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  5. "Boys will be boys."

"Boys will be boys."

Translation:Les garçons seront toujours des garçons.

December 14, 2013



Why is this using future tense which has not been covered yet?!


It isnt really future tense since the direct translation is more like the boys remain boys.


Well, I've learned somewhere else that "seront" is the "ils/elles" form of the future tense of être, with is irregular, so it has a different stem: "ser_". The whole conjugation would be: je serais tu seras il sera nous serons vous serez ils seront If I'm not mistaken.


There are two translations, one is using "seront" and the other is using "restent"...


And the present tense version, "Les garçons restent des garçons" is what's actually given as the answer at the top of the page, at least it is at present (03Sep14).

By the way, I googled both versions, and "Les garçons seront des garçons" seems far more common (143,000) than "Les garçons restent des garçons" (9,520)


Thank you, you all! It's nice that they've changed the standard translation for a phrase in French that makes no use of the future tense. Though the version with the future is more common, like DianaM kindly pointed out.


another, easier future tense one could use would be le futur proche, or the near future (what you describe is le futur simple, the simple future). just conjugate aller (to go) and then put the infinitive.

like, i put "Les garçons vont être des garçons." which is more literally "The boys are going to be boys." it comes more quickly to me than the simple so i use it most of the time.


the problem I had is the verb restener is not found anywhere in the suggestions for the original sentence.


In English, this isn't future tense. We tend to see any use of the word will as future but in this case it is to do with willing, or wanting.


Why not " Des garçons seront des garçons


It's an expression, just as the English is. So...not a literal translation.

Later Edit: "Les garçons seront des garçons" is also accepted.


Why is it not "Des garcons seront des garcons."


You are talking about ALL boys, so the first article must be "les", not "des".

As for the second article, compare with the sentence "All boys are cowards". That means that every boy is a coward, but there may be some other cowards as well who are not boys. So the French would use "les" for the boys and "des" for the cowards.

Now switch to "all boys are boys". It's a little harder to see, but we are still saying that the first thing mentioned is a subset of ("partakes of") the second thing mentioned. So still "les" first and then "des" second.


yes someone explain !


The first part is the entirty of boydom, as in, "all boys will be boys."

[deactivated user]

    It doesn't explain grammar rules. Idioms are fixed expressions, but they are made accordingly to grammar rules, not against them. :) In this case it is strange for me, that you can't say "des garcons seront des garcons". These are "some boys" for me, not specific boys. What is more, I think that any mix shouldn't be accepted. So either "Des garcons seront des garcons" or, if it is incorrect, then "Les garcons seront les garcons". "Les garcons seront des garcons" or "Des garcons seront les garcons" is incorrect for me, as both nouns in this sentence are of the same, general type.


    Did you read Awwami's explanation below about the role the definite article plays here and why it has to be les not des?

    [deactivated user]

      Yes, I've read it and I think that Awwami is wrong saying that his explanation explains, why DL accepts "Les garcons restent des garcons", as for me it is a situation in which "ALL boys will still be ALL boys", not "SOME boys". So it should be "Les garcons restent les garcons".


      How would you translate "these are boys"? Would it not need be ce sont des garçons? No article before boys, becomes des. Yet if it were "these are the boys" it would be ce sont les garçons.

      While Reverso is not necessarily always right, I wondered how it would translate "living things are plants and animals". I found that it seems to follow Awwami's construction: Les êtres vivants sont des animaux et des plantes even though it is all plants and all animals in general that are living things.

      Then I typed "boys will be boys" at Linguee.com and all translations followed this construction les...des

      Reverso.com also seems to agree with Awwami too.

      And here is one more for good measure: "pork is the meat we get from pigs". Now, not some pigs, but pigs in general. Translation: Le porc est la viande que nous obtenons de cochons. Why de? Because when you have de (which in this case means "from") followed by des, it becomes de. Just like de followed by les becomes des.

      So there you are.


      'All boys will be all boys' doesn't make sense. 'All boys will be boys' does. Therefore the second is 'des'.


      You are limiting the scenarios to only two. You think only of 'some boys' and 'specific boys'. You are missing 'all boys', which is the case here. 'All boys' and 'specific boys' both use 'les'.


      Can me anybody explain why "des garçons" and why not simply: "Les garçons restent les garçons."?


