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  5. "Il faut du lait."

"Il faut du lait."

Translation:Milk is needed.

January 28, 2013

108 Comments
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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rachel66E

My immediate response was 'he needs some milk'. How would one say that then? I can understand how it can translate to 'milk is needed' but am very confused about the ' we need milk ' option as there is no mention of we in the French.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BlindOptimism

Did you ever figure this out? I put the same thing as you and I can't figure out where the 'we' comes from.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brunote

It's funny to see how this causes so much confusion. In this case I'm lucky to be Spanish because we use the exact same structure as the French to state that something is needed. Think of it as something like 'It's raining'. It makes no sense to ask what is raining, it's just the way it works. Or if someone told you 'It's five o'clock', would you ask him 'WHAT is five o'clock?'. The same way you say 'It rains' or 'It's five o'clock' we and the French say 'Milk is needed' or 'We need milk'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JeanSmyrski

I suppose, But as a native English speaker I would not say (or write) "He is 5 o'clock"; which is the structure that I interpreted this French sentence to have has to English-speakers.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cleguia

"Il" or "elle" ARE the French words for "it". Masculine is just the default.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RenatoArauj8

It is idiomatic. Il isnt he, and elle inst she. Il is masculine, like he, but in some cases it can be different. You can have different genders for the same thing on different languagues. Ex. (It) Bread(neutro); french: le pane (masculine) (i dont remember surely)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/devoirfalloir.htm http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/impersonal-verbs.htm http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm

To RH1234 above and RossLG below. "He needs milk." is "Il a besoin du lait." and you can also say "Il lui faut du lait." which is "It is necessary for him to have milk." or "Milk is necessary for him." or "Milk is needed by him."

http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/anglais-francais/he%20needs


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MrStyx706

So what if WE didn't need milk, only HE needed milk. How would you say that?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sean138766

Il a besoin du lait.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

They don't mean "we" specifically but as a generalization in French they use "we" to generalize or "on" while we use "you" or "one" to generalize. To use this verb form for "he" you would say "Il lui faut du lait." which would be like saying "It is necessary for him to have milk." for a specific "we" it would be "Il nous faut du lait." or "It is necessary for us to have milk." (They don't have to say "to have" with this verb in French, but when there is a noun after it instead of a verb in English that is how it would translate.) So as it is written above it is "It is necessary to have milk." and in English that could mean "Milk is necessary." or "Milk is needed." or the generalization: "One needs milk." http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sumemon

In English we might well make use of an empty subject and say 'It needs milk' eg when we taste something and note that there is no milk when there should be.Though this use is more usual with other thing ,sugar ,salt


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

No, "il faut" is an expression which means "It is necessary" when in front of an infinitive and "it is necessary to have" when in front of a noun. There is no specific person nor thing that is the subject. It is a generalization. If you wanted to say "It needs milk.", you would have to say "Il a besoin du lait." or "Il lui faut du lait." unless the thing that needs milk happens to be feminine in French in which case you would say "Elle a besoin du lait." or "Il lui faut du lait."

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/indirectobjects.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hrishikesh176269

We cannot use "We" Because "falloir" itself is an impersonal verb, which strictly states that it is only and only conjugated in the il form. Thus falloir is only used as general occurrences


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rachel66E

'Fraid not and seems many others have made the same mistake.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/egger3

'He needs (some) milk' would be 'Il LUI faut du lait'. 'il faut' per se only means that something is needed. So if I need something like in 'I need to do ... ' this is 'il me faut faire ... '. Falloir is a strange word, but I hope you get it. Kinda hard to explain as a non-native english and/or french speaker ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bonnie.sjoberg

He needs some milk is "Il a besoin du lait." He has need of some milk.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FyodorWolf

Finally, the answer I was looking for!! Thank you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mmullins78

il faut is something is needed as a whole phrase... ok. why isnt quelche chose used then? thats "something" also.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

Milk is specifically what is needed in this sentence. Milk is in place of something, but you could need something else. The word "something" is not a part of the expression. "Il faut...." = "...is needed" The item that comes after "Il faut" is placed before "is needed"

"Paper is needed" "Il faut du papier."

"Il faut quelque chose." "Something is needed."

Scroll up and down for more information


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

Scroll up and down for more info.

