There's a sense of "enough" in English that means "quite" or "fully," not making a comparison to some other standard of requirement. Think of a group of volunteers getting ready to rescue some miners trapped in a cave in, their leader asking "Are we ready?" and the answer being "Ready enough!" It's less common in American English I think, but not unknown by any means. "Is she skinny these days?" "Skinny enough," meaning yes, quite.
That's the same sense as "assez" in this sentence I think, which is why I think "he was thin enough" is a reasonable translation of the last part.
I'd be very interested to hear thoughts about this. It's a subtle point in English and of course my French is far from being strong enough to discern or portray that fine a distinction.
Excellent question! You have four main words in French:
positive connotation: "mince" (slim)
very positive connotation: "svelte" (slender) -- usually implies the subject is slim but also agile and/or close to an athlete
negative connotation: "maigre" (skinny), as in "too slim"
very negative connotation: chétif (sickly): think "starving children in Africa".
I leave it as an exercise to look up for "squelettique" and "rachitique".
Why does the noun enfant not have an associated determiner ? Is it because the phrase étant enfant is acting as the appositive in the sentence ? In general, when you get an appositive, French tends to use a "bare" noun.
Apposition is a grammatical construction in which two elements, normally noun phrases are placed side by side, with one element serving to identify the other in a different way. The two elements are said to be in apposition. One of the elements is called the appositive.
The US President, Barack Obama, likes to play golf.
Barack Obama, the US President, likes to play golf
Paris, capital de la France, est une grande ville. - Paris, the capital of France, is a big city.
It is admittedly tricky. Here, "Étant enfant, il était..." (or simply "Enfant, il était...") refers to the time when he was a child; it comes from the idiomatic expression "être enfant" (e.g. "quand j'étais enfant" -- "when I was a child") which acts as an indicator of time. "Étant un enfant", on the other hand, would typically convey the fact that he is a child, as opposed to an adult: "Étant un enfant, je ne suis pas autorisé à boire de l'alcool" : "Being a child, I am not allowed to drink alcohol".
Strange. The literal Being a child, he was rather slim does not seem to give the same meaning at all; it's more "Because he was a child". ((His) being a child). Unless that is what is meant by "As a child". But I took "As a child" to mean "When he was a child" with a temporal sense. Is there something I'm missing?
"Étant enfance" cannot be considered correct; it translates to "Being childhood", which does not make a lot of sense. I do not have the exact list of accepted choices but, in French, you have to pick between "Étant enfant" (literally "Being child"), "Dans son enfance" (literally "In his childhood"), "Durant son enfance" (literally "During his childhood"), "Quand il était enfant" (literally "When he was child") or more commonly "Quand il était petit" (literally "When he was short", as "petit" often means "young"). This list is not comprehensive, of course :)
"Quand il était un petit garçon il était assez mince! " I am not particularly fond of this French/ English equation. One is not exactly expressed by the other.
My wrong phrase: Being a child he wa rat5her thuin" - I don't quite follow why this was considered wrong at more that the allowed speed (80 miles an hour).
Very often one gets the feeling that in Duolingo land, classification focuses on dactylography. If we manage to type at top speed then most certainly we do learn French.
Not in this sentence. You can only do that if the "étant" clause is currently true (at the time of enunciation) - "being" is, after all, the present participle of "to be." I can think of two possibilities: if the main clause is in the present tense, or in cases where the main clause is in the future tense but the "étant" clause is currently true.
Here's a couple of examples where you could translate it as such:
- "Étant enfant, il ne peut pas boire d'alcool." -> "Being a child, he cannot drink alcohol."
- "Étant motivé, il finira ses devoirs rapidement." -> "Being motivated, he will quickly complete his homework."
Strictly speaking, it can hardly be considered wrong since "being" is the literal translation for "étant" (present participle of être / to be). On the other hand, the art of translation is the art of picking words that sound natural; therefore, depending on the context, "being" may not be the best choice.
I think my biggest frustration with Duolingo is the insistence on literal translations for some phrases and interpretive translations for others. If there was a consistency, I wouldn't be quite so frustrated in having to memorize what Duolingo wants instead of what simply works.
The Preferred translation is always the closest to the French original sentence. The reason is that it is the one you will be given for back translation to French, so there is a focus on similarities to help you to construct your French sentence in reverse.
However, together with the Preferred translation, there is a list of acceptable variants, some of which are more natural or idiomatic English, but more different from the French source sentence in terms of construction, vocabulary, word order, register of speech, etc.
If you enter any of the translations registered in the system (literal or not), you pass.