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  5. "Elle est aux toilettes."

"Elle est aux toilettes."

Translation:She is in the restroom.

January 15, 2013

206 Comments
This discussion is locked.


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

This one is particularly awkward. If you really want to be detailed on where she is sitting, you would say "elle est sur le siège des toilettes" (on the toilet seat). Otherwise, "elle est aux toilettes" means that the is using the toilet/bathroom/washroom.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/deldar182

Why isn't it "toilette" singular?


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

"toilette" when singular means the act of washing: "il fait sa toilette" (he is washing).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LXXR7

why is it aux toilettes not dans les toilettes? still can't figure out precisely when to use a vs dans


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andrea821073

When or if you do manage to work out why its aux and not dans le, let me know too, cheers. My guess is that in english we could say "she is in the toilet" we could also say "she is at the toilet" suppose its very similar en francais.


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

Many closed places like a restaurant, museum, library, or bathroom can use "à" or "dans". The latter is only more precise, like "in the restaurant" vs "at the restaurant".


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

As a native speaker of British English I have never come across "at the toilet" meaning to use the toiilet, but I have come across "at (his/her) toilet" meaning "to wash" BrE/"to wash up" AmE. Is this what you meant?


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

Why "She is in the restroom" wrong?


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

I suspect because "restroom" is only really used in the USA. In most other English-speaking countries it's washroom or bathroom. I'm Canadian and "restroom" is used very rarely, and only on some public signage - not in everyday speech.


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

The “restroom” is actually very frequently used in Vancouver — the word that is. ;-)

(Big country, Canada. Go West, megaface, and you’ll hear regional linguistic variants.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RichardHic13

in English bathroom is only normal usage in a house where there would be a bath in the same room as a toilet


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

'bathroom' is commonly used in Australia. my favourite response to when someone asks if they can use the bathroom is "its just down the hall, but if you are going to do a poo, I'd prefer you use toilet!"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David221540

surely restroom means bedroom, a room to rest.


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

Because it is plural form, so needs to be restrooms


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

Nope. The correct form is plural in French, singular in English. If "restroom" wasn't accepted, it would be because it wasn't on the (apparently endless) list of possible correct answers.


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

Wouldn't "elle est au toilette" mean she's in the toilet?


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

"les toilettes" (feminine) is always plural to mean "the toilet".


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

You can but it would be more precise with "dans la cuvette" (bowl).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marie282520

The timed exercise sticks and does not register that I am clicking away at it. It's just will not advance. However when not on timed, it advances very easily. Today is not the first time this problem arose doing times practice. I wonder if others are having trouble with that. I spent 5 seconds at least trying to enter my answer and then more seconds to advance the program to the next question.


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

...ladies/loo (ONLY in England itself PLS)/little girls' room/littlest room/heads(nautical)/lavatory etc. etc. etc. etc. We are ridiculous ! N'est pas ? And NO this is NOT toilet humour ! I am serious.


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

What do you think of: "au petit coin"?


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

Why is Duo so resistant to 'loo'? I was half tempted to take a photo of the printed sign in the loo on the Eurostar the other week to prove to them that this is what everyone calls it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

It might be what you call it, it might be what I call it (I'm Australian) but it's definitely not what everyone calls it! Duolingo is written by Americans, predominately for Americans. "Loo" is also very colloquial, so I'm not sure it's a good translation for « les toilettes », even though we can call the toilet "the loo".


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

To me the word bathroom conjurs up a picture of a room with a bath (tub), which may or may not have a loo in it. There is in fact a definition of the word loo in MerriamWebster so, whilst being a BE word it is clear that it is not unknown in the US.


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

In my country it's no more colloquial and more universally acceptable than 'bathroom' to mean lavatory.


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

I thought you might have gone with "the dunny"! My Irish origins blessed me with "the jacks", which I think derives from the older, English, "the jakes". I'm no expert on etymology, but I would not mind betting the French are involved there somewhere (Jacques).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

From the Macquarie dictionary:

  • loo /lu/, n. Colloq. a toilet
  • toilet /ˈtɔɪlət/, n. 1. a disposal apparatus of any type used for urination and defacation, esp. a water-closet. 2. a room or booth fitted with a water-closet or urinal, often with means for washing face and hands. 3. the act or process of dressing, including bathing, arranging the hair, etc. 4. -> toilet set. 5. the dress or costume of a person; any particular costume: toilet of white silk. 6. Surg. the cleansing of the part or wound after an operation, esp. in the peritoneal cavity. Also, toilette /twa'lɛt/ for defs 3 and 5. [F toilette, diminutive of toile cloth. See toil]
  • bathroom /'baθrum/, n. 1. a room fitted with a bath or a shower (or both), and sometimes with a toilet and washbasin. 2. a. a room fitted with a toilet. b. a toilet.