The "we" is not we specifically but the "we" as in all people. "il faut" is an idiom which means "it is necessary to have...." or ".....is necessary." or "....is needed." "Milk is needed." "It is necessary to have milk." The impersonal "you" is also common as in all people, or better yet "One needs milk." "Milk is needed." even works for "it" as well as for someone or people, such as for a recipe. It is not known who or what needs some milk. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jenklo

It's a very useful link thanks but I still don't see why il translates as we. in the link given she uses 'Il nous faut manger' which I understand translates as 'we' because she uses 'nous'. Thanks for you explanation though it was helpful.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

"Il nous faut manger." = "It is necessary for us to eat.." = "We need milk."

"Il" doesn't translate as we. "Il faut" translates as "It is necessary..." and "It is necessary for us...." translates as "We need..." Sometimes you just cannot translate word for word and you have to translate idiom for idiom. Without a pronoun indicating for whom or what the milk is necessary, we can say "It is necessary to have milk." or we can put it in passive "Milk is needed." This can be a generalization, that milk is needed by everyone. In which case there are more possible idioms with pronouns used to mean everyone "We need milk." or "You need milk." or "One needs milk." or there is a cultural idiom from an ad for milk "Milk does a body good.", but I doubt that duolingo would accept that last one.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lanna.Lise

Il faut is a saying that means "it is neccessary" its a colloquial saying ..its just one of those off things you have to memorize


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hrishikesh176269

Rachel, there are many impersonal verbs in French. "Falloir" is one of them. Impersonal verbs are only conjugated in the il form. Falloir means "to be necessary".

When I say "il faut du lait", it literally means that "It is necessary for some milk". English, however rejects this sentence formation. Thus, "Milk is needed", is the most correct option. Now let us change the sentence a little bit by saying "il faut boire du lait". Guess it's translation. Doesn't that mean "It is necessary to drink milk". Now, English won't accept "Drinking milk is needed", as it makes no sense at all because "needed" is only used when something is less in quantity.

Other impersonal verbs are "pleuvoir", "neiger", etc.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sumemon

I do not think you are right ,there are not many impersonal verbs in French there are two ;falloir and neiger . many other verbs can be used impersonally but this use is not exclusive so to class arriver for example as an impersonal verb is not correct as it is not used exclusively in the third person singular


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/porkcfish

To say, "He needs some milk," would be, "Il se faut du lait."

You haven't learned reflexive verbs yet. It is the verb "se falloir". Think of it this way, il is a third person way of saying "one".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Awwami

I thought the same thing. But, 'falloir' actually uses indirect pronouns not reflexive pronouns. See; http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm

So to say 'he needs milk' using falloir it would be 'il lui faut du lait'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SoresuAndSass

Does "Il faut" translate as a phrase then, to indicate something is needed, similar to the way that "Il y a" translates as a phrase to "There is/There are"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/waphle

Yes, correct! "Il faut" means something is needed/necessary. Like "il y a," trying to translate it directly won't get you very far. However, don't think of it as a totally fixed phrase, as it is still modified based on the subject – e.g. "il me faut" is "I need" / "I have to" – as well as the tense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/saschambaer

So "il me faut" would literally translate to something like "it is missing to/for me"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

Not "missing to/for me" but "necessary to me" or "needed for me" ,but a literal translation will not get you there. Missing does come into the definition for "s'en falloir" which is a slightly different expression. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tuc02096

Why does the translation for "il faut" say "it is necessary/it is necessary to have" if the answer is "___ is needed"? Is "It is necessary to have milk" wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/canary5

both answers are correct


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jiggywatt

Isn't this also technically correct: "It is necessary for milk." When I checked the hint bubble, it said either "it is necessary to have" and "it is necessary for".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

This expression is also used with pronouns for instance "Il me faut du lait." would be "It is necessary for me to have milk." which can mean "I need milk." http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Adamino

My friend just explained this to me, since I had the same problem as all of you. The short version is because it is an expression and only will conjugate in third person. This site is recommended: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/devoirfalloir.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hannrkelley

So in this case 'il' doesn't mean 'he'...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

That is right. " il" can mean "it". http://french.about.com/od/grammar/ss/subjectpronouns_4.htm

"il faut" means "it is necessary" or "it is needed"; "il faut du lait", (literally "it is needed, some milk".) and translated as "Milk is needed." or "Some milk is needed." We don't know who needs it.

Of course, some people would use the general form of we or you or one which is more in keeping with "it is necessary". "One needs milk.", other examples not in keeping with this particular lesson: "You need milk to survive." and "We need milk to be healthy."

