"It is necessary to call a spade a spade."

Translation:Il faut appeler un chat un chat.

1/17/2013, 1:58:53 AM

89 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/RoniG

I'm glad we're learning idioms. So you lose a heart, so what, you're learning.

2/8/2013, 2:40:39 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/jupiterrjazz

It would be fine except I lost my last heart on the last question because I didn't know and now I have to do the entire lesson again. :/ Also a small page on new words or sentence structure would be nice right before going through a lesson.

3/6/2013, 4:59:15 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/sslawek
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I've been thinking that, too. Give us a lesson or preview before you test us on it!

7/12/2014, 3:44:37 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/AaronEngst

Wow! You're on fire! Can you go a full year?!

8/30/2014, 10:42:44 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/sslawek
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I'm working on it. :)

8/31/2014, 12:00:24 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/SRoshan

Giving Hearts Away So that Someone Can Smile :-)

8/8/2014, 12:59:42 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Jomiecia

How do you give hearts? Sorry I'm a new user

10/14/2014, 7:37:31 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/SRoshan

no you can't give hearts but lingots work as heart here so give lingots

11/13/2014, 1:05:59 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/deldar182

I agree, tho it'd piss me off. They could leave a note or make it a bit easier

3/6/2013, 11:03:23 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Alscott

Okay ... this is idiomatic. But for English language learners of French they may think that the French word for 'spade' is 'chat'.

2/10/2013, 6:36:24 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

Agreed. This kind of thing should remain in the idioms lesson that can be purchased with lingots in the lingot store.

9/18/2014, 9:37:13 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/amajig
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Thanks. I really did think "chat" can mean "spade" after seeing the translation. Especially since the English version doesn't quite look like an English idiom, with that unnatural "it is necessary".

12/23/2017, 3:41:28 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/aritrariter

I protest on behalf of all cats!

6/19/2014, 11:39:56 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/misan_xo

Haha

9/24/2014, 3:04:48 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/shimself

Where can we fully report mistakes? This test is about INFINITIVES, so the fact that I didn't know the idiom (and used pique) doesn't say I got the grammar wrong

1/28/2013, 9:09:25 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/AndrewRangerG
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I have reported it so many times, they will never accept pique due to this being an idiom

2/22/2018, 10:33:09 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/kocmohabt99

I JUST LOVE THE IRONY OF THIS SENTENCE by calling a cat a spade!

9/25/2014, 11:09:30 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Mealz1042
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hahahaha love this

3/7/2018, 6:23:18 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/FelipeAlec
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I'm brasilian and i can speak in english, so i'm trying to learn French from English. I didn't know this expression, but reading these comentaries helped me. Thank you, guys :)

8/20/2014, 11:41:48 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/MissMuse
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I am starting to think a section teaching basic French idiomatic phrases would be helpful.

5/27/2013, 8:32:37 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/helene73UWA

You can buy that lesson in the "shop" with your lingots. You need 30 IIRC.

7/19/2014, 1:46:22 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/joepete

how is a spade "un chat" ?

1/17/2013, 1:58:53 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Spiuni

I checked with a friend and it seems that this is like a saying, so each country has its way to say this. In Spanish it would be "hay que llamar a las cosas por su nombre"

1/18/2013, 11:48:32 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Reisam
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Not sure if anyone would like to know, but in Dutch it would be: "het beestje bij de naam noemen" ("to call the little animal by its name").

4/5/2013, 6:10:53 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Bob864206

A prominent Confucian principle, the rectification of names, li

2/12/2018, 12:47:52 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/slawophilist
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I support you, Spiuni I found out the same. Still it find it of not right to teach idiomatic phrases so early in the course, in particular if the learner - like me - is not anglo-saxon and may not know the English idiom.

1/31/2013, 7:18:49 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/ddyson
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A spade most certainly is not a cat. This is a saying meaning to be direct and honest and not mince words. For example, if someone is corrupt, call them corrupt rather than saying "he occassionally takes advantage". Hope that helps....

1/20/2013, 3:43:42 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/croura

You must call a spade a spade et un chat un chat, but don't call a spade un chat. :)

11/2/2014, 12:55:00 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/jamaud
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Or a cat a spade!

11/2/2014, 12:55:41 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/bexgranma

I assume that french people learning english have as tough a time!