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

If it were written by Americans for Americans then the word 'bathroom' would be allowed as an answer. Most Canadians say bathroom or washroom. Using the word toilet is considered impolite, (that's just what we say here/don't say in Canada).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sue444098

Here in the Northeast USA The word "bathroom" is rarely used in mixed company. We feel it is not a polite word so we will say powder room, rest room, mens room or ladies room normally.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichelLemo932387

Why say "loo"?

A common folk etymology is that the word comes from the exclamation gardyloo, from French garde à l'eau "mind the water!", used when emptying dirty water or slops out of a window onto the public sidewalk or street.


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

love it ! can't think of anything except 'spend a penny' but that's reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelly old


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

In the little corner? :-)


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

You can use loo in Scotland too. And Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Channel Islands etc too, I suspect.


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

Yes, I hear it here in Vancouver. Use the term, too, sometimes. Never had anyone not understand me.


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

Hi, CB

You missed out 'going to the bog'.

I can remember back at school (back while the Earth was still cooling) Bogside in Ireland was in the news every night - and some 12-year-old wag put forward a suggestion for the next school debate, viz: 'Bogside homes are rather LAV-ish'.

:)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LesleyPugh1

We also say for ladies ... "in the powder room" ...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/puppy7989

For some rather colourful euphamisms, and definitely TMI, take a peek here http://www.yelp.co.uk/topic/london-different-ways-of-saying-im-going-to-the-loo-can-we-hit-50

Back to on/at and sur/au - The visuals that come up depending on the individual's native language are quite interesting.

If I were to say She is on the toilet - I just think of her as being in the bathroom, sure, I know she's not having a shower, but there is no image of her sitting anywhere in particular - it is just an expression to convey something. A native french speaker hearing Sur la toilette would possibly, without thinking, briefly have an image of someone standing on the toilet. They are accustomed to hearing aux toilettes

She is on the toilet is like She is on the phone, which I learned the hard way many years ago is not Elle est sur le telephone To all the french people around me, the mental picture was Carol, my host Mum, actually sitting or standing on her phone. There are many lovely images so created when direct translations are used - I love it.


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

Not where I come from and I suspect you are in a minority there. She is in the toilet [lavatory/loo] or she has gone to the toilet but 'she is on the toilet' is something most of us only use in relation to small children or someone who is very frail needing help. It wouldn't be good manners.


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

So how do you say, "she is on the telephone" correctly?


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

Elle est au téléphone.


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

Is there a more formal word for bathroom or is "toilettes" formal? If so, what is the informal word?


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

"les toilettes" is the formal word.

A nice informal phrase is "le petit coin".

There are of course a few other less nice ways you could hear but should not say, like "les chiottes".


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

how would you say "Which lesson are you on?" I wrote "quelle leçon êtes-vous?" but that is "which lesson are you?" Where should I put the "a la" in a question?


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

à quelle leçon êtes-vous ?

I think...


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

That makes sense. I've seen it before, but when I tried to write it, I couldn't think of a way. Thanks.


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

The page you linked is hilarious!!! Made my day!


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

perchée sur la lunette peut-être?


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

Your French is improving by the day, Gavier!


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

Merci :-) Je me debrouille..


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

Did anyone try 'She is powdering her nose"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

Idioms is one thing but euphemisms is something else entirely!


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

I don't have any problem with the idea of "les toilettes" referring to a public restroom, but, just to be quite clear, do I correctly understand that one would still use that term even when referring to a bathroom in a private home, where, presumably, there would only be one toilet?


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

Yes, that's right, private or public, single booth or several, it is always "les toilettes".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jchandler14

This could also mean she's in the the bathroom (she's at the bathroom) right? I feel like that would be more "appropriate"


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

in american yes. But the literal translation of bathroom into french is "salle de bain" which is used for a room at home with a shower or a bath, but would never be used for the toilets in a restuarant / office /mall.


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

"Salle de bains" is better.


