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"Water is indispensable to us."

Translation:L'eau nous est indispensable.

January 21, 2013



Can someone please explain the structure of this sentence? I find the placement of nous rather odd.


In my non-native speaker opinion, "nous" serves as an indirect object, and object pronouns usually go just in front of the verb (as in ErinZimmer's example above).


Hm... not so odd in French actually :) another example, you might be familiar with: Il nous faut de l'eau.


This kind of construction is a holdover from Latin, where the verb always comes after the subjects and objects. Realizing this helped me a lot, although it probably won't if you've never had any Latin.


Why is "à nous" incorrect? And, what is the difference in using "à" and "pour"?


I'd like to know also. I used 'à nous' but the correct answer was 'pour nous' I would have thought it interchangeable


Like with "to us" and "for us" in English, I think "à nous" and "pour nous" have slightly different meanings in French, which makes them typically but not always interchangeable.


However, the use of "nous" in the second correct answer should stand in for "à nous."


This sentence sounds very odd to me . Does it mean "L'eau est indispensable à nous"?


L'eau est indispensable pour nous.

And yes, that's the meaning.
Water is indispensable to us.


Yeah I think the nous is an indirect object, like in "Il nous donne un cadeau"


As others have commented, nous is an indirect pronoun and therefore comes before the verb. source = http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/indirectobjects.htm


Is "l'eau est nous indispensable" really incorrect?


It is because in French, simple indirect objects such as nous, vous, te, me, se, etc. are always placed between the subject and the verb.


I haven't see such a sentence before in French. Altough this feature exists in Greek as well (for example "Το νερό μάς είναι απαραίτητο" is the same with "Το νερό είναι απαραίτητο για μας"), we don't use it so often, mainly because of the verb "to be". It may be harder for English speakers to understand why "nous" is there. But I guess it's the same with "L'eau est indispensable pour nous".


Doesn't the adjective become plural, as the plural object pronoun precedes it?


It is the water that is indispensable, not "nous".


@nz6s, at https://www.thoughtco.com/french-indirect-objects-1368865, why is there "a" in front of "ecrit" in the following : She wrote to me. Elle m'a écrit. Why isnt it, "il m'ecrit".


It's because the past tense being used is called Passé composé (Compound Past). It uses the past participle of the verb écrire (which is écrit) with an auxiliary verb (avoir). A handful of verbs use être as the auxiliary verb. This tense may be translated into English as Simple Past or Present Perfect. It looks like this:

  • Elle écrit = she writes (simple present), she is writing (present continuous)
  • Elle a écrit = she wrote (simple past), she has written (present perfect)
  • Elle m'écrit = she writes to me (or) she is writing to me
  • Elle m'a écrit = she wrote to me (or) she has written to me

The Passé composé is actually very straightforward when you get the hang of it. See here:


I have seen a few mentions here of the indirect object "nous" going before the verb which is fine except "Where is the verb?". Indespensable is an adjective surely. I still don't get how "L'eau nous est indespensable." Works without à or pour or de.


I believe the verb is "est"


Évidemment. Merci.


Why do we use ' l'eau' instead of 'eau'?


Because in French, there must always be an article or some kind of determiner in front of the noun. In this case, it is just the notion of water in general so it must be "l'eau". Take a look here: https://www.thoughtco.com/introduction-to-french-articles-1368810


I got the article correct, but was marked incorrect for using the second suggested word, "essential" can you please tell me why that can't be used?


The right translation is ' l'eau est indispensable pour nous


Your translation is correct...but so is the one shown above (L'eau nous est indispensable). Both are accepted. So it's not that one answer is "right" which implies that the other is wrong.


But according to Larousse, être is intransitive and therefore should not be allowed with an indirect object pronoun.


I answered with 'L'eau est indespensible pour nous' and Duo said it is incorrect. Duo replaced indespensible with essentielle. Why is indespensible incorrect?


It's because of the incorrect spelling of FR "indispensable". Two errors in one word is apparently more than Duo can accept.

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