"il lui faut du lait." (literally, "It is needed, some milk for him.") which means "He needs some milk." or "He needs milk." (when not specifying in English "some" is assumed for an indefinite amount). http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/devoirfalloir.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PERCE_NEIGE

You can translate it also by "on a besoin de lait". It would be less formal but more common than: "Il faut du lait."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RuiMei79

You can't translate this sentence word by word. The best literal translation is "Milk is needed", although in this situation one would most likely say "We need milk" (which is also a valid answer). [As it's already been said, consider this (french) "il" as it was an (english) "it"]


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Valestellarium

But how do you say "HE needs milk" in french? Because that's what I answered and I got it wrong and I really don't understand why...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

Another way is to say "Il lui faut du lait."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Goldora

I learned from my teacher if we "English speakers" try to do direct translation from french to English we will be confused and wrong many times


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zom-B

Il - He, faut - Needs, du lait - Milk. = He needs milk. But this is wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/saschambaer

Falloir is a kind of weird verb. It is always conjugated in the third person (faut) and the subject is always il. The direct object says what is needed and the indirect who needs it. So he needs milk would be "Il lui faut du lait" (It needs him milk)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jeanteau

I take Brunote's point but then why was "it needs milk" not acceptable? As in "it" being, say, the tea or coffee. If not acceptable, then what is "It needs milk" in French? Suggestions gratefully accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

"il faut" is an expression which is not to be separated. Just as "il" can mean "he or it", so too does "lui" mean "him or it" in this case that follows: "il lui faut du lait." could mean "Milk is needed for him" which is usually translated as "He needs milk." or "Milk is needed for it." which is usually translated as "It needs milk."

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/indirectobjects.htm http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lion013

FYI duo just accepted the following translation: It is necessary to have milk.

I have no clue whether this translation would hold up outside of Duo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kateschuy2014

"We need milk" would be "Il nous faut du lait" n'est-ce pas?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

Yes, if we were talking about a specific "we", but "We need milk to be healthy." is a generalization which is how they are using it from the "Milk is needed." or "Milk is necessary."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Madeline05

I wrote: "he needs milk" . What's the problem with it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

or "il lui faut du lait". Scroll up for more info.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cleguia

You would say "Il a besoin du lait"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RosieHolland

So 'il faut' should be spoken as 'we must' in meaning?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/magdabetlej

In translation, one of the options is "There is a need for" so why "There is a need for a milk" is the wrong answer, especially that it means the same "Milk is needed"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/1_Stephie

Maybe the problem was translating 'du lait' as 'a milk', versus just 'milk' or 'some milk'. e.g. Does 'There is a need for milk' cause an error? I'm new to French so 'il faut' confused me too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Scotland777

Wouldn't "there is a need for a milk" be "Il faut d'un lait" ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

I don't think anyone would say that in English or in French. Milk is not countable. You could say "a glass of milk" or "a carton of milk" in other sentences, but not "a milk". "Il faut" can be used with an indirect object to state who needs the milk. "Il lui faut du lait." would be "Some milk is needed for him." which means "He needs milk. " or " Il me faut du lait." which is " Some milk is needed for me" which means "I need milk." So without the indirect object, "Il faut du lait." means "Milk is needed." (When no article is used, the word "some" is implied.) and we don't know by whom. You could try reporting " There is a need for milk." as an alternative translation. This can also be a generalization for everyone, so "One needs milk.", " We need milk." and " You need milk." would also be correct in a general sense meaning everyone.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aknoror

Whether it is he needs some milk or It needs some milk would depend on the context of the discussion. If you were tasting something and it needed some milk, wouldn't you say Il faut du lait. ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

Yes, but it actually means "Some milk is needed". If you wanted to emphasize he, she or it, you would say "il lui faut du lait." which would mean "Some milk is needed for him." meaning "He needs milk." or "Some milk is needed for it." meaning "It needs milk." or even "Some milk is needed for her." meaning "She needs milk."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaylnBryan

Why not "It needs milk"? If milk is needed and we have il as the subject why not the subject of it? Why does it have to be "Milk is needed" or "We need milk"? Mainly just confused by the "One needs milk" suggested as the actual answer.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ebbrown

Coud I just say, "J'ai besoin de lait?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

"I need milk" is not the same as "Milk is needed." or "Milk is necessary." We don't know who needs the milk in the first and the second is a generalization for all people. Scoll up for more information.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RebeccaNYC

I answered "he must have milk" and was told a correct answer was "one must have milk" Why is that not "On faut du lait"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

"il faut" is an idiom that cannot be separated like "il y a". "il" can be "he" or "it", but in this expression "il faut" means "it is necessary to have" or "....is needed" with the word afterwards being what is needed. Scroll up for more info. and check the following website: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/franceorbust2

falloir is the verb to need. but its' only conjugation is "il faut". wouldn't 'I need' 'you need' or 'they need' ever be used?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

"I need..." is "il me faut..." literally "it is necessary for me to have...."