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

It gives Loo when you hover but then marks it wrong. Get your act together Duolingo


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shahrazad26

If toilettes means toilet, why does eau de toilette mean perfume? Toilet water?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

The Wikipedia article on eau de toilette explains at the bottom:

In this context, "toilette"/"toilet" has its older meaning of personal grooming; the name pre-dates the modern sense of "toilet", which was originally euphemistic.


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

"un parfum" and "une eau de toilette" are not interchangeable, because the formula is different. "Un parfum" has a higher alcoholic content than "une eau de toilette".

In between, you can also get "une eau de parfum".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

The article I linked to explains the typical concentrations of the five(!) types of fragrance. In everyday speech we call all of them perfume, even though it's not technically accurate.


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

Same for us, and it is also a way of not revealing how much you paid for it!


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

@ Shahrazad26 In British English yes, toilet water (as in at her toilette, rather than anything to do with loos) is another expression for eau de toilette.


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

because it was the first question (so I can just restart) I tried 'she's in the loo' just for the hell of it, but DL doesn't accept it. In fact it is far more often used than toilet - which hardly anyone ever says these days.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/puppy7989

I don't think "loo" is widely used in North America; mainly UK and Australia.

Interestingly I would say "IN the loo", but I would say "ON the toilet" never "IN the toilet" as DL suggests. To me this would mean they are IN the toilet (actually in the bowl itself). Loo can refer to the room so sounds OK with IN.

Maybe its a regional thing. Guess I'll be swimming in the bowl next time this question comes around - one has to go to great lengths to avoid losing a heart!


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

LOL - I know, some of the ridiculously unnatural phrases I've put down to keep my hearts make me wince, but hearts are important!!


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

It's regional. In an office setting I would say "in the toilet" rather than "on the toilet". It is a nicer image, a person "in the toilet" could be washing their hands rather than siting with their pants down.


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

What's wrong with 'she is in the WC


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BLYNN8

I agree. WC is used in Paris, Normandy, Lyons, Provence, and Quebec, even though the "W" is rarely used in French otherwise.


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

How would the sentence be constructed using WC?


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

elle est au WC (pronounced double-Vé Cé, or Vé-Cé) - this assumes that "water closet" is masculine.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/epikdude360

that could also mean "she is in the toilets"


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

Yes. Quite common to say that in the UK. Obviously doesn't mean she is inside the toilet as some people from other parts of the world seem to think lol ! Some people say in the bathroom even if there is no bath. Most houses have the toilet in the bathroom/shower room etc etc


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

Strange...when in France asking for 'les toilettes' noone ever showed me the bathroom:-) This is my question: how do you make the difference between ' elle est aux toilettes' and 'elle est dans la salle de bain'? The same applies to English.


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

It very much depends where you are and how the place is equipped (toilettes à l'intérieur de la salle-de-bain?).


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

Eau de toilette is a lightly scented cologne used as a skin freshener. The term toilette/toilet used in this context describes the process of washing and personal grooming. Eau de toilette is also referred to as "aromatic waters" and has a high alcohol content.


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

I wrote, “washroom”. Petite Prof. Duo said, “bathroom” - and said my answer was incorrect. Bathroom. Washroom. They’re the same thing - WC. No?


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

"Washroom" is accepted in translation. Wasn't there a typo somewhere in your sentence?


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

Why not 'to the toilet'?


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

Do you mean, "She is to the toilet"? Not English, I'm afraid. It's just not how we say it.


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

I find that "a" (with an accent) is best translated as "at" as a first step. That gives you the meaning, then if the sentence doesn't read as good English change it to in/to as needed. Elle va a Paris - She is going at (to) Paris. Elle est a Paris - she is at (in) Paris.


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

when is used -aux toilettes- instead of au toilette: i mean why it is in plural?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

Calling the toilet the "bathroom" is a pet peeve of mine. I find the idea of going to the toilet in the bathroom disgusting (where would you go? In the bath, shower or basin?), just as taking a bath, having a shower or washing your hands in the toilet would be! Apparently, Americans are too squeamish to say "toilet"! So when the only way to make a correct sentence was "She is on the toilet" (which is how I would naturally say it) I just had to chuckle at the thought of some poor American being forced to say it that way!


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

Well when you buy a house ask that the toilet is not in the bathroom. Unfortunately most houses have a toilet in the bathroom ! Not like the old days when you had to go outside and do your business like normal folk !


