"Bonne nuit !"
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Could someone explain the difference in French between "Bonsoir" and "Bonne nuit"? Does this have to do with the clock time, or something else? In English, "Good evening" is a greeting (perhaps a bit stilted or old-fashioned) and "Good night" is for parting (either "Goodbye" at night, or upon going to bed for the night).
"Bonjour" can be said at any hour if you meet someone for the first time in the day, but if it's late, it's very weird to say "bonjour" as the "jour" (the day) is ending, you would say rather "bonsoir" (good evening). You never use "Bonjour" when you take leave of someone.
"Bonjour" can be also "good morning" in the morning.
"Bonne nuit" is "good night" is the greeting we say before going to bed, (or you can say it when you take leave of someone in the night)
"Bonsoir" is "good evening", so you say it in the evening. And you also can say it when you leave of someone in the evening. You can say it also when you meet someone in the evening instead of "bonjour". (since "bonjour" is weird when it's late)
"Bon après-midi!" (sometimes spelled "bonne") is "good afternoon", you can say it when you take leave of someone in the after-noon.
For instance: I go to my grocery store, and I met the sales assitant, I say: Bonjour/Bonsoir I buy my groceries, and when I take leave of him, I say: Au revoir/ Bon après-midi/Bonsoir/Bonne nuit.
levieuxsieur- you're at my house, at seven pm you quit, you can say both, but in this case, you could want to wish me to pass a good evening, so you leave and you say bonne soirée. If you leave later, maybe at 11 pm, the evening is already passed, so it's bonsoir ot bonne nuit. So it's also a matter of time.
If you don't know a word's gender and you have to decide, there is no other basis than its appearance.
Many, but certainly not all, nouns that end with an e are feminine. It's not a reliable guideline but it it's better than flipping a coin. As you you yourself have pointed out there are some endings that do help when guessing.
Better than guessing, if you can't remember, is just to look it up, but some students' personal approach is not to do it that way. They prefer to guess and get it right or wrong because they believe that approach helps them remember.
So, nuit despite having none of the endings common with feminine such as e, ette, tion etc. is definitely feminine as are many other nouns without those helpful, little, sometimes yes, sometimes no, indicators.
"Nuit" despite having none of the endings common with feminine "e, ette, tion",etc ---> it's definitevely a bad rule in my opinion, extremely misleading and a disavantage for learning. It is like if it says that you need a special ending in French to be a feminine noun, but it's due to a bad knowledge of the history of French. Some words are feminine or masculine (and some can be both), because of the Latin word they come from, some because of the minsinterpretation of an old expression (I can tell you some example), etc...
So, yes, when it's "ette" it' normal, because it's the masculine of the suffix "et", meaning "little", when it's "tion", it's easy, because it's a substantivation, when it's "isme" you can guess the gender without mistake, when it's "eur" is always masculine, etc... but the other ones, there's so much exceptions, it's very uneasy, even for a French to guess, so why people who are not native try hard things then it's more easy to learn them, and to notice the pattern once you begin to be a little fluent in French?
Couldn't agree more. The best way to know the gender of a noun is to simply know the gender.
My advice is when learning a word connect the appropriate article to it so that the article and word become one. That way if you know the word, then you know the gender.
However, when you come across a word that you don't know but are guessing at its meaning, then you are forced to guess at its gender as well. If that is the case then remembering that the ratio of masculine nouns to feminine is about 70/30. That many feminine nouns and even some masculine nouns have characteristic endings. And using this admittedly very unreliable approach is better than flipping a coin.
Of course, the best way is to know what the gender of the noun is but the whole discussion is what to do when the gender is unknown and the student is unable or unwilling to look it up.
Using the 70/30 approach would lead you to believe that nuit is masculine. Using characteristic endings makes nuit look masculine or at least not feminine. Having learned the word nuit as la nuit or une nuit would lead you to know for sure that, despite some minor appearances, it is feminine.
If you don't know a particular word's gender and are unable or unwilling in the circumstances to look it up, then guessing is not a bad thing. The alternative is to simply not use the word. For a student trying to learn the language that really is a bad thing.
Saying la garçon will cause listeners to stop and ask you what you are trying to say. This will help you learn that it is le garçon. Simply stopping your speaking and pointing to some boy will make your point but won't help you learn.
And yes, we understand knowing the gender of nouns is a good thing. Even better is to know a lot of them. It takes only a few minutes for students to figure out that guessing at gender is a poor strategy when compared to knowing the gender.
The issue in this string of comments is what to do when you don't know.
Yes you can, and it's its only usage. You can't say in another context "la nuit est bonne",it's always with the meaning of a good night of rest, you could say "as-tu passé une bonne nuit"? (did you spend a good night? Or informal: "Ta nuit a été bonne?.
-Stéphane: Bonne nuit!
-Carine: Merci, Stéphane! A toi aussi, bonne nuit!
-Stéphane: Merci Carine! Fais de beaux rêves! (Sweet dreams: litterally, "do beautiful dreams") Dors bien! (=sleep well)
perce-neige- I live in Quebec and we don't use bon matin. I don't know anybody who says that. We say bonjour. I heard once BOn matin in a song for small children and i think it was to show them the word morning. So, it would be weird here too, to say bon matin instead of bonjour.
Yes, I have to correct that. Some Canadians told us here that "bon matin" should be accepted, because it was Canadian French (and I believe Duo doesn't check it, and accept things in a little too demagogic way sometimes), but I've checked, and it's recommended to no use "bon matin" on Canadian Teachers sites. So, if Duo accepts later "bon matin" to please some users, I think it would be a big mistake... (as the other anglicisms)
perce-neige- this week in Duo, someone told me that bon matin isn't an anglicism because those are 2 French words. This person didn't know that a literal translation which has no sense in French, is also an anglicism. There are a lot of anglicisms even though the words are French, and bon matin is one of those. There are a lot of links explaining that.
In the tips, it clearly says in the parenthesis that Bonne nuit means 'have a good night.' Yet when I put that answer, I am told that it means only 'good night.' I think the answer in 'the tips' should be changed to correlate with what the 'error corrector' is recommending. :)
All nouns ending in -tion or -ssion are feminine, as well as many ending in -eur, like:
peur (fear), soeur (sister), chaleur (heat), valeur (value), pâleur (pallor)), humeur (mood), rumeur (rumo/u/r), tumeur (tumo/u/r), teneur (content), erreur (error), fureur ( fury), faveur (favo/u/r), saveur (flavo/u/r), minceur (thinness), maigreur (underweight), douceur (softness), laideur (ugliness), raideur (stiffness), rondeur (roundness), longueur (length), largeur (width), épaisseur (thickness)...
I think it's just "goodnight" and not "have a good night" because "bonne nuit" is what people say as they are going to bed. In English, you usually would not say "have a good night" to someone who was going to bed. You might say "have a good night' to someone who was going out for the evening. In French, I think that situation would require "bonne soirée" instead.
So this is one of those times where you can't really translate literally word for word.
Why does bonne soirée mean have a good evening but bonne nuit does not mean have a good night?
"Bonne jour" is incorrect.
How to say "hello" throughout the day:
- Morning/afternoon: bonjour ! (standard) or salut ! (informal)
- Evening/night: bonsoir !
How to say good bye throughout the day
- Any time: au revoir ! (standard) or salut ! (informal)
- When leaving at day time: bonne journée !
- When leaving at the end of the afternoon or early evening: bonne soirée !
- Before going to bed: bonne nuit !