1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Le monde appartient à ceux q…

"Le monde appartient à ceux qui se lèvent tôt."

Translation:The early bird catches the worm.

December 20, 2013



Oui, mais "La deuxième souris prend le(du?) fromage" /"The second mouse gets the cheese" :-).....Willie Nelson


Le fromage reste seule. The cheese stands alone


Willie Nelson said, "the second mouse gets the cheese?" What WILL he think of next! (Never heard him sing about THAT!) :)


Because cheese is used to bait spring-loaded mouse traps. The first mouse goes for the cheese, but gets killed because it triggers the trap. This leaves the second mouse free to get the cheese. The implication is that it is not always a good thing to be the first to take advantage of a situation. For example, my grandfather once told me not to be the first person to move into the intersection on a green light just in case a vehicle from the cross direction failed to stop for the red light. This advice has saved me more than once. The adage that might fit this idea is, "Look before you leap".


Regardez avant de sauter (:


Mais il faut aussi "savoir sauter sur l'occasion", c'est-à-dire profiter d'une opportunité avant qu'elle ne disparaisse.

But you must also "know how to jump on the occasion", that is to say, to take advantage of an opportunity before it disappears.

  • 1434

Your grandfather was correct if it is a trap but wrong if it an opportunity. In the case the of an opportunity, the adage "If you're not the lead dog the view is the same" or "Second place is being the first loser" would be more appropriate.


Opportunity is never without risk. The entire idiom reminds the hearer to consider the risks and modulate their approach in order to get the most reward for the least risk. Consider the use of the word "early" contrasted to "second". The second bird is still going to get the worm. But perhaps the first bird is the one who encounters the cat, or the snake. It will probably escape, and it will warn the other birds of danger, but it is safer not to be near that situation at all. Alternatively, consider how people react to the first person to grab food at a party.


Both cases are wise..another adage perhaps is: measure the risks you take.


C'est vraiment une conception intéressante.


Just a wonderful conception


Yep,yet again why prevent the first one to look properly too?


Similar but the early bird catches the worm is to do something quickly and you are learning Spanish


Hey brazilian students/portuguese learners, I think this is the equivalent to the portuguese idiom "Deus ajuda quem cedo madruga". What do you guys think?


I'm not Brazilian, but I know a little and I'd say yes, just like in Spanish "Al que madruga Dios lo ayuda."


Can you explain the meaning of these idioms. I am still green in these languages


The literal translation would be "God helps those that get up early" and it means exactly the same as the english version, if you're the first one you will have more options.


To me the literal translation seems to mean "the world belongs to those who wake up early"...


Yes, the french literal translation would be yours indeed. What I was referring to was the spanish/portuguese version:)


Close. Se lèvent is "get up"; "wake up" is se réveillent. You can wake up early and still lie in bed for a long time :).


I assume it's because of "Le Monde" newspaper. It's delivered to your as early as possible...


'god helps those who help themselves'?


Slightly different.


Hi thanks laura . With your explain i learn it. Wish Could speak and learn more with u.


"Madrugar" could be translated to "to get up really early". Brazilians often use this verb when they get up before the sunrise.


Então.. Acho que ta mais pra algo como "o mundo é dos espertos/mais rápidos" já que a frase sugere uma habilidade e não o acaso.. Sei lá, eu achei isso..


Quem chega cedo na bica bebe água limpa hahaha


The Russian version of this also relates to God: "Кто рано встаёт, тому Бог подаёт"


I love that Duo is still providing us with new idioms, every time we refresh our skill.
It's fun to guess the meaning- sometimes easy, sometimes not. :-)


When I was taking the French course from Spanish (my native language) this idioms weren't available (there's some other things also) , it would be good that they add it as well


How about those that wake up early?

  • 1249

There is a difference between the two verbs:

  • "to get up" translates to "se lever" (i.e. get out of bed)
  • "to wake up" translates to "se réveiller" (i.e. stop sleeping). That's why it is not accepted here.


There's a difference between the two verbs on their own, but in the context of this idiom, keeping in mind that idioms usually can't be translated literally, both should work.


yeah but you can wake up but never get out of bed, ...just like Brian Wilson did...


the world belongs to those who wake up early... " those that" doesn't sound right in my opinion


Waking up is no good without actually getting up and into action.


One cannot get up and into action without first getting up in the first place.


