"After all, it is pretty easy to do."
Translation:Finalement c'est assez facile à faire.
Dear Sitesurf, could you maybe elaborate on this answer a bit? I am always confused with where to use "a" and where to use "de". The same confusion applies to adjective like "important", "difficile", etc. Is it a general rule that "de" only appears in an adjective-infinitive structure where the subject is impersonal, and for the rest "a" is used? Thank you!
Dear Robertwoo, the trick here is that a number of adjectives (facile/difficile are the most frequent) may change their postposition (à or de) depending on how the sentence is constructed, ie
impersonal : "il est facile de" or "c'est facile de" + infinitive
or not : "quelqu'un" or "quelque chose est facile à" + infinitive.
• il est difficile de refuser = impersonal construction meaning "we find it hard to refuse"
• elle est difficile à refuser = (l'invitation) est difficile à refuser
• il est difficile à décrire = (le tableau) est difficile à décrire
• il est difficile de décrire ce tableau
There are a few others: "dur", "bon", "commode", "pratique", "utile", "indispensable", maybe others that don't come to my mind.
• il est (c'est) dur de monter la pente / la pente est dure à monter
• il est (c'est) bon de connaître ce mot / ce mot est bon à connaître
• il est (c'est) commode d'utiliser cet outil / cet outil est commode à utiliser
• il est (c'est) pratique de manipuler ce couteau / ce couteau est pratique à manipuler
• il est (c'est) utile/indispensable de savoir les bases / les bases sont utiles/indispensables à savoir
And I think I'll just copy Sitesurf's example • il est difficile de refuser = impersonal construction meaning "we find it hard to refuse", break it up into two parts (front and back) and paste it into my anki flash card program mentioned above. (now the comment has moved to below this one.)
Put we find it hard to refuse on the front side. Put il est difficile de refuser (impersonal construction = de) on the reverse. It's already set to wait for a typed response from me before showing me the back side, so I'll just let anki drill me repeatedly as needed.
It's like my own personal version of Duo.
Thank you very, very much Sitesurf
@Sitesurf Sorry, your extensive explanation is awesome but my tiny brain still doesn't understand why Duo chooses "Finalement c'est assez facile à faire." as the correct one.
What I understand is the "c'est" here is impersonal. So, shouldn't it be "c'est ... facile de faire" instead?
Also, there's another example "Il est sûr de bien manger". Again, I keep thinking that "il" here refers to "quelqu'un" (a real subject). So, why are we using "de" instead of "à"?
No problem! A tip for you: impersonal phrases always start with "il".
When you use "c'est", the little "c' " is not impersonal, grammatically speaking, because it is a short version of ceci/celà (this or that thing), a demonstrative pronoun which stands for something that was said before. Therefore, "c' " is part of "real subjects".
@ Sitesurf re igesta's question What about your example sentences il est (c'est) dur de monter la pente. If in this case il est is interchangeable with c'est (in spoken French?), then effectivly that makes the c'est beginning an impersonal one, does it not? I see a tiny fault in logic there...
"il est dur de monter la pente" : impersonal "il" means that the English would be something like: "going up the hill is difficult".
In French, the same structure can be adopted: "monter la pente est difficile" (verb in infinitive instead of gerund).
In other words, what is difficult is the whole "going up the hill", or "this thing is difficult: going up the hill" = "cette chose/ceci est difficile : monter la colline".
Therefore, "il est difficile de" or "c'est difficile de" are interchangeable, "il" and "c'" standing for "it" or "this", respectively.
Merci @igesta et @Sitesurf !! Ça devient lentement plus clair. Je ne peux pas répondre à la réponse de Sitesurf (il semble qu'il y a une limite pour la quantité de réponses) mais je veux confirmer : « c'est assez façile à faire » et « il est assez façile de faire » sont tous les deux bons ?
(Je ne sais pas si c'est une bonne idée que nous demandons les questions sur la grammaire en français, mais je pense aussi qu'à une moment certaine c'est bon à essayer. Donc, je suis désolé pour les autres erreurs.)
Sitesurf's method below is a very good way to build a searchable library, especially if it is organized properly.
However, there is another way to go about it. There is a program called Anki (http://ankisrs.net/) that is a dynamic learning tool. It is free, has no advertising and is very powerful.
Basically, it is a flash card system laid on top of an algorithm that uses spaced repetition to reinforce whatever you include. The presented card has a user inserted comment. Then it flashes the reverse side with whatever you want, just like a regular flash card. The program spaces repeats based on your demonstrated proficiency or you can manually adjust the interval on the fly.
You set up how many new cards to present each day in addition to the repeats that you work through. When the program starts offering a repeat cycle several months into the future, I just delete the card. My typical display cycle done each day is about 150 cards for each deck that I have built.
You can insert whatever you like. Text, sound files, even videos I think. You can set it up to flash the cards in succession or to wait for some kind of typed response for each one from you. The program will scan for mismatches in your typed response to highlight them for you. You can edit cards to include whatever you want, such as a rule that you have just discovered that applies to your chosen text.
I consider it a transformative tool not just for French but for learning anything that is data intensive. I'm using if for my math studies as well. Once you start using it, you will wonder why people try to learn any content heavy material without it.
You may be interested to know that some of your comments live on forever thanks to anki. (Or at least until my computer or I die. Hopefully that won't be for a long time)
Anyone interested in some tricks that I have discovered in the program and how it might be used, can post on my Duo stream for more details.
Duo doesn`t accept tres... although
accepts tres as a synonym of rather, enough, quite, even exceptionally (!)
but, after much thought, rather, enough, quite and to the likes aren`t exactly the same with tres...IMO :)
Maybe approximately may be used (as to the question why tres is not accepted), but it`ll be quite pretty weird to use it, but still stands rather correct. :)
this is only IMO :)
but it exceptionally depends on the context of why "after all, it is < insert synonyms >.
So, i think, "tres" should be accepted because the context of the given phrase to be translated is rather vague. :D
OR maybe the construction of the sentence does not permit the use of tres, pas sure (but i think it is correct to use it that way).
Maybe the much respected French experts upstairs may shed more light into this as to why Duo doesn`t accept tres.
Bon Journee a tout!
(actuellement, 19 / 6 / 2014, tres is wrong according to Duo)