"When do roses die?"

Translation:Quand les roses meurent-elles ?

January 24, 2013

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I wrote "Quand les roses meurent?" which is wrong. But I don't understand why the extra "-elles" is required. Is anyone able to explain?


When used to ask a question, (quand) is always followed by an inversion. If the subject is a noun (here: les roses) then you will use complex inversion. That is, you invert the verb (here meurent) with a dummy pronoun (here "elles" because "les roses" is feminine plural )

Simple inversion: il meure --> quand meure-t-il?

Complex inversion: les roses meurent --> quand les roses meurent-elles?

If you want to do things simply you can always use est-ce que and not bother with the inversion: quand est-ce que les roses meurent?

  • 1545

3rd option, even simpler but colloquial only: Les roses meurent quand?


Wow thank you so much Rewm...


Ah that was the answer I gave but it was marked wrong -- too colloquial I guess.

  • 1545

Exactly, don't expect it to be accepted in French tests. Maybe in oral part.


Very helpful, sometimes these patterns are hard to recognise


Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for when trying to understand this.


"Quand les roses meurent?" would be "When the roses die?" Adding the extra pronoun "-elles" makes the question about "les roses," in the general sense, hence "When do roses die?" Compare "Roses, when do they die?" vs. without a pronoun.


Why can't I say Quand meurent-elles les roses?


I put quand meurent les roses and it was accepted. I think the meurent-elles only occurs at the end of a question but not when you put the verb second.


Why is "Quand meurent-elles des roses?" wrong? Can someone help me out with this one?


hmm... i put 'quand les roses meurent-ils', which was wrong. What's the difference between they words of 'ils' and 'elles'. Feminine /masculine distinction here i didn't think mattered.


Roses are feminine, la rose. And since that is where elles refers to, it should be feminine.


I translated it with 'Des roses meurent quand?" - which was also accepted. But now I don't understand why both 'des' and 'les' seem ok. It's probably not related to the word order ('... meurent quand' versus 'quand meurent ..'), right? I recall similar confusion in the context of 'il aime le pain' for 'he loves bread' (because 'bread' without an article is usually translated 'du pain'). hmm, any suggestions?


Well I know that talking about roses in general needs "les" which is why it's the primary translation here... Whereas saying "des roses" means "some number of roses" since roses are countable, just like "du pain" means "some amount of bread" since bread is uncountable. That explains "il aime le pain" - he likes bread in general. Someone else can probably give you a better explanation for why "des roses" is also acceptable here though.


why can I say Quand les rose meurent?


You certainly can't say "rose", you have to say "roses". But apparently you have to also say "-elles" at the end (I'm not sure why). [EDIT: see Muzorewi1984's comment, which explains the complex inversion justifying the -elles.]


I wrote "Quand-meurent les roses" and it was accepted... Is this actually incorrect, then?


Quand meure-t-il? looks like he suicide.

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