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  5. "Vous appartient-il ?"

"Vous appartient-il ?"

Translation:Does it belong to you?

February 1, 2013



I'm had trouble deciphering which was the subject and which was the object of the verb here, could anybody provide some advice?


In interrogative sentences, the subject is switched with the verb and attached to it by the hyphen. So here, the subject is "il".


So does "do you belong to it" (as in country club) translate to "Il appartenez-vous"?


I believe that it would be "Lui appartenez-vous?".


Sitesurf says that means "do you belong to him?" (Also dismisses the sense of the sentence, see below). I hear this sentence a lot from people so it makes perfect sense whether you personally believe in it or not. I still have the unanswered query regarding "do you belong to it (club)? Is it exactly the same translation as you say? I accept this until it is disputed. Thank you.


I am not a native French speaker, however to the best of my knowledge it is the correct translation, yes. 'Il' becomes 'lui' as it is a stressed pronoun here. Both 'elle' and 'il' become 'lui' in this construction, and remember that both can mean 'it' in French (referring to 'club' or whatever other noun). I also believe in spoken French inversion can often be omitted and left as a simple "Vous lui appartenez?"


Sounds good...thanks.


What is "interrogative"!


In grammar interrogative is asking. "Which One?" here is an interrogative pronoun asking a question. "It is that one WHICH is red" is a relative pronoun relating to something previously mentioned. As in.... "Which one is red?" ....Interrogative "Which"..... "It is that one which is red"..... relative "Which".


If you are asking the meaning of "interrogative", it means to ask a question. If one is asking a question, there are different grammatical rules than if one is simply making a statement. "Declarative". (However, one can ask a question by speaking a declarative sentence and raising the pitch of one's voice at the end of the sentence. This is true in English and French.


Take a look at the verb ending. In this case, 3rd person singular.


Surely the translation given, 'live for each other' is misleading here, when what they really want is 'belong'?


Someone should report it.


I agree. I sent a notification.


Why does it appear that "appartient" can be used as "live for each other?" What situation does the verb mean that?


"appartenir à" = to belong to

The French verb has no other meaning along the line of "live for each other" (= vivre l'un pour l'autre)


to belong together perhaps?


I came to this page for understanding, but I'm going away frustrated. I have no doubt about your brilliance, just in my ability to grasp it all.


Would I be able to hear the difference to "vous appartient-ils?"


yes because it would be "vous appartiennent-ils ?" (sound NN added)


Shouldn't the translation be "You own it?"

Without "est ce que ...vous"


Possible, alternative translations for "Does it belong to you?", from very formal to casual:

  • t'appartient-il ? OR est-il à toi ? (refering to a masculine noun)
  • ceci/cela t'appartient-il ? OR ceci/cela est-il à toi ?

  • est-ce qu'il t'appartient ? OR est-ce qu'il est à toi ? (re. masc noun)

  • est-ce que ceci/cela/ça t'appartient ? OR est-ce que ceci/cela/c'est à toi ?

  • il t'appartient ? OR il est à toi ? (re. masc noun)

  • ceci/cela/ça t'appartient ? OR ceci/cela/c'est à toi ?

  • all the latter with "vous" (polite)


Merci Sitesurf


Sentences such as "ceci t'appartient-il" confuses me. Why use both ceci and il? Why not something like "t'appartient-ça"?


Formal questions always contain an inversion Verb-Subject pronoun, including when a real subject is explicit:

  • informal = Le stylo/ceci t'appartient ? (statement + question mark and voice raising on last syllable)
  • standard = est-ce que le stylo/ceci t'appartient ? (interrogative phrase "est-ce que" + statement)
  • formal = le stylo/ceci t'appartient-il ? : inverted "il" repeats "le stylo" (noun) or "ceci" (demonstrative pronoun) that are the real subjects.


"It belongs to you?" should also be an accepted translation.


Can one also say, "Ca vous appartient"?


That would be "Does that belong to you?" or "Does this belong to you?" http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/indefinite-demonstrative-pronoun.htm


I thought 'il' was always 'he', in this example it can mean 'it'? Does this mean 'il' can mean either depending on the gender of the noun 'il' is referring to?


since all nouns have a gender in French, the pronouns representing any of these nouns will agree with the gender of the noun. "J'ai trouvé un livre ; à qui appartient-il ?" - "j'ai trouvé une robe ; à qui appartient-elle ?"


j'appartiens tu appartiens il appartient nous appartenons vous appartenez ils appartiennent


appartient translation: live for each other/ is living for each other ???


