1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "They just ate."

"They just ate."

Translation:Ils viennent de manger.

January 3, 2013



Here is the answer :) Venir de + infinitif, indique que l'action exprimée par l'infinitif s'est achevée tout récemment : Je viens de lui parler, il est d'accord.


Merci bien! In case you wonder, the French says "Venir de + infinitive, indicates that the action expressed by the infinitive (verb) is recently completed: I (just) talked to him; he agreed."


i still don't get when you use a vs de vs just infinitive. can anyone help?


I remember this from school. Using "venir de" +verb is the construction for an action just done or almost done. For example, "je viens d'arriver" = I am just arriving. I didn't know about the addition of "juste" though.


From my schooldays, I remember this as "I have just arrived". I didn't think the "juste" was necessary in French. It certainly didn't translate as "coming from eating", although that's possibly how the usage started centuries ago - it was taught as an idiom to express an action completed very recently.


Why is this in the Future verbs lesson? There is literally nothing about this that involves the future tense.


I'm seeing it in the Adverbs 2 section. Maybe it moves around just to fill space or something


All very well, but when were we supposed to learn whichever Past or Perfect Tense in French?


You don't need any here, since the French verb "viennent" is in the present tense.


The verb manger is infinitive but the translation above says ate. What am I missing?



Venir is commonly used to express the recent past - the idea that one has just done something. This construction is formed with the conjugated venir + de + the infinitive of the action that has just occurred.

  • Je viens d'arriver = I (have) just arrived.
  • Ils viennent de manger = They just ate.
  • Nous venons de le faire = We just did it.


This along with negatives and questions is probably an example where French differs in semantics enough to need an explanation. I guess I'll just have to get used to this way of saying.

Merci pour votre reponse!



noun + venir de + infinitive = noun + just + simple past {venir de becomes just}

Ils viennent juste de manger.

noun + venir de + infinitive = Pronoun (ils) + venir de (viennent ...de) + infinitive (manger) = They + just + ate.

As sitesurf has pointed out, the reason Duo has added juste to a formula that already has just built into it is to emphasize the recentness of the action by adding an extra just. In English, we only show the built-in just as adding the extra just would only confuse not emphasize.


noun + sortir de + infinitive = noun + just + simple past. {sortir de becomes just}


this one is weird. The correct answer is not given in the multiple choice. Or am I really missing something?


Don't know, cannot see them here. Anyway, correct answers: "ils/elles viennent (juste) de manger"


I also got it with multiple choice--feels like this question totally comes from out of nowhere.


Can it also mean "They come to eat?


No, "they come to eat" is "elles viennent manger" or "elles viennent pour manger".


"ate" is Past Tense, isn't it? "just" requires Present Perfect. It's total chaos for me. :(


I can't understand it correctly, but here an answer

"just" is linked with a state of mind, so it can be used in past tense. (see http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/presperf3a.html)


'Just' is a specific time expression, so you CANNOT use Present Perfect, see: http://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/presentperfect.html

So I think "They just ate." is correct


Well, it wasn't "They just ate." what i had questionned but the French sentence. But thanks.


I think this is better in English as the perfect tense, with or without the "just" - "They have just eaten". ("Just ate" is more colloquial in the US than UK) What do you mean by "present perfect"? I'm not sure I understand your terminology - an example might help?


Is this "they just ate" as in "they just at a minute ago", or as in "all they did was eat"?


better the first one, no question


if 'ils viennent de manger' means they just ate, then what does the 'juste' add to the sentence?


an emphasis on the recency of the action (in both languages)


Thank you. So would 'ils viennent de manger' translate to 'they ate'? Or 'they just ate' and then if you add 'juste' you are emphasising the recency even more. In English you would just say 'just' once. (There, I said it twice ;-))


lol...Yeah, "Ils viennent juste de manger" seems like "They just just ate"..


A little like "they are going to go..."


Can the "juste" be supressed?


Yes it can, "ils viennent de manger" means the same, "juste" adds the idea of "only an instant ago"


Bit stumped by the apparent Americanism here. In Britain if we say "we just ate" we mean we ate and that is all we did (we only ate). Correct English is to include an auxiliary verb and use a past participle so that it says "They have just eaten". Another ugly one is "I already gave" which should be "I have already given".


I agree. DL should at least accept the present perfect version. Also the french translation is wrong in either scenario as explained above.


Yes, without context it's ambiguous and a non-American most naturally reads it as "all we did was eat". It needs context, eg "Anyone for lunch?"


I still don't quite understand it but thanks. Maybe I'll figure it out later :)


As given, ils viennent de manger should mean they have come from eating.


It's French, not English so they can have any constructions they like, regardless of our approval...


The only way I can wrap my head around this one is indeed that this quite literally translates to English as "they (have) come from eating".


yeah im confused along with facw


i hate when they teach us a word and then expect us to know every expression that involves this word even if the meaning is completely different


You guys described it perfectly, thanks :) but I still can't understand why do I have to learn about this from the comments section instead of DL introducing this structure before I have to traslate it...


I'm getting this as multiple choice, "They just ate" with these options (none of which match the 'Translation' given above):

I ls finiront de manger.

2 Ils viennent de manger. this is the only correct answer but there is no 'juste'

3 Elles travaillent juste de manger.

From the comments it just seems like this question is a bit out of sorts.


A. noun (pronoun) + venir de + infinitive = noun + just + simple past.

Therefore pronoun ils + viennent de + manger = they + just + ate (simple past)

Ils viennent de manger = They just ate

B. Ils viennent juste de manger is now offered as an alternative in the multiple choice.


Thanks NG ... these verbs that have extended meanings when followed by certain words like 'de' always give me problems the first few times I see them but you explained it well.

I think I was also expecting to see 'juste' since it was one of the words we recently learned. And now they've changed the expected translation to include that :)

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/venir.htm ... section on 'Recent Past' that covers what northernguy just explained above (for those who keep links, like myself).



Thx. I couldn't remember where I got that from so I couldn't post a link.

F.W.I.W. I got this one wrong because Duo put juste between viennnent and de. I completely missed the venir de construction because I am so linear I don't notice things unless they are waving a flag saying look here.


I get that "ils viennent de" is a specific thing, but would you NEVER use a basic past tense here? I know they haven't taught us past tense verbs yet, but if I do it correctly, wouldn't it work?


You could have: "ils ont juste fini de manger", passé composé. What think?


It asked me to translate "they just ate" and I wrote "ils ont juste mangé," it was marked as incorrect


I did the same thing and it was marked incorrect. I'm not sure if there's a subtle difference I'm missing or if this is just a mistake?



Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.