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

When I redesign this house I live in, the toilet and basin will definitely be in a different room from the shower/bathtub. I look forward to uninterrupted baths.

Actually, I can't for the life of me understand why this practice has fallen out of use.


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

I spent a few months living with a not-so-great variation of this when I was in my early 20s. It was in an old house that had been converted into several apartments, and while I had my own (tiny) kitchen, I shared the rest of the facilities with the other tenant on my floor. We had a decent-sized bathroom with a big clawfoot bathtub and pedestal sink - very nice. And then we had a toilet room. Just a toilet in a closet, really - no sink or anything else. So after you were done, you had to leave that room and go into the bathroom next door to wash your hands. Or, if the other tenant was having a bath, you'd have to go back to your apartment to do so. Extremely unsanitary! I took to carrying a package of baby wipes around with me, and made sure to always give the doorknob a good wipedown too, since I had no way of knowing if the other tenant and her guests were using wipes as well or just touching things with unwashed hands until they made it to a sink. I found the whole thing pretty horrifying. You idea sounds much nicer!


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

Yes, it seems to me that the basin is more necessary in the toilet room than the bathroom, but if people want a basin to, say, shave in, or wash out their socks, perhaps one in each room would be a possibility.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

My parents' house, which is the one I grew up in, has four toilets. In the original part of the house there is a toilet (containing only a toilet) and a separate bathroom, containing a bath, a basin and a shower. There is also a toilet, a basin and a shower in the tiny ensuite off the original master bedroom.

My parents had an extension built onto the house. In the extension is a toilet with its own basin. The new master bedroom is in the extension and has a large ensuite with a toilet, a basin and a shower (and walking room!).

So, my parents have four toilets, two in toilets and two in bathrooms. Where the toilets are in the bathrooms, the bathrooms contain showers but not baths! The only bathroom in the house that contains a bath does not contain a toilet!

All of this is perfectly understandable to an Australian without any further explanation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/leibniz1646

CJ Dennis, did they live in a motel? ;)


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

If I could have the toilet down the bottom of the garden I would. Out of the house. I wouldn't want my pet dog going in the house.


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

This is pretty normal in summer cottages in Finland. It's a nice idea until it rains / is freakishly cold (as summers can be in Finland) / it's dark outside (as it gets at night even in parts of Finland, towards the end of the summer). There's a reason people don't have outhouses in places they live all year round -- imagine going across the garden when it's -30 degrees Celsius.


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

A ghastly perspective indeed! ;-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stefan873422

I don't mind, indeed I welcome, the practice of our North American cousins saying 'bathroom' 'restroom' etc., but it's killing our British identity when sell-outs here label British edifices with Americanisms: 'train station' (instead of 'railway station'), 'restroom' (instead of 'lavatory' or 'toilets'). A number of British actors are asked to play British characters yet pronounce duplicate 'doo-plicate' rather than 'dju-plicate' and duped as 'dooped' rather than 'djuped' – do you want the authentic accent or not!? And don't get me started on 'route' pronounced as 'rout'. What the blazes?


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

If you welcome the practice why do you resent the labels?!


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

"Apparently, Americans are too squeamish to say "toilet"! " What amuses me it the poster above who stated that in their part of the USA it is now impolite to use the word "Bathroom" when they mean toilet, and they use a euphemism for the euphemism...


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

Oh puh-leeze. You do realize that "lavatory" is a euphemism as well? Or has the British school system also given up teaching Latin roots?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/STEPHEN244553

lighten up, life is too short


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

The grammar explanation says specific locations use dans, unspecific use à. As specific they give 'le restaurant' and 'ma chambre'.

Why would 1) the tinier, more specific 'les toilettes' make use of à (aux), 2) DuoLingo pretend this isn't directly contradicting their explanation page and 3) not even saying anything about it?

Bonus question 4) why is no-one else complaining?


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

You can say "aux toilettes" (overall place, one or several booths) and "dans les toilettes" (in a booth).

"dans" suggests that you are "in/inside" a closed place, from a museum to a car.

"à" is used for both static positions and movements: je vais au restaurant, je suis au restaurant.

Bonus answer: learners ask questions, help others with their own knowledge and give comments on the language or cultural background.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cupcakegirl5643

Could another translation be "Elle est dans le salle de bains?"