No, not at all: appartenir à = to belong to.

And remember that "il" can be a bicycle or a dog.


Exactly. The hover dictionary duolingo translation is very incorrect.


Why does "Is this yours" is considered wrong?


There is a word for yours (tes), and another word for belong to (appartenir). In conversation you can interchange them most of the time. But they are different words with slightly different meanings and subject to different grammar rules.

You should take comfort from your ability to substitute an equally appropriate word and use it effectively. Unfortunately, the Duo computer has been programmed to look for more direct translations.

In the right context, one could simply say Yours? and it would be understood that you were asking if something belonged to the other individual in the conversation. But that would hardly demonstrate your ability to use appartenir/belong to with the correct match of person, number and gender. Except for idiomatic expressions, Duo usually wants to see alternatives that stick with same grammatical constructions as well as similar meaning. Actually, it doesn't even like changed word order where all the correct words are there but arranged in much different pattern.

The Duo machine does not have the soul of a poet, which it confirms on a regular basis.


@Northernguy: When machines have a soul, please give me a ring so that I unplug mine...


Hahahaha! "Unplug" alert! My laptop just blew me a kiss and begged me not to :)


Hmmm. Deus ex machina! If only you could train it to intervene with the French when you are down to your last heart.


I guess the only thing I can do is give you a bunch of lingots to make up for those lost hearts?


A bunch more NG for your treasured input.


That having been said -- "Is it yours?" is accepted, and while "it" is a truer literal translation, it's uncommon English, and the closest common equivalent would be "Is this yours?". It may not have the soul of a poet, but we can cram some poetry in there bit by bit. ;)


Thank you very much. This was really clarifying. May I guess you study translation or you already are a translator? This speech reminded me of Vinay and Darbelnet's work.


Neither. I'm just a person who pays a lot of attention to words.

But thanks anyway.


Oh! No no no no, northernguy. You cant palm us off with that. You are far more. Further to ogeid's well-found perception with which I agree, the way you construct your eloquent explanations is poetry. For me, early Verlaine.


"He belongs to you?" was marked correct. Just sharing.


"He belongs to you?" was marked wrong when I tried it on August 19, 2018.


He lives for you is marked wrong. Ah! Duolingo is not a poet!


appartenir seems to be used for 'duty' or 'responsibility' as well, according to Linguee, could someone clarify?

Could this not mean "Is he responsible for you?"


Appartenir means "to belong", it is about possession, not about duty or responsibility, unless I have missed something.

Could you please copy/paste the Linguee reference you mention?


Thanks, Gents.

I found a French expression in my memory that has a link with it:

"Il m'appartient de prendre cette décision" meaning: "it is my responsibility/duty to make this decision".

But it is a phrase, a bit pompous and not very frequent.

So for Duolingo's purposes, I confirm that:

  • "il vous appartient" as a stand-alone does not mean "he is responsible for you", but "he/it belongs to you"

  • however, "il vous appartient de faire ce travail" would mean "it is your duty/responsibility to do this job".


You can construct situations where belong to, in English, means you have some responsibility or duty with regards to whatever it is that belongs to you.

If the responsibility or duty towards something is sufficiently onerous you can quite easily say it belongs to you for as long as you have that duty. If I have the responsibility or duty to command a military unit, that command belongs to me and no one else for as long as I have the responsibility. I will use possessive pronouns and otherwise indicate that I own it, that it belongs to me.

In other circumstances, I may wish to assert my ownership of jurisdiction because I have responsibility for it. Of course, I need insurance for many things that only apply to me because of the intersection of responsibility and ownership. They don't mean exactly the same thing however. Just some concepts that overlap and in the right context can replace each other.

Don't know about the French usage though.


Yes, agreed. However in "smaller" situations like at the edge of learning a language, however diverse and complex it eventually is, surely if "Duty" is introduced "Devoir" would be the first appropriate choice and if "Responsibility" is being introduced wouldn't it more likely be reckoned with, "Responsabilite"? I begin to feel that we non-native French speakers/learners are trying too hard to demand/make sense of Duo's tasks. Really, with respect to all, I just dont think that the programmers worried too much about perfectly good sense as much as just getting words and grammar drummed into us and fair play to them even if it does seem to inspire never-ending pontification on our part.