'those who' would be better, yeah?


It is ok in English.


You can wake up early, even go to the restroom, but go back to bed and catch some more zzzzz until noon time. No, this clearly identifies those who would actually get up early and get on with things


Tôt means early, tard is late, I mix these up too ;)


maybe that's where tardy comes from


if you're a native English speaker, it might help to think of the teacher marking you "tardy" for being late. And if you're on time, that's Tôt-ally awesome.


I translated the sentence as "the world belongs to she who wakes up early," not intending to make a point, but the defining mistake was that I put "she" instead of "he," which duolingo underlined. I am a little rusty with my French, but my guess is all single pronouns would be appropriate (at least grammatically) for the english translation.


Since 'ceux' is plural, shouldn't it be 'those' or 'they'? (But yes, if we're talking singular pronouns and the gender isn't stated, both he and she should be fine.)


I think we are all "splitting hairs" See lesson 1 French Idioms


Why is there no l'ouiseau in the sentence for the bird?


Literally, the French is saying, "The world belongs to those that get up early."

The French could use this the same way we might use: "The early bird catches the worm."

No one has ever said "Le monde appartient à ceux qui se lèvent tôt." to me in France, though.


I like how the literal sentence still makes sense. Like you could say "The world belongs to those who get up early" and people would still understand what you mean. In Swedish we say "morgonstund har guld i mund/mun" which basically translates into "the morning hour has gold in it's mouth".

  • 1106

Thanks, in German it is "Morgenstund(e) hat Gold im Mund". I never associated with "the early bird" although I used it in English. I agree with the literal sentence making more sense in French. There is a place were a culture meats language. Well, in English the distinction between culture and civilizaton is lost.


Cool, it's the same thing in German! It always amazes me how similar Swedish and German are.

  • 1106

I spent a few days in Stockholm and I did not understand much. Maybe a future Duolingo project after Italian :)


Always cool to see how these idioms spread across countries. Dutch apparently has the same as German and Swedish: "Morgenstond heeft goud in de mond".


I don't think these idioms really mean the same thing. "Le monde appartient à ceux qui se lèvent tôt" sounds more like "early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise". (Maybe that's an accepted answer?) "The early bird catches the worm" means you shouldn't delay - which could mean buying plane or concert tickets today instead of waiting a month, for example.


I disagree. Healthy wealthy and wise are specific things. Both the French phrase here and the "worm" allude to some thing that one wants to get, not necessarily traits or intelligence. Plus, both the French and the "early bird" saying have an implied loser, namely, the world does not belong to those who rise late, and the late bird gets no worm, whereas "healthy wealthy and wise" has less emphasis on one who rises late. The disparity in gravity of the sayings ("the world" feels much more important than "the worm") are consequences of how they are used in specific cases.


Equally there is no bird and no worm in the French idiom. There are clearly differences and similarities between the idioms. Would be boring if they directly translated or correlated.


The early bird catches the worm


Кто рано встаёт - тому Бог подаёт. In Russian.


Who gets up early, to whom God gives/gifts (I think) Greetings from Serbia :)


What's the literal translation of this from french?


The world belongs to those who get up early.


"il mattino ha l'oro in bocca" (mornings have golden mouth) or "chi dorme non piglia pesci" (the sleepers won't catch the fish) in Italian


In Serbian we say: Ko rano rani, dve sreće grabi-Who wakes up early, catches/grabs two lucks :)


Although I can see the similarities between this English idiom and the French idiom, I still believe that the French idiom should be translated literally here. For my learning of the language and the meaning of words and the structure of sentences it would have been more useful to understand the structure and meaning of these words. The similarity to an English idiom is something that I could have established for myself later. I still love the fact that we have an idioms course though.


Literal meaning: The world belongs to those who rise early.


The early worm is catched by the bird.


"The world belongs to those that get up early"... I get that it's easier to say the early bird catches the worm but this makes literal sense so there's no need for an idiomatic translation.


I get that the French phrase is used just like English speakers use "early bird/worm" but I would prefer if Duo also talked about the meaning in French. "The world belongs to those who get up early" makes perfect sense in English and even works as an idiom. It's great to learn the French parallels to English idioms, but please also help us understand what we are literally saying so that we can learn the language in a way that allows us to use it, not just get the right answers.


I literally translate this as, "The world belongs to those who get up early."