7/26/2014, 2:35:28 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Spiuni

I don't understand this sentence either

1/18/2013, 10:50:07 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/couchdoor
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it's an idiom, so both phrases mean the same in essence but not in direct translation.

1/25/2013, 7:40:37 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/JanetBerry2

It's not Some things especially idioms but not only idioms have devellped totally differently Its fun to find these

5/19/2018, 7:09:10 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/ckun
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i think they should allow pique and then correct you in the alternate translation box

8/19/2014, 11:52:17 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/clocket

A spade is a spade and a cat is a cat but a cat is not a spade

10/9/2014, 4:31:21 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Cheyne
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Anyone know why "C'est" in place of "Il" is not appropriate here? Or would it be but for the fact that this is an idiom?

5/28/2013, 11:29:30 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/BraEjemov

Because it's used like this - il faut comes from verb falloir which means to need. But I used "C'est necessaire" and the system didn't accept it... :/

11/28/2014, 10:35:51 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/sslawek
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That's because it's "il est necessaire". With an adjective, use "il".

11/28/2014, 10:53:34 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/ismaetxe

well, in fact you have to choose: appeler, aimer or dormir

3/24/2013, 9:08:46 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/gufcfan
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The literal translation into English is accepted when we are introduced to the French idiom, but then the translation of the corresponding literal translation to French of the idiom in English is not accepted.

Rather inconsistent.

10/20/2015, 12:05:17 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/LawsonKirsten

Un chat is a cat. Une beche is a spade. Une pelle is also a word for spade.

2/20/2017, 12:47:39 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/italyanmaz

Why doesn't "c'est nécessaire" work here?

12/29/2017, 3:42:53 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Boulangist

problematic, I get what they're trying to do but it's confusing

2/14/2018, 2:35:00 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/feyMorgaina
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I guess we're calling a spade a cat now. :-p

11/19/2014, 9:13:46 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/bluesmoon
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Why is "Il faut apeler un chat un chat" correct but "Il faut apeler un homme un homme" incorrect? I would think that they both have the same connotations.

1/7/2015, 8:17:36 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Deklayn
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Does anyone actually know what the idiom means?

8/7/2014, 11:51:14 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/ckun
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Its pretty basic, don't act like something is something it is not. A spade is a spade.

8/19/2014, 11:51:08 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/jamaud
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Being blunt or giving a straight answer

10/13/2014, 11:54:19 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/mauricewil1

It comes from ancient Greek (call a fig a fig and a trough a trough) and was changed (call a spade a spade) when Erasmus translated it from Greek to Latin 500 years ago.

3/5/2015, 8:26:57 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Bob864206

Remarkably erudite. I was going to guess that it arose in the US Army of WWII, which issued soldiers "entrenching tools" which which to dig a little ditch around their tents so the tents would not fill with rain.

2/12/2018, 12:50:40 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/MiltonCPrado

In portuguese we can say :"Dar nome aos bois." To name the oxes. To give a name to the ox.

9/16/2014, 5:53:40 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/ViniciusFiFer
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In portuguese we say: "Dizer sem meias palavras" (to speak without half words), to call a spade a spade means to speak frankly.

6/4/2015, 3:33:21 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/LowTide3L
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Good grief!

10/20/2014, 2:45:58 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/_n3t0_
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Well i understood the construction and got it correct. It's something ¯_(ツ)_/¯

3/9/2015, 8:47:15 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/deeptendu
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Can any one explain d'appeler?

7/6/2015, 9:19:32 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/LizGGibbons

to call someone or something. je m'appele mary means i call myself mary. j'appele ma fille means i call my daughter.

7/18/2015, 1:29:36 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

Note that there's a double L when the word is two syllables long: appeler, appelons, appelez, but appelle, appelles, and appellent.

7/18/2015, 2:32:45 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/deeptendu
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I was asking, to be more specific, what is the d in d'appeler mean? De or du or what?

7/21/2015, 6:26:30 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

''De'' often means ''to'' especially when preceding a verb.

7/21/2015, 6:50:07 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/AnneKierna

Where should I have looked to fine out the difference between sayings in English and French- otherwise how could you know to translate a spade as ' chat'?