Yes, I agree. There are situations where duty and responsibility can be considered an aspect of the ownership involved with belongs to. However, unless you have good reason not to, when ever you see some form of appartenir, assume it relates to simply ..belongs to.

But duo is informing us in the drop down menu that appartenir can be applied to carry some notion of duty and responsibility, as does the English belongs to, so don't be surprised if you see it used that way one day. They are also telling you, that in the meantime, that you will hardly ever see that usage and introducing it in this sentence is incorrect.


Thank you northernguy. Excellent as ever. I accept all that you say. Of course I am hardly even half way along the course and to gain guidance from you who have progressed so much further is a such a benefit.


I found it and it refers only to belonging to/part of/should>could be one of/come from (a group>tribe)/be a member of.... the only "bending" of the word toward "duty/responsibility" is in the sense of "community spirit" but to me that still yet infers a belonging rather than duty. It was at "www.linguee/fr/francais-anglais/search?source=auto&query=appartenir".


No, this could not mean "he is responsible for you." "He or it belongs to you." and if anyone is responsible it is the owner.

It is listed as an expression "Il lui appartient de........." meaning "It is up to him to......." This sentence does not apply to this meaning as "de" plus what it is up to him to do must be included for this meaning. http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/francais-anglais/appartenir

Then there is "La decision t'appartient." "The decision belongs to you.", "The decision is yours.", "The decision is up to you." and we see where the above construction comes from. After all, you possess the responsibility of the decision. You are in fact responsible for anyone who belongs to you and anything as well. "Elle vous appartient." could have been referring to decision. So far, every noun I have come up with just happened to be feminine, so I cannot be sure if this could apply. http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/french-english/appartenir/4635


There are multiple meanings for "appartient", which, when clicked on, it gives you first the hint of lives for each other/is living for each other before belongs. How do you decipher the actual meaning for the sentence?


To my French mind, "appartient" meaning (he/she/it) lives for each other/is living for each other is total mystery.

I cannot think of one example of a sentence where verb "appartenir" would be used to mean "living for each other".

On top of it I don't even understand what it would mean in English where a single subject (he/she/it) could leave for "each other" (where is the "other one"?).

therefore, the only meaning I can figure out for "vous appartient-il ?" is "does it belong to you?" as in "is this thing your property?"


Does "il appartenez- vous?" mean "do you belong to it? (As in a club?). or "Do you belong to him?" As Northernguy pointed out the relationship between duty and belonging to, I was wondering if this mysterious "living for each other" had to do with the belonging to another person as implied above.


Lui appartenez-vous ? (lui = à+il)

Apart from the fact that 'nobody belongs to nobody' (in my opinion), living for each other = "vivre l'un pour l'autre", ie an exact translation of the English meaning and words.


I agree, of course, that no one belongs to anyone. I was referring to the poetic, romantic, dillusional expression that I have heard so often in English about belonging to someone. I thought it might be an idiomatic rather than literal translation. However as you point out that "lui" would have to be the word instead of "il", that ends that concept. Ditto on the "belong to it"?

I reported the inaccuracy of that romantic definition that you have said all along is inefficacious last week. I don't know how long Duo takes to register changes, but it's nice to put this to rest at least in my own mind. Thanks for taking the time to help me.


why is the first translation offered "live for each other"? that's confusing, especially for a first encounter with this verb.


"Vivre l'un pour l'autre"


What is the significance of the hyphen as opposed to an apostrophe?


There are many ways to ask a question. To keep it simple lets take Vous Mangez.... You Eat. We can place a question mark at the end of the sentence and it turns from a statement to a question. Vous Mangez? We can use the Est ce que form. Then there is inverting the sentence's construction. From the statement Vous Mangez to Mangez-Vous? and here we must use the hyphen. (There may be a reason/guide/rule but it is only going to be broken elsewhere so it's less hassle just to accept that the hyphen must be there in this configuration of a question.) Forget about the apostrophe, it has no place any-where near this. As far as I know, and I await correction, there is no apostrophe in French. In English it is used sparingly to indicate letters or words omitted or to indicate possession and that is another different and separate grammar lesson altogether.


Ok, I'll take the hyphen answer to indicate a question - thanks. However, the French use apostrophe's all the time - c'est, qu'est-ce, etc.


