"January is usually the coldest month."

Translation:Janvier est normalement le mois le plus froid.

February 2, 2013

64 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/mortonte

Language learning can leave you scratching your head: I looked up 'usually' in the authoritative Collins-Robert French Dictionary and found 'd'habitude' and 'generalement', as the equivalent french terms, but not 'normalement'. Then I looked up 'normalement' in the French-English part and did find 'usually' as one of the equivalent english terms.

September 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/adaitsman

Good reason to avoid translating dictionaries...

November 12, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Chartreux

Can someone explain why "usuellement" is not accepted here ?

December 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"usuellement" is correct but very "unusual", except if you are short of synonyms and don't want to repeat "habituellement" or "d'habitude" or "la plupart du temps" or "normalement"...

December 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/unpetitchat25

Usually usually is unusual.

May 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Chartreux

I didn't realize that "usuellement" was so unusual. It can be a bit tricky trying to understand what diction is best suited for a given statement. As always, dear lady, I thank you for all your help. And, by-the-by, I love the sound of "la plupart du temps"!

December 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/emily.youngblom

It was my understanding it was only correct to say "Le janvier est le mois...". Is Janvier ever preceded by "le"?

July 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

you can say "janvier est le mois..." or "le mois de janvier est..."

July 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Paul_W

May I ask where I went wrong here please? "janvier est le mois le plus froid normalement"

August 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/KarstenBach

That's what I thought as well, but le mois de janvier didn't work for me :-(

May 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/rainio

is it possible to say "le plus froid moins"

February 2, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

no, the right order is respected in the answer provided, ie noun before adjective.

February 2, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/reg_ray

Why do we use the second le in "le mois le plus froid"?

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"le plus" is the superlative 'block', whichever the rest of the sentence, including another "le, la, les" with the noun.

  • la femme la plus belle
  • l'homme le plus beau
  • les mois les plus beaux
April 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicola526448

I don't understand this explanation. Could you or someone else have another attempt at answering?

July 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

In english, you construct a superlative (describing a superior quality) either with "the most + adjective" or "the + adjective-est".

  • beautiful - more beautiful (comparative) - the most beautiful (superlative)
  • pretty - prettier (comparative) - the prettiest (superlative).

In French, you must use "definite article + plus + adjective".

  • beau - plus beau - le plus beau (masc. sing)
  • jolie - plus jolie - la plus jolie (fem. sing)
  • beaux - plus beaux - les plus beaux (masc. plur)
  • jolies - plus jolies - les plus jolies (fem. plur).

Now, remember that regular French adjectives are placed after the noun but a few others are placed before the noun:

Regular adjectives:

  • The coldest month = le mois le plus froid (regular adjective, to be placed after the noun) -- but you cannot say "Le plus froid mois".

Irregular adjectives:

  • The most beautiful month = "le plus beau mois" (irregular adjective, to be placed before the noun) or "le mois le plus beau"
  • The smallest thing = "la plus petite chose" or "la chose la plus petite".
July 29, 2016

[deactivated user]

    Brilliant explanation Sitesurf, thank you.

    June 4, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/Nicola526448

    Excellent! It will take a few reads and a few examples to sink in but that is pretty clear.

    August 1, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/tomgg

    Is this a general rule when describing months?

    May 4, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/alphabeta

    It's a general rule when describing nouns (i.e. when using adjectives---or more specifically in this case, superlatives).

    May 31, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

    The general rule in French is that the adjective is placed after the noun, more exceptionally in front of it: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/adjectives_4.htm

    May 31, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/tusharbajaj

    why "le mois DE plus froid" is incorrect

    February 12, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/JoeGreene

    As Sitesurf describes to PetiPri elsewhere in this thread, "coldest" isn't a single term in French. It is literally "the most cold" (le plus froid), whereas "de plus froid" would be roughly "of most cold," in my understanding.

    Sorry if this is an old question, Duolingo isn't showing me a timestamp. Hope this helped someone!

    September 3, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/Ronnie-JA

    It does, as this was my question. But, following this train of thought, why not "of the most cold" (du plus froid)?

    February 26, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

    With short adjectives, comparative and superlative variants take an ending in -er or -est and not "more" / "the most":

    • plus froid = colder (not more cold)

    • le plus froid = the coldest (not the most cold)

    February 26, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/Ronnie-JA

    Brilliant, thank you.

    February 26, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/PetiPri

    having the article repeated two times doesn't make sense, seriously.

    April 11, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

    Yes it does, since "coldest" cannot be translated in a single adjective but with "le plus"

    April 12, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/Persikov

    Face it, it's strange. But it's not that hard to learn. Spanish (and English) also requires an article to create a superlative but it isn't repeated. Cheers.

    April 14, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/FrenchAddict7

    I don't really understand. Why is there a two articles here?

    February 13, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/SuzanneNussbaum

    You need the first article for this part:

    "January is the month" = Janvier est le mois ... (could be "Jan. is the month I prefer": Janvier est le mois que je préfère)

    You need the second article for this part:

    "the coldest" = le plus froid (colder = plus froid; coldest = le plus froid; the article is what forms the superlative "-est" degree)

    Thus, there are two articles: "the coldest month" = le mois le plus froid.