      First, you have to know that you need to use definite articles to talk about something in general. Ex, "apples are red" is " les pommes sont rouges"

      Second, to talk about unknown plural things, you use the indefinite article "des". Ex, " (some) men are eating the apples" is " Des hommes mangent les pommes "

      Now how would we say "the men are eating apples" or "the men eat apples". That would be " les hommes mangent des pommes " ( yes there's no difference between present simple and continuos in French )

      And then how would we say " men are eating apples " as in " some men are eating some apples ". That would be " Des hommes mangent des pommes "

      Last step would be " men eat apples " and notice that "men" here isn't like the one in " men are eating apples" because here we are talking about all men so, "men eat apples" would be " les hommes mangent des pommes"

      I hope it's clear now because " les garçons restent des garçons " is just like my last sentence. If it isn't clear, please tell me and I will try and provide further explanation.


      To me this doesn't really clarify why the second article should be "des" and not "les," given that "garçons" are being referred to the same way in both instances. The second "garçons" is also referring to boys in general, so why doesn't the rule for using "les" with the first "garçons" apply to the second – the rule being that "les" must be used when the statement is referring to a general instance of whatever the noun is? In the idiom "boys will be boys," both "boys" refer to boys in general, and that seems to be true in French as well. Am I missing something?


      Think of it in English. You wouldn't say 'all boys will be all boys' because it wouldn't make sense. You would say 'all boys will be boys'.


      I love the way you explained that.


      I gave you a lingot, but i don't know if you got my comment which was to thank you for a clear explanation of something that had been confusing me.


      Oh thank you. This makes me happy.


      This is a great explanation. I used "les" for both and I see now that the difference between some men and all men decide which article to use.Thank for your input.


      Perhaps because it's more like the boys you are referring to will be like boys (in general, not specifically). I think using les garcons would translate more like the boys will remain the boys...like these boys will never change? In summation...I do not know, but that's how I think about it.


      Please see my other comment.


      You are talking about ALL boys, so the first article must be "les", not "des".

      As for the second article, compare with the sentence "All boys are cowards". That means that every boy is a coward, but there are some other cowards as well who are not boys. So the French would use "les" for the boys and "des" for the cowards.

      Now switch to "all boys are boys". It's a little harder to see, but we are still saying that the first thing mentioned is a subset of ("partakes of") the second thing mentioned. So still "les" first and then "des" second.


      Is this an actual French idiom or is it just a translation of the English saying?


      (Native speaker here) Frankly, I've never heard anyone say it in France. Maybe in other places (?), but I don't think it is a Frenchy French idiom.


      Jfc duo it's not 1960

      • 1381

      Why not les garçons seront les garçons ?


      Awwami gives an explanation above, but I can understand why it's a bit of a tough nut to crack. Does the idiom require les and des, or should variations be accepted?

      With "les garçons seront des garçons", it's as though we're saying "all boys in general will be among the boys that exist in the world (and will act as boys in the world do)". Arguably it could also mean "the boys (that we know) will be (some of the) boys (in the world, and will act accordingly)".

      But why not "boys (in general) will be boys (in general)", i.e. "les garçons seront les garçons", if we're thinking of them in a general, all-encompassing way? It's not entirely clear. Indeed, "orders are orders" is translated by Duo as "les ordres sont les ordres":

      However, "les ordres sont les ordres" can mean "the orders (that have been given) are the orders (that have been given, and we have no choice but to follow them)", so the sense is not necessarily a general one; it could be specific. That begs the question, perhaps, of why we couldn't also think of "les garçons" as indicating a specific set of boys that will always remain as they (specifically) are, again using "les" in both halves of the expression, but then it doesn't quite match the English "boys will be boys".

      There's also an argument for "des garçons seront des garçons", as a simple pluralization of "un garçon seront un garçon" ("a boy will be a boy"). In that respect, see Sitesurf's comment on the question of "happy employees are good employees" (which works with the pattern of les/des as well as des/des):

      I haven't answered your question definitively, but perhaps the further discussion will help somewhat.

      Edit: I have further thoughts of mice and men here and here, and ion1122's comments also shed light on the matter.

      • 1381

      Amazing answer! Thanks. Have a lingot.


      You are talking about ALL boys, so the first article must be "les", not "des".

