would be something like 'Ce sont les seuls hommes que j'aie vus d'avoir été bons pour nous.' = These are the only men that I have seen to be good for us.


Does "être bon pour qqn" mean "be nice to someone" or "be good to someone"? Because I'd say they carry quite different implications in English.


And to add to the above question - Being good to someone v. being good for someone has different implications in English. Etre Bon pour quelqu'un means what exactly?


J'ai la même question! Moi, j'ai traduit "bons pour nous" par "good for us"; j'aurais pensé que "good/nice to us" se traduirait mieux par "gentils avec nous" - la traduction donnée par le dico Collins.

Est-ce que la phrase "Ils ont été bons pour nous" peut être synonyme avec "Ils ont été gentils avec nous"?? Chers Francophones, au secours svp!!


Both good and nice are accepted.


Why not "who had been nice to us"?


I've reported this too... weird!


I think it's expecting "who have been..."


Why not, "These are the only men who had been good for us."


Bonne question! 'Have' vs 'had', what's the rule?


Would ' Ce sont le seuls homes qui etaient bons pour nous' be at all correct en francais, s'il vous plait?


Yes it is corret but it refers to a finished past action. The Duolingo sentence refers to an action started in the past (and likely still going on) and with consequences still at play.


Pour nous...... seems a bit changeable. Just two or three sentences back 'pour nous' was 'for us'. That was discussed, by others. Now, we are back with 'to us'. This is a patently the learner's phenomemon known as 'a wilful phrase'! Both!


Why isn't there an "s" after ete (with accents)? Doesn't it refer to les hommes?


Because the été comes after (a conjugated form of) avoir, not after être.


Why is this 'ce sont'? Isn't hommes plural?


Agree with the majority, who is preferable


why subjoncif?


Pour nous means for us not to us doesnt it?


Since "pour nous" can also mean "in our opinion", shouldn't this solution be accepted to?


Pronunciation question: should "aient" before ete be pronounced with just the t or with an nt sound?


Neither, it's pronounced exactly the same way as "ai" is.


Are you sure? In this recording and all others it is pronounced ait with the t before ete


I am. I and other francophones from various parts of the world on here have never heard that before and it seems to be an automatic with the DuoLingo program. It's even in French pronunciation rules that a "t" is not pronounced when it is at the end of the word, except, of course, for certain exceptions.


Hmm. A quick google suggests that 3rd person -t verbs ending with a vowel should be pronounced before a vowel. http://takelessons.com/blog/french-pronunciation-letter-t-z04

Third person verbs, singular or plural, ending in T link with the following word starting with a vowel.

<pre>Il chantait une chanson </pre>

Then I went here http://french.about.com/library/pronunciation/bl-liaisons.htm and went to optional liasions and it said keeping the t was "very high register." Could you give a source please?


GlenM: I don't know which part of Quebec you are/were in, but we never pronounce the "nt," at the end of third person plural verbs, not even mumbled; "aient" pronounced exactly as "ai" is. For other words (like "appartement"), it definitely is, but not in this case.

Your comment about "Canadians", I don't know if you're speaking of Quebecers or non-Quebecer-French-speakers, but here, I've rarely, if ever, heard anyone NOT pronounce the "s" after "leurs" when it precedes a vowel. But if you are/were in the "régions", then it's possible.

Also, about the "r" thing: I've never heard a distinction between how we pronounce it and how Europeans do, but maybe I'm biased, haha!


My main source would be speaking, listening, and understanding the intricacies of this language. I checked for sources to be sure and those I have found agree with your second one, except yours actually support my claim even more than they do: according to that very site, "very high register" implies it's only pronounced in extremely formal occasions. Even then, it's rarely used. Your first source was way too absolute to work with the French language, vaguely stating it's always spoken that way, despite what all other sources say and what knowledgeable Francophones know (and "Il chantait une chanson" sounds weird when pronouncing the "t").

That said, I initially intended to tell you that you COULD pronounce the "t" alone if your REALLY wanted to, but definitely never the "nt." I chose not to to simplify things, but I'm glad you did some research, I just think that's a bit advanced for someone trying to learn by still using DuoLingo.

If you do decide to pronounce the "t" in these liaison-types of situations in regular speech or even in most formal situations, I'm sorry to say, but you (and anyone else who pronounces it) will sound foolish to native speakers, as it sounds very strange to us.

I hope this helped you. Please note that I'm here to help people learning French, so none of this is me trying to be "right," but is simply to aid people in speaking the language and sounding good when in a french-speaking territory.


GlenM, Yeah, our "r"s can be more or less rolled as well as harder, I guess it depends on who's speaking and where you are. There's also many people in the outlying regions (and some in the city) who roll their "r"s in the way most other languages (Russian, Spanish, Italian, etc.) do, which is always interesting!


I couldn't reply to your comment further below so I'm replying here. I'm not sure how to interpret the remark "very high register." I'll give an example. Throughout most of London, people speak with an accent which drops a lot of t's. Of course you've heard of "innit?" I would always say "isn't it." This isn't a matter of formality, but of just how I speak the language. This might be a classist comment but I suppose "isn't it" would be considered high register in London, but not at all formal.

I must admit (and I'm treading lightly so as not to sound classist) I have a 100% Australian accent which other Australians might call very high register.

So I guess my ultimate question is: is alliding -t with vowels something like that? The equivalent of an upper class accent? Btw I can see that -nt is largely never pronounced except for weird parts of Quebec. Francophones around me (now in the US) say Quebec French is just entirely weird.


I'm honestly not sure. I'm going by what the website says, and by that, I mean it's potentially a very class-based language issue and/or a litterary/scholarly way of speaking, but even then, I've spoken with absolute masters of this language and no one ever speaks like that. An example of a litterary French (unofficial) rule is the use of the passé simple: it is very rarely (but not never) used in speech, but can be fairly common in somewhat advanced litterature (like, not children's books, haha).

No offence to them, but Franco-Americans can't really say much about how we speak it, especially not Cajuns or Acadians, who have a very interesting way of speaking (I kind of like it, to be honest)...But anyway, as a little bit of a linguistic history lesson: Québec French is much closer to the very old French than continental French; after the French Revolution, the language was given an overhaul, but the Francophone residents of New France/Québec didn't get the metaphorical memo, thus we kept it as it was.


Since men precedes the verb clause, why is there not an "s" after ete?


Who. Use who and not that as these are people.


"that" or "who" are correct for people, "which" or "that" for things. You may think "that" sounds wrong used for people, but we say it all the time - probably more than "who" in fact. Any decent English grammar book/website will give you both alternatives. (I'm an English teacher).

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May it be: "...qui aient ete bons pour nous" = "who were good (tasty) for us (to eat)"?

Although none of us would eat the "hommes", the part " bons pour nous" of this statement makes me think that way.


Why not: "They are the only men who had been good to us?"


'WHO' is preferable to 'THAT' when talking about people: "These are the only men WHO have been good to us".


"These are the sole men that have been good to us"

I feel like this is right, shouldn't it?


Most often, "sole" modifies a singular noun, not a plural, as its meaning implies one of a kind.


Sorry but IMO 'good' does not equal 'nice' Dangerously misleading language....!


True, English "good" does not equal English "nice". But what DL is saying here is that French "bon" (sometimes) equals English "nice".

(Whether that is in fact true, I do not know.)

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