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

Remember: there is no bathtub or shower in "les toilettes".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

No, that mean she's in the room with the bath, not the room with the toilet. These are different concepts to the French and some Anglophones, such as Australians and the British. Most Americans use "bathroom" to mean both rooms.


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

It seems that Americans are particularly coy about bodily functions --- they even take/let their dogs out so that they can "go to the bathroom" with never a bath tub or toilet in sight!


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

in a house, yes. At an office / mall where the toilets don't inlcude a shower or bath, no.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ArnoldCohe1

the first time in Paris, after high school, I asked un policier where I could fine a bathroom. He looked long and hard at me, then in a moment of inspiration said " Ah, le pissoir" while putting his white gloved hand down to fly of his dark blue uniform be sure he was communicating! I'm sure everyone within a mile could see what I was asking about!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TomJones401558

When I was young, the accepted term was lavatory; itself a euphemism for water closet, derived from the French term for "washhouse" from lavage - wash. The Americans brought in their delicate term, toilet, which had hitherto referred to personal grooming, as the fashionable next euphemism. This has now become embedded in the language as the term for the porcelain item itself and the space in which it is housed. And now that it is so universally recognised, our squeamish US cousins can't bring themselves to use it any longer, so are now imposing "bathroom" What will they come up with next - the Aquatic Facility?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ArnoldCohe1

It is just not that difficult. In the US-a large English speaking country whose version of the language is used as standard by Duolingo, the term Bathroom is common, widely accepted usage for both a room with a bath/shower/toilet or any part of combination of them. While "toilet" is used, it is most often in reference to the actual porcelain appliance rather than the room containing it. Even in public places where a variety of signs may be used, when verbally referred to, the overwhelming number of Americans use "bathroom". This is no different than the countless examples in French, German, etc. etc. where the American learner is simply told-that is the way it is, learn it, get used to it.


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

Different Regions either UK or anywhere else has their own name bout loo/ toilet/ bathroom...


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

In Canada, it's a washroom.


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

Or bathroom or restroom. I hear all three here in Vancouver. (Although, being close to the border, we may have absorbed some American usages.) Just don't say "toilet". Sorry, but that's just too direct for us!


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

When "il est aux toilettes" they have he is on the toilet (bathroom). What is the difference with her?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marren.bin

So "dans" and "aux" are interchangeable??


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

In this case "dans les toilettes" and "aux toilettes" mean the same thing.


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

"dans" has a more physical sense of "inside", a (au, aux) primarily means at, but sometimes the English is better as "in" or "to".

Je suis a la banque - I am at the bank (which could include standing outside at the ATM, or just the parking lot).

Je suis dans la banque - I am in the bank (specifically inside the building)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ngan.T

Can anyone help me to quickly distinguish "en", "dans" and "au". They all mean "in". So confusing but I know there should be a rule.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

« Elle est aux toilettes » could be either "She is in the toilet" (in the room) or "She is on the toilet" (sitting on the device). Prepositions are tricky to translate because they are often idiomatic in each language and don't translate exactly. A gloss of the French sentence would be "She is at the toilets".

  • « à » - at, in. « Je suis à Paris » - "I am at/in Paris"
  • « dans » - in, into, inside. « Je suis dans le train » - "I am in/inside (on) the train"
  • « en » - in, to, by. « Je suis en France » - "I am in France"; « Je vais en France » - "I am going to France"

Note how the idiomatic form "on the train" doesn't match the French form « dans le train » - "inside the train", which actually makes more sense.

« à » combines with « le », « la » and « les » to form the following:

  • « à » + « le » = « au »
  • « à » + « la » = « à la »
  • « à » + « les » = « aux »

« dans » requires an article if you would normally use one and no article is used with « en ». So you can't say *« dans train » or *« en la France ».


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

nice response. I think of "en" as "within" which has less connotation of a small space than "dans"/"inside". It makes sense to say "I am within France" more than "I am inside France"


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

So you do have a French keyboard with our nice guillemets, then?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

No, I wish I did! I've got a multilingual keyboard on my phone, but unfortunately, the only thing it seems to be missing in French are the guillemets!

On my computer I have to type [Alt]+([0],[1],[7],[1]) for «, [Alt]+([0],[1],[8],[7]) for » and [Alt]+([0],[1],[6],[0]) for a non-breaking space to prevent orphaned guillemets.

What I usually do is type «  », then copy it before typing French into it. Then every time I need another French word or phrase, I paste the guillemet sequence and go back and edit it.