YESSS Of course. DOH!!!nmb Thank you of course the French use apostrophes as I do when studying on this course. WOW you have No Idea just how Gormless I feel! Thanks for reminding me. Please, have a lingot.


Pas de problem - merci.


When did Il become "it"?


Il, Elle, Ce, ça, cela, ceci all can in their context mean "It". It is a big long course.


he belongs to you? can that be like that? it like meaning it like someone's bf?


Why not, does he live for it? That is what the dropdown says.


This is a bug, "appartenir à" = belong to


I have read and re-read this thread and become more and more confused. Now it turns out to be a bug. AAAAaaaarrrrrgggghhh! I'm alright. Really, I'm OK. I have my medicine quite right now and nurse says that I have some nice visitors, so I needn't get out of bed. Its turned out nice again, hasn't it?


@Jackjon, man... Can I EVER identify with you! I know exactly how you feel. Infact, I once left a post on a previous page was simply •head explodes• We can learn A Lot in these posts, but sometimes... Wow...


Against my better judgement, I followed the "hover", and put " He lives for you? (!), wrong again,"hover" needs changing.


to you belongs it ?


Why is it does it belong to you? not do you belong to it/ him?


strangly, "appartient" could agree with "il " ? not " ils" ?


yes, the 3rd person plural of verb "appartenir" is ils/elles appartiennent

appartient = [apaʁtiɛ̃]

appartiennent = [apaʁtiɛn]

You may try them on forvo.com to get the real sound of each.


Why 'is it belong to you" is wrong?


Can I say: Il vous appartient? or Est-ce qu'il vous appartient? Which is most frequently used?


Do you belong to him? is correcct


Do you belong to him? = Lui appartenez-vous ?


I wrote, "they belong to you" and it was marked wrong.


1) This is a question, as evidenced by the question mark at the end

2) The English question is formal with inversion Verb-Subject

3) The subject of "belong" is "it", not "they"

Therefore, the closest translation should be a formal question with a 3rd person singular subject: "vous appartient-il ?" or "vous appartient-elle ?"


So... French is an SVO, an SOV, and an OVS?


Yes, depending on the voice (statement or question) and on the verb's construction.

You can also get some S-DO-IO-V or DO-IO-VS

  • je le lui dis (I say it to him/her)
  • le lui dis-je ?


Can't i say do you belong to him?


Why do they use the plural form of the verb with a singular pronoun?


But "Vous"="You" which is both singular and plural. Yes, "Vous" is plural "Tu" but it is both singular Formal/Polite "You" and plural for both.


Why did they use the plural form of the verb, but a singular subject pronoun.


It is not plural, but singular. This verb used a prefix attached to the core "tenir" verb (3rd group):

  • tenir: je tiens, tu tiens, il/elle tient, nous tenons, vous tenez, ils/elles tiennent
  • appartenir: j'appartiens, tu appartiens, il/elle appartient, nous appartenons, vous appartenez,ils/elles appartiennent.

Détenir (to possess) and soutenir (to support) work the same way.


I wrote: 'it belongs to you?' which is the same as 'Does it belong to you?' Souvent, il me semble que le DL n'est pas tres fort en anglais. Pas grave, c'est genial malgre ses fates


Unfortunately, the error is yours this time. Asking questions with a statement construction only followed by a question mark is a French 'specialty'. In English, outside expressions or surprise or disbelief, the formal interrogative construction is required.

With regular verbs, you have to use "to do" as a helper, then the subject, and the active verb in its bare form.

So, "vous appartient-il ?" has to be translated to "does it belong to you?"


J'ai appris que je peux utiliser la langue informelle pour demander quand je veux juste transmettre la surprise: Cette Ferrari est à moi. - Vous appartient-il? = It belongs to you?!!!


My brain... MY BRAIN.....


I'm convinced that 'It belongs to you?' should be valid, especially in a case of mistaken identity.

Imagine a watch that was lost which I found on the street, and a friend from my neighborhood later comes by. He sees the watch and exclaims 'My watch! Where did you find it!?' 'It belongs to you?' wouldn't be an unnatural response. You might expect some sort of exclamation beforehand: "Oh, it belongs to you?" "Wait, it belongs to you?", but there are plenty of contexts where those wouldn't be necessary.


Hi BadgeFrance, I'm not 100% but I think It belongs to you?=Il vous appartient.


So any ideas as to why "It belongs to you?" Might be marked wrong?


