"Plus tard, ils regardaient la télévision."

Translation:Later, they were watching television.

January 10, 2013

61 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eunoia

How do you distinguish "il regardait" from "ils regardaient"? They both sound the same to me.

January 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bucko

There is no pronunciation difference. In reality there will be a context to the sentence which will allow you to distinguish whether it is 'il regardait' or 'ils regardaient' but on Duolingo it's just a guessing game really

January 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1755

For a "type what you hear" exercise, "plus tard, il regardait la télévision" will be accepted. It has now been added to the list of homophones but it will take a while for staff to act on it.

June 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShahriarAl

It's still not added. Is there a way to contact a mod directly?

July 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/valleygirl69

it was just this kind of problem that eventually made me turn off robo girl. These kinds of problems went away! Whew!

June 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jezza11

As I understand it from my French class, the two are ALWAYS indistinguishable in sound, even to a French person. We can only differentiate when there is some context. Therefore it's DL that forgot to mark the second one correct. IMHO

July 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SophieConn

What's wrong with 'later, they watched television'?

July 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/adalinae

No idea. I just got wrong on the same thing. It's the imperfect tense, which is often translated as "was -ing" in English, but doesn't have to be except in certain contexts. I think it should be reported.

September 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1755

You would use Passé composé for that. Lacking any context to push the translation in another direction, use the continuous past here: "were watching". https://languagecenter.cla.umn.edu/lc/FrenchSite1022/FirstVERBS.html

June 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hemanttsha

Later, they were watching the television. How can it be wrong.

April 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JasnaHup

"watching television" is a fixed expression for watching TV program, so you shouldn't put "the" before television In French, however, you should put "la" before "télévision"

June 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/truddles

i think.... ils regardaient la TV really means ,"They were watching TV" Whereas, "Ils ont regarde la TV" (sorry, i can't put an accent on the e) actually means, "They watched TV"

July 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wuzizname

Isn't "They were watching" and "They watched" the same thing?

July 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/adalinae

Not in all contexts, but here I think both are fair answers because there is no context.

September 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Don161616

Not quite. "They watched" tells us that they have completed their action. "They were watching" does not.

February 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lyndsieb07

"Later, they were watching television." does not make sense in English. "Later" is for a time in the future whereas "were watching" is in the past...

August 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Don161616

At 7 p.m. last night, they were eating dinner. Later, they were watching television.

February 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/reichdalmeida1

"Later, they'd watch TV"# (Duolingo) The "right" DL translation in my example was: "Later, they'd watch TV." As a phrase it's rather weird (1)"They'd" is equivalent to "they had"? No, since the tense would come as "watched".; (2) "They would"? Unlikely as the tense does not fit with the French phrase. I tried: " (..) watched TV" which did not work; (... had watched TV) that was received the same way, BUT I am under the impression that it has been accepted some time ago. In the end, even after trying to skip the Duolingo choice 4 times, one has to write the chosen answer just to escape the software loop. A bit nonsensical.

June 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1755

First, the contraction "they'd watch" means "they would watch", referring to a habitual action in the past. This contraction is something that the computer inserts because it is unaware of the confusion over had vs. would. This is why the moderators encourage users to avoid contractions although many are accepted. The issue has developed over the clamoring for accepting answers which include all manner of contractions. So be careful what you ask for because you might get it. And when it is delivered, it may not be exactly what you had in mind.

June 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/luiz.calixto

Differentiate 'regardait' and 'regardaient' seems to be a good future upgrade!

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1755

It's not possible. They are homophones. I have added "il regardait" to the list for "type what you hear" exercises but it will take staff a while to act on it.

June 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hemanttsha

If duo asks to translate 'la télévision' ..it will simply mean- the television.

April 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1755

"Watching television" is idiomatic English. One does not generally say "watching the television.

June 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Don161616

Yes, "watching television" means watching the shows that are playing on the TV. The other implies a reason such as "He was watching the television to see where the smoke is coming from."

February 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

I picture people sitting in the living room. The set is turned off, but they're just sitting there watching "the" television. ;)

March 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/divaluisa

Duo's translation is "they'd watch" In English "they would watch" This is definitely conditional.

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SuzanneNussbaum

There is more than one "would," in English. The conditional one is only when giving a hypothetical situation (that looks to the future: it's hypothetical and not factual, because it hasn't happened yet): "They would punish him if he does it again," or "If he killed the hostages [If he should kill the hostages], they would put him to death ." (Sorry for the violent imagery!) But there is also the "would" that is used as an auxiliary verb to express habitual action in the past; this is the one that corresponds to the French imperfect: "Every summer, we would go to my grandmother's house in the country for six weeks."

August 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaisonBug

Without context surely this could also be 'later he was watching television'

June 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1755

Never, because what you have is an English translation where "he" will not be confused with "they". In a "type what you hear" exercise, "ils regardaient" and "il regardait" are homophones. I have added it to the list for this exercise. In the meantime, if you are listening in French, then speak in French.