"you need..." is "il te faut..." for familiar singular form of you (tu) or "il vous faut..." for plural or formal singular you (vous)

"they need..." is "il leur faut..."

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/g/indirectobjectpronoun.htm http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tonyhallgarten

What is wrong with milk is "lacking"???


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

"It is necessary to have milk." or "Milk is needed." We don't know if there is milk or not. This is a generalization. We cannot assume that there is a lack of milk, just that it is required.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hstrange1

same problem with the 'we' rather than he. I understand the other meaning though.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

"We" is a generalization meaning everyone like "one". "He" would be "Il lui faut du lait." http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/juenvh

Please someone: how would you say: it must have milk ... that is warm (perhaps an instruction in a recipe)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/patcha.mar

❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ il mean he not only need milk . not compre


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KatrinaKir10

In this case, because you are using falloir as the verb the only way to conjugate it is "il faut" which refers to one must or necessary.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Frank-O-Phile

Ok. I read the posts above, but I'm still not clear on whether this can also mean "He needs [some] milk."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sumemon

Il Faut is an impersonal expression which means it can never translate directly as he . He needs milk=he has a need of milk=il a besoin de lait


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TomGagne

I had trouble understanding it /completely/ because I had no context to figure out what words I was supposed to be listening for. If the question included a picture of a table with an empty glass of milk I would have guessed better, but still may have misspelled some words.

Come to think of it, learning a language might be much easier with pictures with the words, or with a running conversation to provide context. I think Babble does something like that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

A picture with an empty glass of milk would be wrong. This is a generalization that "It is necessary to have milk." or "Milk is necessary." (for everyone) http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Estefani535683

I wrote we need milk whats wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

In French the generalization "Nous" can be used to mean everyone, but in English we would use "You" so they opted to change for the other generalization "On" which is also used in English "One". "Milk is needed." and "It is necessary to have milk." are still accepted. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sue102

Il faut can be translated in English as as "We need," "he or she needs" or "I need" - it depends on the context and when asked to translate "Il faut du lait" - there is no way to know who is making the statement - so my answer, "I need milk" (which was marked wrong) is just as valid as "We need milk."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

It cannot be translated as "I need..." that would be "il me faut..." and "he or she or it needs..." would be "il lui faut..." if you mean a specific group of people "We need..." that would be "il nous faut...", but "we" is used as a generalization for everyone here same as "one" because "Milk is necessary." or "Milk is needed." http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iJoana

Why isn't "It is necessary milk"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

"It is necessary to have milk". or "Milk is needed". http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Callidryas

Have read entire thread. Still don't know why " The situation requires milk" was wrong. It's very confusing for English speakers to be asked to swap the subject for the direct object, and then switch the verb from active to passive voice, in order to translate the sentence correctly. I understand idiom and all, but something a little closer to the actual French sentence should be possible here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

There is no situation. This is a generalization. "Il faut" means "It is necessary" or "It is necessary to have" when in front of a noun. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Callidryas

Thank you for answering, (and for the link -- very clear and helpful!) I will in future translate the expression "it is necessary to have milk". (Which is awkward, but so is "the situation requires milk".) Sadly, the least awkward English expression is still "milk is needed" -- despite the violence it does to the underlying grammar.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Valestellarium

Does anybody know how the ❤❤❤❤ one says "he needs milk" without using the same form (il faut du lait)? I thought it was a "he", I got it wrong and I don't understand why.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HWazir

you say "he needs milk" by... il a besoin de lait...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

"Il a besoin de lait." otherwise "Il lui faut du lait."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kdo26

So if "il faut du lait" does not mean "he needs milk", how would you say "he needs milk"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HWazir

you say "he needs milk" by... il a besoin de lait...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eaziduz

English -well, good or reasonable English- would never use " one needs"- instead, "it needs..."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

"il faut" does not mean "it needs..", but it means "it is necessary to have..." or "... is needed." or "...is necessary."
"Milk is needed." is impersonal and we don't know who needs milk which can also be expressed as "One needs milk." If you wanted to say "it needs milk.", you could say "il lui faut du lait." in which the object "lui" could mean "for it" or "for her" or "for him" , so that could be "Milk is needed for it." or "It needs milk" http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Davewilson123

I must have is not i need. I do not understand. Chinese translator!!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Davewilson123

I think I understand now. "il faut" must be understood as an expression in French for "It is needed", "it is necessary?" and answers the questions "What is needed?", or "What is necessary?" Am I correct??

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