I have installed a French keyboard driver on my computer but I don't know where the guillemets are because, of course, the key markings no longer completely match! Perhaps you would be especially nice to me and tell me how to type them? ;-)


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

I realize my comment was stupid because Duo is pre-formatted and I cannot get proper guillemets with my French keyboard either.

So I also use your copy-paste-go back-edit sequence on Duolingo, but only in Immersion because it is so tedious!

Only when I type on the French version of Microsoft Office can I get the French guillemets (+ automatic spacing) with the usual key 3.

Cheers!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Riley300775

Where i grew up at least you would say "she is on the toilet" to mean she is using the bathroom.

She is in the toilet would mean she is literally inside of a toilet.


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

maybe regional or based on context. In an office I think of the "the toilet' as the room which includes hand basins, urinals & cubicles. So "she is in the toilet" sounds like somebody who could be just washing their hands.

If my son said "Dad, the hamster fell in the toilet" that would be different.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DouglasDes682107

It could also be translated as, "She is in the washroom."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrandonPal10

What if she is at the toilets, i.e. not inside, would the sentence be the same? For example "elle est devant les toilettes" ~ "elle est aux toilettes" Same but less specific?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ArnoldCohe1

loo is a derivative of "garde de l'eau" when chamber pots were emptied out of windows into the streets and a polite house keeper would warn pedestrians below of the foul shower coming!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ArnoldCohe1

Yes, we Americans have some odd hangups about toilets. ? Puritanism, ? Victorian atavisms? My first trip to France at age 18 was marked by plumbing shock and amazement. Pissoirs were still on the streets of Paris-your head and feet sticking out, folks walking by, no sink. Restaurant toilets with no doors to the toilet areas to men and woman with common sink areas, elderly women handing you towels for tips in the toilet area, a totally confusing array of flushing devices scattered all around the toilet (treasure hunt every time you went) area, toilets in tiny closets without ventilation off your hotel room, showers whose drain was out the wall and then just freely draining into the grass outside, I can go on. I am a gastroenterologist and can tell you Americans have a broad spectrum of descriptions for bodily functions, most either euphamistic or gross! By the way, my dogs are asked if they want to "do their very important dog business"!


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

Fortunately, the time has passed since you were 18, no offense intended, of course!


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

Sitesurf, having read all the discussion about "toilettes/ loo/ bathroom" etc., I have a question DL translates "toilettes" as "bathroom". Would it not be appropriate to use "la salle de bains" as bathroom? Admittedly, most bathrooms have a toilet but some don't. At most public places, airports, malls etc one finds only a toilet sans a bathing facility. so translating les toilettes as bathroom somehow doesn't seem correct. Any thoughts?


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

As you may know, the system here is binary. The source sentences are written in French, then translated to English and among the English variants, one is elected as the preferred translation which will be used to create reverse exercises from English to French.

In this specific case, the original sentence is "Elle est aux toilettes". There are 30 English translations and the preferred one is "She is in the bathroom" because it is the most common way of saying it in the US. This version with "bathroom" will be used for back translation into French and, mechanically, the preferred French back translation will be the original French sentence with "toilettes", but there will be 22 French variants including those with "salle de bains".

The real issue is that only when you can enter your own translation, can you compose a variant, in either way of translation.


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

I'd say the main issue is that Americans find the word Toilet vulgar, and use Bathroom even in settings like a restaurant where the room having a bath is wildly unlikely. So translating "toilettes" to "bathroom" works for Americans, but translating backwards from "Bathroom" is ambiguous. In an office or restaurant you probably mean "Toilettes", in a house "salle de bain".

The British are less squeamish about using Toilet, and find it weird to say Bathroom for a room what only has toilets.

The French is clear and simple here, it's the English that's messed up.


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

Again, "salle de bains" looks better with an -s. Also, I don't know if you are aware of it but every time you post a comment, an email is sent to all users who posted on this page in the past 6 years, many of which have hopefully solved the issue in the meantime. So, you may want to keep your comments for the most recent questions.


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

Prudish Victorian era legacy. Bodily functions? Oh horrors!


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

When I took French in school (late '80s, early '90s) we were taught that "le w.c." was the correct way to ask for the bathroom and that since "la toilette" was for washing asking for "les loilettes" would most often direct you to a room with a sink and perhaps tub or shower, but no toilet.