8/28/2017, 8:20:47 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/bluesmoon
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The way to learn in duolingo is to get the answer wrong the first time. The pedagogical method used is that learners learn more from their mistakes than they do from instruction.

Spade isn't translated to chat, rather, the entire sentence in english is synonymous to the other sentence in french. Don't try to translate words, try to translate ideas.

8/28/2017, 1:25:23 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/lautrech

My answer 'pique un pique' should have been accepted. Nowhere in the dictionary can I find a spade called a chat. As far as I am concerned a chat is a cat. The other word I find for spade is a beche. Where am I going wrong - if I am.

9/21/2017, 8:38:23 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/bluesmoon
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You're translating the sentence literally. You need to translate it figuratively.

9/21/2017, 11:03:37 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/gbarge

Duo let me use "une beche une beche".

2/4/2018, 3:11:57 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/driftwood-33

So if one cannot use il faut the why is it given as possible answer?

1/27/2018, 12:39:50 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/gbarge

"Il est necessaire d'appeler . . .", ou" il faut appeler . . ."

2/4/2018, 3:11:19 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Bob864206

I got credit for "on doit appeler....," which is the first thing I ever got right I didn't already know, if this is how English works....

2/12/2018, 12:42:21 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/mbamford

Both "Il faut" and "On doit" are marked correct. Which is preferred?

4/16/2018, 6:14:11 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Ruby_Peculiar

Is "chat" a homograph in French, having the double meaning of "cat" and "spade", or is the English sentence incorrect?

5/17/2018, 4:37:08 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/LalaDGDG

What's in a name?

8/11/2018, 11:35:25 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/rickrobin

This is the stupidest way to teach this imaginable. It is necessary to call idiots idiots.

9/6/2018, 9:45:02 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Lupus273371

spade = cat? I thought it means the specific icon on poker cards

12/1/2018, 4:34:33 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Aeronautix
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Is this a common idiom among the French people? Just wanting to verify.

1/7/2019, 2:25:15 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/mbamford

Why isn't "Il doit appeler un chat un chat" correct?

1/11/2019, 4:38:49 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/bluesmoon
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You would only use "il doit" if you mean "He/she must".

1/11/2019, 4:23:31 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/mbamford

Thanks. "On doit ..." was marked as correct. My question had to do with both "On" vs. "Il", as well as devoir vs. falloir.

1/11/2019, 4:48:40 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/bairnies
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I just looked up the word "spade" online, and it's beche. Why not just use that/

1/23/2019, 4:36:20 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/bluesmoon
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Because it's a conceptual translation, not a literal one. Idioms typically do not translate literally.

1/23/2019, 4:41:57 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Jim606185
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Love the idom.

"I left my heart on Duolingo" It might make a good song.

2/9/2019, 2:37:01 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/JoelPh6

How is a spade a cat?

1/8/2018, 7:33:14 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/bluesmoon
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it's not

1/19/2018, 5:08:28 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Rachelmhills

What does a cat have to do with a spade?

1/16/2018, 10:54:07 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/bluesmoon
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absolutely nothing

1/19/2018, 5:07:50 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/LawsonKirsten

Translation is wrong. How can you translate a spade to un chat?

2/20/2017, 12:49:22 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/MirandaHewitt

My grandmother from Ottawa taught me pique, not chat

4/22/2017, 11:22:32 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/bluesmoon
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pique is the translation for spade, however the intent here (and throughout language learning) is not to translate words, but to translate the underlying meaning of the entire text. Each language has its own idioms that do not translate word for word because, for example, the exact translation may not roll off the tongue as easily in one language as in another. Therefore, we aren't translating "spade" to "chat", we're translating "It is necessary to call a spade a spade." to "Il faut appeler un chat un chat."

8/28/2017, 1:30:02 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Lisaskier

I understand what you are saying but I think what everyone else is saying is that this particular sentence , being an idiom, does not belong in this section.

Duo has constantly shown a preference for literal rather than figurative translations during this course.

7/14/2018, 12:49:05 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/AJTBG
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Guys... "spade ( syn. for shovel)" means "pelle" en français. I don`t know why people think it means ''cat''...

10/20/2017, 7:10:55 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/bluesmoon
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no one said it means cat. read the other comments in this thread.

10/20/2017, 7:12:03 PM
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