The French sentence is a formal question.

"It belongs to you" is a statement, not a question.

In French, in relaxed speech, you can use a statement as if it were a question, but not really in English if there is no expression of surprise, like "what? it belongs to you (?!)".


Thanks for that..


"It belongs to you?" is wrong?


Formal French should translate to formal English, all the more because English rarely uses informal questions.


Hi Sitesurf. I'm up a gum tree with this one. When you post that "English rarely uses informal questions" I'd be more than interested if you'd explain and enlarge. You know grammar and usage better than I, but I'm not getting from whence you come with this one. Thank you in advance. JJ.


"It belongs to you?" as such is not a real question in the sense that you would tend to use it either to get confirmation or to question your understanding of a situation (disbelief or surprise).

Otherwise, if your question is straightforward and without such innuendo, you just say "does it belong to you?".


Thank you for the response, Sitesurf. This could go on and I don't want to clog up the thread. Anyroad, your post is clear and useful and if I were to add any more it may perplex students who have English as a second language. You are so good at what you do. JJ.


good grief: It belongs to you? should be fine!


I put, "It belongs to you?" Why is this wrong?


The issue is the register of speech: the French sentence is formal and your suggestion is only valid if you are surprised that something belongs to your counterpart or if you need confirmation.

The standard way of asking this question is "does it belong to you?" to get both the exact meaning and the matching register of speech.


Hiya Nicky. In a given context it is correct. Duo is a computer and may not be programmed to accept your particular solution. Some pre-emptive thought is required for solutions to some of the tasks in the lessons. Bonne chance.


I guess it confuses me that it is not "à vous"


Would it be better to use "vous appartient-ca" if you want to say "it" instead of "him?"


Only personal pronouns are inverted with verbs in questions: appartient-il/elle/on ?

"ça" is the contraction of the demonstrative pronoun "cela".


"It's yours?" is not currently accepted as an English translation of this sentence.


Hello Christophe. Firstly, sometimes Duo has difficulties with apostrophes. Secondly French is so much more specific in its grammar than UK English, (no apostrophe for "its", notice that one?) Thirdly, we are all at a very basic stage of learning French and please, if you will allow may I make some suggestions? 1) slow it down. Revise, often. " Do not look for some of Duo's (apostrophe use; tricky, that apostrophe.) sentences tasks to make "sense", some really don't. What they do is teach grammar, structure, a small guide to gender, and verb conjugation. 3) We learn by our mistakes and Duo is very slow in correcting itself. 4) Beware of the "drop-down alternative definitions in the lessons. 5) Enjoy your language-learning. Take it as fun. Just as we do when we skid over with no pain on the ice in a frozen winter or stand up and bang our head on the low shelf?


The French sentence uses the formal interrogative construction and you translated it to an English statement with a question mark at the end, which is not what was expected.

Also, you are learning the verb "appartenir" and so you should show that you have understood that it means and translates to "to belong to".

For your information, "It is yours?" is the translation for "c'est à toi ?" or "il/elle est à toi ?" or "c'est le tien/la tienne ?"


What is wrong with "It belongs to you?" Marked wrong.


"The French sentence uses the formal interrogative construction and you translated it to an English statement with a question mark at the end, which is not what was expected." (Sitesurf - just above, gaia...)


Why do you need "does"?


Are you not an English speaker?


I think he is not, Sitesurf. There are variants of Does (third person singular of "Do.") An evolution of the archaic Doeth. Lastly the archaic Doest is second person singular (each a progression of the verb Do (Does, Doing,, past Did and past participle Done.) English has its tricks as does (please excuse the pun) every language. I have come across the odd possible problem with Noah Webster's "American English" and the true U.K English some of which I have referred to elsewhere. "American English" we can thank also for tautologies such as PIN Number which translates to Personal Identity Number, Number! Regards to you and to Nathaniel, JJ.


It belongs to you? is acceptable as a translation, as long as the correct inflection is used.


The French construction is formal, so your translation should be in standard English with the verb-subject inversion: Does it belong to you?


'Do you own it?' Not accepted!


It is not wrong, but it is an interpretation with a switch between the subject and the object.

Appartenir à = to belong to.


"Do you own it?", was marked wrong.


Why isn't the questioning statement form "It belongs to you?" acceptable. It is a statement of disbelief but also a question. It works in both French and English.


"Do you own it?" Marked wrong but not sure it is?

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