    August 9, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/jcboy14

    it is explained above :)

    June 19, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/punikaO

    So "...le mois plus froid" is wrong?

    March 17, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

    yes, because to express a superlative, you need to keep "le plus" together, even if the noun already has its article.

    March 17, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/jcboy14

    this thread is another one of those "broken records" XD

    ... read the comments below before posting.

    June 19, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/Paul_W

    To be fair for the less bright among us, (ie: me) it helps to have the same thing explained differently by various people.

    August 13, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/Owlspotting

    Et avril est le mois le plus cruel.

    June 20, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/flimflamjimjam

    Is there any change in meaning if the verb and adverb are switched? i.e. "Janvier normalement est le mois le plus froid"?

    i got this marked wrong, and i'm not sure if this just isn't acceptable syntax in french

    June 3, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

    There is no change in meaning, you would just need to add commas before and after the adverb.

    June 4, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/sbussard

    what's wrong with "janvier est typiquement le plus froid mois" ?

    June 9, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/alphabeta

    Word order: it must be le mois le plus froid.

    June 9, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

    typically = typiquement usually = normalement, habituellement, d'habitude, couramment...

    June 9, 2013

    https://www.duolingo.com/XingoLuo

    "Le mois plus froid" is wrong?

    April 24, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/Ronnie-JA

    See above re Sitesurf's comment.

    April 24, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/DrewDdmek

    I'm confused about the ending of the sentence. How does "Le mois le plus froid" translate to "the coldest month"?

    May 28, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/juanitotravels

    The literal translation of "plus froid" is "more cold", or more correctly, "colder"; so "le mois plus froid" means "the colder month". It what scenario would you say that? If someone asks you about the weather in January as compared to February, you might answer, "January is the colder month."

    The word "le" kind of gives an emphasis to "plus froid"... imagine someone (a foreigner, perhaps?) saying "the colder month" (perhaps because his language lacks the word "most")... in other words, the coldest month.

    You could also imagine that there is a "that is" and an "of them all" that are understood in the construction: "the month [that is] the colder [of them all]". Literal translations are often awkward and imprecise, but also often help me understand grammatical constructions that differ from English. I hope it helps you. Or someone.

    May 28, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/Ronnie-JA

    "le plus" with set article is the expression for (cold)-est.

    May 28, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/Ronnie-JA

    "le plus" with set article is the expression for "[adverb/adjective]-est". Wherever you see a phrase which has "le/la plus" seemingly in a weird place, it means the "superlative" of the adverb or adjective is being used - le plus chaud; la plus haute; le plus rapide..." and so on.

    http://www.wordreference.com/fren/plus

    May 28, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/whereforeartist

    Out of curiosity, would "Le mois de janvier est normalement le plus froid" also be acceptable?

    June 29, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/Ronnie-JA

    Well, would it be understood? Of course! Is it right for the purposes of this exercise? Not exactly.

    June 29, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/whereforeartist

    Well, at least I would be understood! :)

    June 30, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/Lebowskii98

    I entered "Janvier est le mois le plus froid normalement" placing normalement at the end as I'd seen it placed there in a previous answer. I was just wondering why it can't be placed at the end in this example?

    August 20, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

    You could place the adverb in 4 places:

    • généralement/normalement, janvier est...
    • janvier est généralement/normalement...
    • janvier est le mois le plus froid, généralement/normalement
    • janvier, généralement/normalement, est le mois...

    The reason is that the whole sentence is affected by the adverb and not one or the other words specifically.

    As usual, the Best translation here is the closest to the original version.

    August 21, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/Ronnie-JA

    Great input as always. Can you clarify a little please? Many sources highlight the rule re modifying adjectives. But none I've seen so far specify such use when the adverb affects the whole phrase as you describe. I won't ask you for a full in-depth explanation (if you don't wish to give one) but can you point me to any particular references so that I can grasp what you're saying a bit better? I find adverb placement is a big pain. Thanks Sitesurf.

    August 21, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/Lebowskii98

    Merci beaucoup pour l'explication.

    August 21, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/Ronnie-JA

    I'm offering a quick response, but by no means the surest response. I think in this case your placement wasn't correct because of the superlative. "Le plus froid" is essentially an adjective (superlative) modified by normalement in this case, which is what I think requires the placement of this word before the adjective it modifies.

    August 20, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/haddadmohamed0

    (normalement) What's the wrong with you people it's souvent

    May 21, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/bizzritnizz

    Two are the same sentence?

    December 23, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/hb05203

    Janvier est normalement le mois qu'il fait le plus froid ?

    July 4, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

    If you want a relative clause, you need: Janvier est d'habitude le mois il fait le plus froid.

    July 4, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/tbcenglish

    To me, generally and normally mean the same thing. Is there some nuance of meaning in French that makes generally wrong? Thanks to whoever answers.

    January 3, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/TheRollSlapper

    "le mois le plus froid" is fine but "le plus froid mois" is not? Any explanation why?

    February 27, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

    "Froid(e)(s)" is a regular adjective, to be placed after the noun even in the superlative.

    March 1, 2019
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