June 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aussie3931

'Plus tard il regardait la télévision.' Context: Judge: 'What was he doing at the time of the murder?' Witness: Well, from 8pm until 9pm he was eating dinner in his dining room. Later, he was watching television'. This translation of the spoken French sentence is not accepted 6 July 2017.

July 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1755

What you say is perfectly natural and correct. The problem is the "type what you hear" exercise which had not been programmed to accept "il regardait la télévision" as a homophone. I have added it, but it will take a while for staff to act on it.

June 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fleurdeletre

How would you translate, "Ils ont regardé la télévision" then?

June 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/managerx

"They watched the television."

August 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

Seriously, you don't watch "the" television. You just watch television.

March 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/divaluisa

Duo's translation is "they'd watch" In English "they would watch" This is definitely conditional.

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1755

It's part of the confusion that comes with using "would". It may be conditional...but it may also refer to a habitual past action. They would go to the beach every Saturday (refers to a habitual past action).

June 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/divaluisa

Duo's translation is "they'd watch" In English "they would watch" This is definitely conditional.

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SuzanneNussbaum

Not conditional, but habitual. "Every day, they would wait for the ships to come in." Equivalent to "they used to wait."

August 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

Suzanne, Thanks for explaining this here and in your fantastic earlier post on this thread. Our native English speakers seem to have a difficult time with this verb "would". In addition to your previous post, Wikipedia gives a good overview of English modal verbs. In a nutshell, "would" has other uses beyond the conditional voice. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_modal_verbs

March 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hanalearnsfrench

This sentence is grammatically incorrect in English. It should be "Later, they will watch television", or even "Lately, they were watching television."

December 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1755

I'm sure that if you spend some time thinking about it, you will come to understand that "later" may be used for a time reference for an action that occurred in the past as well. It is "later" in regard to some other action that is not mentioned here.

June 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TonyeoMundo

I just put: later, they watched tv, and it was accepted.

January 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DonnaWallis

Would a native speaker please give a satisfactory answer to this? Ils regardent = they watch OR they are watching so surely ils regardaient = they watched or they were watching?

May 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1755

Sorry for the long delay, Donna. Tense mapping between French and English is not direct. French present tense is usually translated as EN Present Simple or Present Continuous. But under some circumstances, there are other possibilities.

For FR imparfait tense, it is most commonly translated as a habitual action in the past or an action in progress in the past. There are other possibilities for the imperfect tense, too. To dig a little deeper on the imperfect tense, open this link for an excellent comparison of imperfect and Compound Past: https://languagecenter.cla.umn.edu/lc/FrenchSite1022/FirstVERBS.html

June 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dcday7
  • 1145

Is it also correct to say, "later, they did watch TV"?

September 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1755

No, not at all. Please review the other comments on this page where it is explained.

June 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohannesMiones

It says "later" how come this is included in the past imperfect? I guess this should be in the future tense or am I overlooking some English grammar rules.

October 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1755

It is only that "later" may be used in reference to a previous action that occurred in the past. Its use is not limited to the future -- it all depends on the point of reference. Last Saturday, we went to the museum. Later, we stopped and got ice cream. The action of getting ice cream happened after we had gone to the museum but both actions were in the past.

June 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EmmaJacque7

The suggested 'correct solution' it gave me was "later, they would watch the television", but isn't that a different tense? I think that would be 'conditionnel' but I'm not sure.

June 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1755

"They would watch" refers to a habitual action in the past here. Yes, it is confusing that "would" may also be used conditionally. That's why one needs to be careful when using "would".

June 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TaylorBelfort

Surely the word, "Later" implies the sentence is in the future tense so why is the imperfect past tense used and not future.

December 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

Please read the post first. This question has already been answered a number of times.

March 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/potatoboi2000

telly should be a synonym for television

March 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShahriarAl

25th July 2019 Audio exercise still doesn't accept "il regardait".

July 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/franceorbust2

explain the past imperfect - this translation sounds like future tense

October 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/neverfox

How does "were" sound like the future tense? Are you referring to the fact that it's proceeded by "later"? That only means that it occurred after some other event in the past, not that it's in the future.

October 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

Franceorbust2- Who are you ordering to do your bidding?

March 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LinkFreeman

This is completely gramatically incorrect according to the English language, whoever made this sentence needs to go back to elementary school.

April 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/draquila

Could you actually point out the error instead of just insisting it's wrong? Because I don't see any problems.

May 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hanalearnsfrench

The problem is the inconsistency of the past and future time frame "Later" and "they WERE".

December 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mottaise

Acting as devil's advocate, here'a a scenario: 'I tried to have a quiet word with them last night but there was no chance during dinner and later they were watching television.'

July 15, 2016
Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.