Interesting that both the language and the plumbing in France has changed in 30 years.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MalcolmWal3

Outside of the US "restroom" has no meaning


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PaulCarlin2

Before this i got "elle est au bureau" wrong. Duo wanted "elle est aux bureau" for "she is at the office" The comments mentioned about being "at" not "in" and it was plural, but office is singular.. now here "she is IN the toilet" and its "aux" not "au".. so confused right now.. help!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DianaM
  1. You have misremembered. "Elle est aux bureau" is not remotely possible. https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/31285296
  2. "Aux" is plural, and so is "toilettes", so nothing wrong there. As for whether it's "at" or "in" in English, I'm afraid that prepositions are cranky, irrational things in every language, and translating them can sometimes seem quite random. Furthermore, you may have noticed that there is some acrimonious debate here regarding the correct English preposition. Sometimes you just have to take it as read that "aux toilettes" is what the French say, and insert the English preposition that works for you.

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wertyu739

This sentence is an impossibility... girls always go in pairs at minimum...


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

Why isn't the word 'washroom' allowed as an answer? That's the word that many North Americans use.


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

Interesting that you say, "Many North Americans". I grew up in California, but moved to Canada nearly 50 years ago. Around here, we mostly say washroom, but when I go down to visit family and ask, in a mall or something, where the washroom is, I get a blank look until I remember to amend it to restroom.


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

Just how it is.


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

Why not use "dans"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/foodluvr17

Why would she be "in" the toilet?


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

Because, apparently, to some, the toilet can be the room the porcelain object is in, as well as the object itself.


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

'aux toilettes' signifies more than one bathroom, doesn't it?


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

No, it is just a plural noun for a singular place (the loo).


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

Why "She is in the restroom" wrong?


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

Duolingo can't keep up with all the euphemisms we have in different parts of the English speaking world for toilet.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/deborah853655

This phrase was translated on the toilet a while back, which I thought very odd. Now it is in the bathroom.


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

We are not at school, so you can use a dictionary. Besides, if you read the whole thread, you would find all the details you could need.


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

She is more surely AT toilet.


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

Wow, a very antique turn of phrase, which would have meant, "she is brushing her hair and putting on her makeup/perfume, etc." Although, come to think of it, it would probably have been spelled "toilette" and would have been "at her toilette".

So, no. ;-)


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

I wrote "she is on the toilet", it got corrected to "she is in the toilet" .. really?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sotnosen93

Is "She is at the toilet." grammatically incorrect English?


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

"She's gone to the toilet" is possibly the most usual way of saying this in real English , and it neatly avoids the "at" "on" "in" dilemma. Not worth trying out on Duo though, alas.


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

yes, I'd say that is bad English.

"she is at her toilet" is an old English phrase for washing / doing make up, getting yourself ready. In this sense Toilet is an activity rather than a place (or an object).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ged743481
  1. Yes,recently DL is slowing down considerably and frustratingly. Why is this? Sometimes it reboots itself ,loosing all answers just done!
  2. Why not "dans la" instead of "aux"?

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

Sitesurf answered this question several years ago:

"You can say "aux toilettes" (overall place, one or several booths) and "dans les toilettes" (in a booth).

"dans" suggests that you are "in/inside" a closed place, from a museum to a car.

"à" is used for both static positions and movements: je vais au restaurant, je suis au restaurant."

(PS, you triple-posted this question. And I've also been having some trouble with the app since the last big Android update - the one that changed the interface to look more like the browser version.)


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

Là ou le roi va seul?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MananSingh7

I want to know that "aux " is used for plural things and in the question its "elle". So how a single person can use multiple bathrooms at the same time?


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

"les toilettes" are just always plural. I suspect it actually refers to the room (in an office, restaurant etc) which usually contains more than one cubicle/urinal.


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

It's the same for the usual facility in a home, as well. I had to ask.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yaskal1

I hear "el e to tuwalet" is that the correct way to pronounce it?


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

Slightly more like "el e to twallet".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbdulaMali1

Wow ! The sheer numbers of responses suggests: Nous sommes aux toilettes Or, Nous sommes dans les toilettes


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mbbro21

Why does it only say the variations when hovered in but not actually allow you to choose your native word. As this is English/French not American/French why does it use american variations of words.


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

It's an American program.

If you point out words that should be accepted, they will include them, but it pretty much has to happen lesson by lesson, and it can take time.

