"That can be."
Translation:Ça se peut.
Some didn't. Most did. Those who didn't either had the advantage of serious grammar or incredible perception. I failed it, yes on my last heart (so what?) but I know it now. I even remember the street corner where a lovely Parisian corrected me. I didn't fail, I learnt and made a friend.
Getting the question wrong isn't always bad... It can get you to look at it and other problems in a different way.
This might have been Duo's way of reminding us that this is a different language and that English ordering and grammar don't always translate nicely to French. shrug
Maybe I should wait for our Aasal to answer. But just in case this query of yours doesn't get to her soon..... There are differing versions of the exercises which make up each of the topical lessons and not every one comes up for each student. So I may get a different set of tasks from you in the same lesson. If I fail the lesson and have to re-do it, I will get tasks which | didn't get the first time through. If I return to a lesson to revise, again I'll be confronted with tasks I didn't get before. Periodically, Duo will direct me to strengthen lessons I'd previously completed and again I'll have tasks which I hadn't done in that lesson before. However, we all end up here and even if we haven't done a specific task in the lesson, we can learn about it through these threads.
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I'm confused here because in the immediately preceding task (*Il se cache"), "Se" was the pronoun Himself (Herself/Themselves). Does it serve a function in this phrase at all or, as both sitesurf and northernguy have said, the phrase is an idiom and therefore wont translate word-for-word to English? (Not quite the same question pattymac60 asked).
Yes, "se" is the 3rd person reflexive pronoun: tu te laves (yourself), elle/il se promène (her/himself), on se parle (to each other)...
Giving it a second thought, ça se + verb is a kind of passive, impersonal construction:
ça se voit = it/that can be seen
ça se peut = it/that can be (done)
ça se fait = it/that is being done
I still do not understand. I do appreciate you typing and explanation, but I still have not a clue as to what purpose "se" has in this sentence as I agree with Jackjon that, whenever I have seen it used, it meant "his/her." It just seems to be filler in this sentence, and I would have no idea as to when to use it again. I guess just memorise the phrases.
There is no subjunctive. In English it is the infinitive form and in French the simple present. The context of such a sentence could be one where some one has made an hypothesis, like "et s'il était trop tard ?" (what if it were too late?) - the answer could be "ça se peut"
There is a subjunctive in English but it is used a lot less than it is in French. For example: I wish I were a doctor. This is a classic example of the past subjubctive where instead of using 'I was' it changes to 'I were'. Similarly: if I were hungry I would eat. I am not sure whether saying 'if I was hungry I would eat' would be completely incorrect to say as I know the majority of anglophones say this. I also can't think of any present tense subjunctive. But nevertheless, the subjunctive does exist in English contrary to popular belief! :)
English subjunctive does indeed exist, but it's kind of dying.
"If I were hungry, I would eat" is correct use of the English subjunctive. "If I was hungry, I would eat" (present tense) is common enough that descriptive linguists (those who say that if it sounds right to a native speaker, then that's what's now correct) would probably say it's correct, but prescriptive linguists (those who want people to "follow the rules") would say that it's wrong.
For past tense subjunctive, it's most correct to say "If I had been hungry, I would have eaten," or "Had I been hungry..." but again "If I was hungry, I would have eaten" is very common and many people accept it as correct now.
why ça instead of ce? http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/indefinite-demonstrative-pronoun.htm even states "Ce may also be followed by devoir or pouvoir + être."
Yeah, this happens often Sam_Cat. It seems to be part of Duo's method and is quite realistic if you think about it because that's how it would be learning "On the hoof" as it were in France. Here are the "Discussion threads" where we find out about new stuff's background/meanings. BTW, I noted elsewhere that the utterly reliable sitesurf mentioned this phrase equivalent to "Possibly, Maybe,Could Be" kind've expressions.
Look at these sentences; 1. That is a good idea. 2. I love books that discuss grammar thoroughly. 3. I loved the grammar book that you gave me.
That in the first sentence is a demonstrative pronoun while it's a relative pronoun in the second and the third ones.
Qui replaces that only when it's a relative pronoun, specifically one that replaces a subject as in the 2nd sentence, not a direct object as in the 3rd sentence.
For more please have a look at these; http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/relativepronouns.htm http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/relativepronouns_2.htm
@Oridagan and JonProphet. As Sitesurf says, this is an idiom and cannot be broken up word-for-word to make any sense. It is a phrase on its own and needs to be memorised for its own unique meaning. None of us could be prepared for it and without already knowing it, we're bound to fail first time. We English play the same sort of tricks; "Keeping Mum" doesn't mean looking after and providing for Mother, it means Not Saying Anything. How would anyone learning English have a clue of that?
So, maybe I'm off base on my logic, I understand that this is an idiom so the result of direct translation would be strange, but is the idea behind "Ça se peut" literally "it can be itself"? Meaning that the subject which is a previous context is defined to be "true" I.e. ? Normally you I would think you say "that can be" when is answering if something is "right" or is some sort of correlation.
Yes, your thinking is correct here. I don't know how "pouvoir" has become reflexive in this idiom but you can also use it in another form, with the impersonal expression "il se peut que + subjunctive", when you come up with a hypothesis or assumption: "il se peut qu'il pleuve demain" = it may rain tomorrow.
Basically, both are demonstrative pronouns and can be the subject of a sentence, yet:
- "ce/c'" is exclusively used as the subject of the verb "être" (c'est, ce sont) (+ only very rarely with the verb "pouvoir")
- "cela", shortened to "ça" in spoken French, can be a subject or object of any verb.
"sois" is a conjugation for "je" or "tu" in subjunctive and imperative moods.
- il faut que je/tu sois courageux (subjunctive) = I/you must be brave.
- sois courageux !(imperative) = be brave!
None of these can be used in this sentence, notably because the subject is "that/ça", which can only get a 3rd person singular conjugation.
"That can be" = ça se peut (indicative present)
Hello Wobfan. I'm not 100% on this. I do think that all idioms are fixed and apply to context. I suggest that some phrases without context default to common usage and this is what is done here. One could say what you propose but it would need a specific context. Please note that I am not 100% certain on this.