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"Les filles sont-elles pauvres ?"

Translation:Are the girls poor?

January 30, 2013



is it right to just say "les filles sont pauvres ?" or "sont les filles pauvres ?" with the proper intonation? i don't think i get the reason for the "sont-elles", seems redundant.


I initially read it as "The girls. Are they poor?" and took the first half to just be Duo giving us some context. As an above comment mentioned, when forming questions there seems to be three ways to go about it from most formal/correct to least:

<pre>Est-ce que les filles sont pauvres? Les filles, sont-elles pauvres? Les filles sont pauvres? </pre>

The very last one, as far as I can tell, is used only orally and is highly informal, possibly even heading into slang. The top two are both correct with the top one being the most formal; either of these top ones are ok for writing letters, etc.

The top one is the classic way to form a question. The middle one is an alternative way to form a question and requires inverting the verb-pronoun phrase. The above comment mentions that a pronoun must be used, not a noun. It may be redundant, but every language has it's odd points.


Just a small correction here, if you don't mind. Inversion verb-subject (or verb-subject pronoun, as here) is always the most formal form of asking a question. Using "Gallicism" (as one of the users here called it on several occasions) "est-ce que" followed by a regular order of subject, verb and object in a sentence is a standard, usual way of asking a question, but it is always a less formal one then the inversion verb-subject form.


I can accept that. I've seen some back and forth on which of the two ("Gallicism" and the inversion of the verb-subject) is more formal, but I think the general consensus is in agreement with you.

  • 2430

Thanks you guys, this was helpful!


Good explanation


thanks very much


I came here looking for this question.


I agree verly much :)


I answered this as "The girls, are they poor?" and is was ok. Is this literal translation as I wrote it valid?


It's valid, but that construction is rarely used.


Could you explain better? Please....


I mean that although "The girls, are they poor?" is grammatically correct, we would normally ask simply "Are the girls poor?".

But "The girls, are they poor?" is the literal, word-for-word translation.


because the verb conjugation 'elles sont' is being inverted in order to turn the sentence into a question


Ok, but the subject is already there. I mean, there are already the words "les filles" Could anyone explain it?


You've been waiting a month, so I'll try. Maybe someone more fluent can explain it better later. :) If you use the question form Est-ce que... then you can just leave the words in the usual order and you don't need the extra pronoun 'elles'. (Est-ce que les filles sont pauvres?). However, if you use the inversion form of the question, you have to use the pronoun (elles) after the verb (sont). If you were simply asking "Are they poor?", you wouldn't need the extra subject 'les filles'. Because this example is asking "Are the girls poor?", you have to have 'les filles' in there, but you also need the pronoun 'elles' because of the inversion 'sont-elles'. I think. :) (Sorry this is so long!)


thanks for the explanation koolkaren.


My pleasure. :)


Thank you for casually blowing my mind with this comment. It was unexpected and enlightening at the bottom of the page here :) I had always thought 'si' to mean 'if'. Because of you, I went researching this and learned more about the french language. Thank you for simply writing, 'I hope so'! :)


Should there be a comma after "les filles", since it's being emphasized?


I can only say that the few times I've seen this construction outside of Duo, there's no comma. In any case, I don't think this actually qualifies as a case of emphasis (as you might see with the tonic accent). Rather, it's a case of necessity if you want to use inversion, since you need to preserve the "les" somehow. If I'm right about that, then you wouldn't expect a comma.


I guess it should, especially since "elles", as a pronoun for "les filles", comes almost right after... But, then again, I've seen it on several occasions without comma... Maybe they do not consider it as a mistake in writing.


Just a small question, is there ever a comma in this pattern of phrase e.g. Les filles, sont-elles pauvres ? Or is it more of a known pause?


I will never understand how and when the French use commas, and I know that the French feel the same way as to when and how commas are used in English. For that matter, even English speakers will debate the usage of some commas.


It is a common syntax in French.


Why is "are the daughters poor?" not correct?


Indeed why not? Reported.


Am I supposed to know this is a plural subject (les filles) because of sont? I keep making the same mistake where I type the singular forms of nouns because they sound the same as plurals.


Sont is a clue, yes, but you could have known before that because les is pronounced differently than le.


Can't the correct French translation of this sentence be "Sont-les filles pauvres?"


Why can this not be "Sont les filles pauvres?"? That seems like it would be a correct inversion. I keep getting confused by questions formatted this way.


You cannot invert with nouns, which is why the given form exists.


Oh okay, I think I understand. Do you mean that you can only invert pronouns? That's the clearest anyone's explained it to me so I appreciate it.


Yes, so to "invert" a noun subject, you use the appropriate subject pronoun (matching number and gender).


Shouldn't "impoverished" be an acceptable translation for "pauvres" in this case?


I literally typed the answer letter for letter and it said i was wrong.


Is any one able to tell my why: "Are those girls poor" is incorrect as a translation ?

  • 2610

Because "the" and "those" are not interchangeable in either language, and for the same reason.

"Those girls" would be "Ces filles".


Multiple choice error number 45!!!! 'Pauvres' missed from the sentence but only 'pauvre' offered as a choice of answer. Another set of questions I will have to begin again as I can't answer this one correctly. What a bore!!!!


Multiple choice error number 59. 'Pauvres' left out of the sentence but not offered as a possible answer. I do not think I am ever going to be able to complete this section on adjectives if these errors aren't corrected. PLEASE, Duolingo, check ALL of your multiple choice questions!


Wow, am I the only one who thinks the audio sounds like it’s saying peuvre or peuvrent? Not pauvre?

Obviously pauvre(s) is a real word and peauv... is just the sound but am I the only one who thinks the pronounciation is off on this one? Is it maybe an accent thing?


"are the daughters poor?" - is marked wrong. Aug23,2018. Reported

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