In French, it is similar in the way that when you want to say, "I want some (of it)" you have to say, "j'en veux" - meaning I want some (with "en" replacing the "of it". So instead of being able to say, "Are we sure?", you need to keep what English lost which is the thing of which you are sure. So you have to say, "Are we sure about this?"
The way you have explained this is fantastic, just one question - why does the "en" have to come before "sommes-nous"? Is it something to do with the sentence being inverted to make it a question?
Thank you so much for this! A lot is lost, or implied, in English in comparison to other languages. Since I can't think in French I really need triggers like this.
This 'EN' is complicated...need to pay close attention to get the real meaning of it. Could someone make an easy explanation of 'EN' and its variety of meaning?Please! Thanks in advance!
"of it/them", basically the complement of a word involving "de":
j'en ai 3, I have 3 of them.
j'en suis sûr, I am sure of it.
ils s'en rendent compte, they realize it (the expression is se rendre compte de qqch).
ça en vaut la peine, it's worth the pain of it
en takes the place of phrases that come after the preposition "de" so an example would be je veux du vin -- j'en veux. in the latter of these two sentences en = du vin. so in the case of this sentence en sommes nous surs? en = of this
Is 'en' here an adverbial pronoun or a preposition. Im guessing the later(since we ARE in the preposition lesson) but its use here seems to indicate this is more of an idiom than the general use of it as a preposition.
"En" is a pronoun with a basic meaning "of this/that" or "of these/those". It is used extensively in French. It always goes with a verb as here. Literally "Of this are you sure?"
It's not to be confused with "en" as used in "en France" (in France) or "en marchant" (while walking) which is a different word.
I think Duolingo should have given a better explanation of the word here.
If you rearrange the phrase, "En sommes-nous sûrs?", you will find that the declarative phrase was, "Nous sommes en sûrs." And that's why we should say, "Est-ce que nous sommes en sûrs?".
Actually, JeanPaul_G's version is the correct one. The declarative phrase would be "Nous en sommes sûrs". (source: native :) )
"Nous sommes en + something" isn't actually incorrect per se, but in this case en would be a preposition and the phrase would mean "We are in + something".
Nous sommes en France = We are in France,
Nous sommes en cours = We are in class.
En sommes-nous surs. En = of that. Sommes-nous = are we. Surs= sure. It's not "en-sommes", it is "en sommes-nous".....
Can someone please explain to me, what is "en" when to use it.. and also, how did "en somme-nous surs" became "are we sure of this".. i don't understand at all :( thank you in advance !
Anyone else having trouble with Duo Lingo accepting this as a spoken phrase? I've tried 30 or so times and it has not accepted my spoken version of it once. I'm by no means fluent or speak with a perfect accent, but it's getting ridiculous.
I also can't get Duo to register that I'm saying this correctly! Haha I did about 30 retries as well before giving up and turning off my microphone.
I turned off the mike months ago. I was having to speak the French with big gaps between the words to get duo to swallow it. Not really a useful exercise.
Mikes390384...me too....tooooooo frustrating...I just keep repeating after DL's audios to translate from choosing the tiles below it. I'm saving $$$$ to taking lessons (after I've got a solid grip on all the verb tenses) to work mainly on pronunciation! Aug. 18, 2018
Is it grammatical to reconstruct the sentence as , Sommes-nous en surs ? , then the direct translation could be 'are we in surety ' ?
No, that is not correct. It has been a long time since I have taken a class in grammar and I have forgotten about placement of objects, prepositions, etc., in relation with verbs. All I can say is that the sentence in the exercise "En somme-nous surs" is correct. Another way of translating the sentence could be "Are we sure about it." The French would still be the same.
Is there any french speaker who can explain what is the main role of "en"? so tricky
"Somme-nous surs?" is an incomplete sentence in French. You have to say, " en somme-nous surs?" to be understood. In English we can get away with, "are we sure?" and is considered a full sentence, even though it is not in a literal sense, as 'of it' or 'of this/that' is implied already.
The way that I heard it explained is that 'en' can replace a phrase beginning with 'de'.
It's weird because "En sommes-nous sûrs?" could also mean in English "are we safe?" Yes I know it's totally different but some sentences in the french language could mean more than one meaning so you should let the learner understand that (one sentence = more than one meaning). and thanks for your good job at duolingo.
c'est quoi la deferance entre "En sommes-nous sûrs ?" et "sommes-nous sûrs ?"
« En sommes-nous sûrs ? » => "Are we sure about it/this ?"
« Sommes-nous sûrs ? » => "Are we sure ?" (or "Are we safe ?" - in the sense of being reliable, you could see that in a mafia movie, one character speaking about his own team to his boss : « Sommes-nous sûrs ? Bien sûr que nous le sommes ! » "Are we safe ? Of course we are !")
Read the thread, it is explained quite clearly . You question was particularly addressed by jytou in a response to senna47 only 3 or 4 posts above yours.
Would it still be understandable if one say "Nous en sommes sûrs?" (with raising the voice at the end of the sentence to imply a question)
In fact, you will hear many French people saying it that way, instead of Duo's correct version, especially in casual talk, but I would refrain from using it in a more formal environment. The only thing is that it becomes ambiguous with the affirmation: « Nous en sommes sûrs! » ("we are sure of it"). So you have to realize that the tone is crucial here.
Are the following also correct? 1) "Est-ce qu'on en est sûr?" 2) "En est-on sûr?" and 3) with"sûrs" because "on stands for "nous"?