Consider the number of languages Duo offers, and the number of lessons in each language. They get a lot of reports from users, and each one has to be read and assessed and, I expect, researched, before a change can be made. As you might imagine, not every suggestion is actually correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelRob57284

In English, one would say she is in the toilet. Please amend this.


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

Please read the discussion. There are plenty of native English speakers who would never say that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Autumn914038

Sounds like "a little toilet"


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

I am not native English speaker , but i know in English one says, she has gone to the toilet.


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

Some do, some don't.


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

This is one of those expressions where its really annoying to be told you are wrong when it asks you to translate from French to English. I get it, we're learning French so we should use the proper ways of saying it in French. But truly, Duo need not correct how a billion English speakers say something as simple as this in a thousand different ways. We all learned how to go potty before we were three, the bathroom in grade school, and the washroom or restroom when we were adults. And some of us 'go', some of us 'went', some of us 'are in', and I'm sure I missed a few. /endrant :)


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

If you missed a few, why complain that the robot doesn't have every possible variation in its database? As this discussion amply demonstrates, there is a vast multiplicity of ways of describing this simple event, and, apparently, each is determinedly clung to by some as the only right way. I doubt Duo will ever be able to keep up.

Try not to take it personally if your preferred translation has not yet joined the long list.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Timea388940

Could this also be elle est dans les toilettes?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnjithaSre1

Why 'au' not 'aux'


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

It is "aux". Perhaps you meant to ask the opposite question?

It is "aux", not "au", because "toilettes" is plural (and, yes, that's just the way they say it, no matter how many actual toilets are in the facility).

"à + le" = "au" (NB "toilettes" is also feminine, so it would be "la", not "le" in any case)
"à = les" = "aux"


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

Why is it 'aux' toilettes and not 'au' toilettes, since toilettes can mean restrooms as well as restroom


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

"Aux" is plural, and so is "toilettes". "Les toilettes" is used to indicate the place where one goes to relieve oneself, regardless of how many actual toilets are within. But the word is still plural, so it must be "aux".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maman619238

We don't refer to going to the restroom. An acceptable translation should be toilets


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swarna981232

would anyone tell please why here we don't use 'dans'? When we use 'dans la maison' for 'in the house, 'dans le jerdin' for 'in the garden'!


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

"Dans les toilettes" would be "inside the restroom", which is probably too precise for a general use.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gilly215188

We don’t use the restroom in the UK! We would use the bathroom, or be in the bathroom.


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

Please: 1) read the discussion before posting; 2) get used to American English in main translations; 3) be aware that if you type your own answer, British English variants are accepted; 4) this is the list of all the available translations for "toilettes" that are accepted in this course: [bathroom/bathrooms/restroom/restrooms/toilet/toilets/lavatory/lavatories/lavs/loos/loo/washroom/washrooms/W.C/WC]


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

And then there is "going to the John". ;p Is that also used in UK?


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

No. Please don't do that.


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

"She's in the toilet" is English everywhere except the USA


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmyChoi464553

Why not Elle est dans les toilettes ??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ckolb2001

I answered, She is in the toilet (choosing from the only Duolingo multiple choice English words offered to me). However, saying this in English sound like she fell in. Better English coices might be, She is in the toilet room, or She is in the restroom or bathroom. In English, one goes to use the toilet in a restroom or a bathroom.


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

Never heard that in English. 'She is in the toilet room'. We say 'In the toilet/she(he) is in the toilet', or she(he) is in the bathroom' even if there is no bath lol !


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

We say it in Ireland, but 'in the bathroom' is more common.


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

I say it still even though I have no bath just a shower lol. But he is in the shower room just sounds weird to me.


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

Agreed. Shower room, to me, only works if you're talking about a public pool or gym or something.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/puppy7989

It depends on where you live. Where I live, some people do say "in the toilet" or "in the loo" (I say "in the loo" sometimes) - because toilet/loo can mean either the toilet itself or the little room where the toilet is.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David221540

what the freak is a restroom? Is it a bedroom?


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

Restroom is a commonly used English word used to denote washroom, bathroom, lavatory, toilet, etc.


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

I am old enough to recall when upscale department stores had large rooms set aside for ladies to "rest" in. The room you walked into first had two or three couches and/or armchairs, tables and mirrors. Soft music played. The aim was for "elegant". Through another door would be the toilet stalls and basins. And this, I believe, is the origin of the term "restroom".

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