      As for the second article, compare with the sentence "All boys are cowards". That means that every boy is a coward, but there are some other cowards as well who are not boys. So the French would use "les" for the boys and "des" for the cowards.

      Now switch to "all boys are boys". It's a little harder to see, but we are still saying that the first thing mentioned is a subset of ("partakes of") the second thing mentioned. So still "les" first and then "des" second.


      It's a passable analogy, but the rationale doesn't exactly fit, because whereas there may be cowards that aren't boys, there are no boys that aren't boys, which is where the main problem arises.

      In the end we might just have to accept the phraseology to be a matter of idiom, even if it follows the pattern of the sort of sentence in your "cowards" example.

      However, I think we get a little closer to the meaning of "des" in this expression if we relate it to the fact that "Of Mice and Men" is translated as "Des souris et des hommes". Boys will always be "of boys": they will have the characteristics of boys, they will demonstrate the behavior of boys, they will act according to the preferences of boys, etc.


      PeaceJoy, I think we are saying much the same thing. Consider, for example, "All men are boys". I think it is fairly easy to see that here the French needs "les" the first time and "des" the second time.

      Now let's consider two definitions of boys. B1 = people who are biologically boys. B2 = people who are boys in spirit. I think one can see that B1 is a subset of B2.

      We are dealing here with an aphorism or adage that involves a sort of play on words. We are saying: "B1s will be B2s". So again the pattern called for in the French is "les" followed by "des".


      I think that's a good way of looking at it, and I think between us we've fleshed out the idiom pretty well.

      I'll just add that I've also found the example "le vin est du vin", "wine is wine", where it's pretty hard to put something else in the first position, like in "all men are boys", but it's still consistent with the general idea that we're getting at, i.e. the "partaking of the qualities of" sense, or the "des souris et des hommes" sense.


      When i touch on "will" it came up with vouloir, so i put "les garçons veulent être les garçons". It was marked as wrong but it feels a bit mislead


      When I first learned this I could swear it used to accept les or des. Does it make a difference


      Please take a moment to read the thread as the answer to your question is very well explained by Awwami. You will find reading the thread before asking a question sometimes saves you the trouble of having to ask.


      How does one know when to use "les" at the beginning of a sentence?


      It helps to read all the posts before asking a question. Hence the warning to avoid adding clutter. This has already been explained up-thread so please refer to previous posts for the answer. .


      No fair: We haven't had future tense yet nor have we been introduced to this sense of "rester." We won't mention the tricky use of les...des. Foul!


      Why not "Les garçons vont être des garcon"


      That^^ is correct. It was the answer I got when I mistakenly used veulent (want) instead of vont (go). My sentence was rewritten exactly as you have yours, dcesarfr1.


      Except that the correct answer given by Duo was 'Les garçons vont être des garçonS.' But yes, I too got tripped up by the use of 'veulent' instead of 'vont'.


      Aha! Nice catch 1046278536!

      I really need to be more attentive to detail! I cannot tell you how many hearts I lose because I overlook articles or because I miss a letter or because, in haste, I mistype a word. Humility I think is what I need. I seem to get so excited when I think I know an answer that my head swells so much--a change that somehow seems to affect my vision and focus. LOL


      My experience exactly! ; )


      Les garçons vont être des garçons?


      DL says "les garçons seront des garçons" is acceptable. In this case, is "des" a contraction of "de" and "les"? If so, why? If not, why is the first article definite ("les") and the second ("des") indefinite?


      Oops. I guess my search on the page was too specific. thanks PJP.

      But I really don't get it. This goes in the idiom pile for me.


      That seems like a reasonable place for it.


      Or they can take responsibility for their actions.


      the phrase is "boys will be boys" NOT boys will ALWAYS be boys. "toujours des" is unnecessary and ridiculous-- People do not speak that way!


      And you speak on the French with what authority? Sometimes it is best to keep mum or ask a question than to rant about an idiomatic expression that you clearly know little about. ALWAYS is not needed in English. But in French, the idiomatic way of saying the English phrase is with toujours.


      Toujours does not always mean always. Anyway, these cute ways of saying things are called idioms because the meaning of them is not a composite of the meanings of the individual words. 'Boys will be boys' is not a direct translation of 'Les garçons seront toujours des garçons' but it is what English people would say in the same situation.

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