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"Elle allait sortir."

Translation:She was about to go out.

5 years ago

36 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/riclage

Why not accept "She went out"?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hohenems
Hohenems
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Because it isn't the right verb tense and doesn't convey the same meaning.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
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SO let me see if I understand we use the imperfect of "aller" with the infinitive to mean "was about to ..." Is this an expression for just sortir or does this work with other infinitives? If "allait" was without "sortir", would it then mean "went"? "Il venait d'arriver." means "He had just arrived." but "il allait sortir." means "He was about to go out." WIll I ever remember all these expressions?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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In English and in French, there are 2 extra tenses: near future and near past.

Both are built with verbal phrases:

  • near future: I am going/about to + verb = je vais + infinitive
  • near past: I just + past simple/present perfect = je viens (juste) de + infinitive

These also work in past with past perfect in English and imperfect in French:

  • I was going/about to + verb = j'allais + infinitive
  • I had just + past participle = je venais de + infinitive

Therefore,

  • "elle allait sortir" = she was about to go out (near future in past time)
  • "elle venait de sortir" = she had just gone out (near past in past time)

Variants:

  • elle allait sortir = elle était sur le point de sortir (=@on the verge of going out)
  • elle venait de sortir = elle venait juste de sortir
2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dcounts
dcounts
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I'm really glad you're here.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/barbie21144

Moi aussi!

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame
AriaflamePlus
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Or to put it another way Elle (she) allait (was going) sortir (to go out). She was going to go out. She was about to go out is a little more idiomatic and common.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/appolo1

Thanks now I get it!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/riclage

Thanks!

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnaTall

my 'she used to go out' was obviously rubbish. How would you say that in French, s'il vous plait?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
n6zs
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I believe that would be "Elle sortait."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ph516503
ph516503
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If it makes you feel any better, I put the same thing.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/semeur

I'm laughing at myself for putting the same thing. :0. Have a lingot for making me feel better!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LolaRios

Why not, "She was going out"?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/John787925

"To go out" is sortir. Your translation doesn't account for the auxiliary aller, and would be expressed as something like "elle sortait". This is "She was going to go out" (but presumably either didn't, or was interrupted by something else happening).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mattttw
mattttw
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Sure it does. "Aller" is "was going", "sortir" is "going out", put them together and remove the extraneous "going"

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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allait (imperfect) is "was going" (continuous past)

sortir (infinitive) is "to go out" (infinitive)

allait sortir = was going to go out

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/John787925

(Though I suppose you could express that as "She was going out" in English, using the progressive to mean a near-future intention: "What's she up to tonight?" "Well she was going out, but then her son came down with a fever...." But presumably Duo wants to make sure you know the differences between different tenses.)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rogercchristie
rogercchristie
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The tenses in English and French do not line up. This means that some meanings fall down the gap, but also that there is often an overlap.

We need to be sure just what we intend to communicate - for example (as JohnnyE87 said):
"She was going out - but (for some reason) didn't", or else "She was going out (on her way out) when (something else happened)". Then we must present the sentence to make the meaning clear. In speech we would emphasise "was" for the former and "going" for the latter. In writing we would clarify the meaning by ensuring we have appropriate context.

Yet again, as with many of DL's isolated sentences, we benefit from neither option, so consequently we have an ambiguity. It seems the DL authors far too often select a sentence, then think of one interpretation, and then --- well, stop thinking altogether! If this is supposed to be an exercise for novices then I'd hate to think how they would handle more advanced stuff; like me with increasing annoyance at the careless way they are presented I guess.

So what is the solution? Well to fit in with the Duolingo system perhaps such ambiguous sentences should be restricted to the "Select all correct translations" multiple choice style. That way we would have an opportunity to demonstrate that we know the differences (as JohnnyE87 puts it).

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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The English translations we list as acceptable are primarily those expressing the French meaning the more exactly.

"Elle allait sortir" is the past of "elle va sortir", which as you know is a near future. As a consequence, "elle allait sortir" exactly means "she was about to go out", as a "near future in a past time" and this translation we elected as "best" does not need any further context to express the French sentence's exact meaning.

As a consequence, the reverse exercise has "she was about to go out" for translation to the French "elle allait sortir", which works perfectly.

Again, on this course, English is our working language, not native speakers' best and idiomatic way of speaking. If a French sentence can directly translate to natural English parlance, everybody's happy. If not, the English translation, as awkward as it may look will be your mnemonic bypass to remember the French way of saying the same thing.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Stevebrereton

Is this the futur proche usage of "aller" in a past sense, so "je vais faire.".. (I'm going to do..) becomes "j'allais faire."..(I was going to do)?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/buffalump21
buffalump21
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We could do with a native speaker to help with this one I think... There are lots of questions here but not really a definitive answer.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/divaluisa
divaluisa
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What about plural, Elles allaient sortir. Is this correct?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lucy615
lucy615
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In that case there would be a liason so you would hear the S in Elles

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/barbie21144

I just tried "She was going to go out" and that was accepted. That translation makes more sense literally (allait - was going; sortir - to go out)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pfeil
pfeil
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Why can't it be "she would go out"?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Skipping.Stars

This uses the imparfait and not the conditional

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hemanttsha
Hemanttsha
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..She..sort of stepped out/or was just about to cross the boundary. . but due to some reason..had to come back..pls clarify.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JordyFarrell

Can you not use imparfait to say used to?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame
AriaflamePlus
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You can, but that's not what is being used here.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jam_fluent
Jam_fluent
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I don't think this is the pluperfect/plus-que parfait (imperfect + past participle). Is this (imperfect + infinitive) just imperfect/imparfait? Thanks

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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It is a near future.... happening in the past:

  • elle va sortir (present) = she is going/about to go out
  • elle allait sortir (imperfect) = she was going/about to go out
1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jam_fluent
Jam_fluent
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Merci bcp!!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/champguy

I have just been corrected from "she was going out" to " she was going to exit"........

2 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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"She was going out" back-translates to "elle sortait" but not "elle allait sortir".

To translate "elle allait sortir", you need 2 verbs: "to be going" in past simple, to express an upcoming action in the past and a verb like "to exit" to mean "sortir".

2 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/champguy

Thank you Sitesurf; what would we do without you? I think I was mostly shocked by the "to exit"!

2 days ago