But the second mouse gets the cheese.


Giving the idiom in english without a full french translation skips an important step in learning and understanding The world belongs to those who are early Is that correct? I cannot see the translation for


Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. (C) Benjamin Franklin


A different topic concerning this sentence: the French speaker says "a-par-ti-en'. I thought 3rd plural -ent was silent, so 'a-par-ti'. Perhaps it's the vowel before the ending, but isn't the pronunciation of (ils) oblient, 'ob-li'? Am I totally wrong, is Duo totally wrong, or is there an explanation in between?

If Duo is wrong, then I'll report a mistake of course, but I suspect there is an explanation, which I hope someone here can give to me. Thanks in advance.


Duo is correct about this one.

« appartient » comes from the verb « appartenir », meaning "to belong", and conjugates as an -ir verb. « appartient » is the 3rd singular, «appartiennent » is the 3rd plural. It is singular in this example because it is supposed to agree with «le monde » , "the world", which here refers to the world itself, and not idiomatically to everyone in it.

Let me know if you have any more questions.


so you're saying, because the world is singular, < appartenir > is conjugated to a singular il/elle/on, while < lever > is conjugated to plural ils/elles because it is an action belonging to many people?


Pretty much. We can look at the equivalent English sentence, too:

The world belongs to those who get up early.

Here, the verb "to belong" is conjugated to its singular form, "belongs", to agree with the singular subject, "the world", because "the world" is doing the belonging. "The world belong" would sound wrong, and in fact is wrong.

Similarly, the verb "to get" is conjugated to its plural form "get", to agree with the plural object, "those" - because "those" are the ones who are doing the getting up. "Those who gets" would sound wrong, and be wrong.

This agreement works in much the same way for the French:

Le monde appartient à ceux qui se lèvent tôt.

Hope that helps, let me know if there are any more questions.


I know it's a figurative translation, but I think I'd rather learn a more literal translation. It would be easier to remember the French if we were given the translation, not just the closest match phrase.


So use the literal translation. Pretty sure it works. It just isn't the closest matching idiom.


No it doesn't


The direct translation of this is "The world belongs to those who himself the wind early". It's hard to understand phrases when they have no connection to the individual meaning of words. In this case, there no worm or early bird.


Are we being taught phrases that bear the same lesson but not the same meaning as in English when translated?


The literal translation is the world belongs to those who rise early. I have no idea where you get the himself the wind out of that. This is called an 'idiom'. The meaning is in the phrase as a whole, rather than the individual words and they are mapped to the phrases in the other language most matching their meaning.


This means 'The world belongs to those who rise early'.


I think I like the French version of this better, "The world belongs to those who get up early." rather than the English expression "The early bird catches the worm." as I never understood things from the point of view of a bird...waking up early to get a worm just doesn't quite have the same appeal to me >:D


Also, I think it makes sense to give the exact translation of the phrase and then also provide the matching idiomatic expression...that would make it a lot easier to see how the words translate and then equate that to English after you can see it...


I know that its trying to teach the english equivalent of the phrase, but I'd prefer it if it gave the literal translation "The world belongs to those who rise early".


Shouldn't "lèvent" be pronounced as "lèvan" and not "lèv"?


it'not the same meaning


What is the direct translation, svp?


The Idioms of other cultures are among the more difficult things to learn. I think it would be a great idea if Duo took this opportunity to teach us the actual French idioms with their actual English translations, rather than matching it to the closest English counterpart? I don't mind doing it the way Duo is teaching, but I think we're missing out on an excellent opportunity here in learning how to think French. From what I can determine; The French here literally says: The world belongs to those who rise early. I get that. It reminds me of a Bond villain, but I get it. "The early bird catches the worm." Has a similar meaning, but similar isn't 'the same as'. The proverbial "worm" is one (1) thing, where as "the world" implies Everything*. We (English), are learning words and phrases that belong to French. We are also learning what they mean in French culture (all good), but wouldn't it be great to also understand the major idioms (like these), as well as the minor idioms (which are included in everyday French), to understand them all from the French perspective, rather than the closest English perspective?

(sorry for the long post!) :-/


"Le monde appartiente à ceax qui se lèvent tôt." Big incentive


It's "gets the worm" ! I never heard "catches" in this phrase. I can't believe Duo is an American Co. Do worms fly or birds run?

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