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"How do you say?"

Translation:Comment dites-vous ?

February 3, 2013



Comment parlez-vous? isn't this acceptable?


No, it is not acceptable, since verb "parler" is "speak", not "say".


Isn't this phrase something along the lines of "how does one say..." Something with "On" rather than "Tu" perhaps?


To mean "how do you say..." indeed you need to add something, which is the notion that you want the person to define or translate for you.

  • Example: "comment dis-tu 'un cheval', en anglais ?" (how do you say 'a horse', in French?). In this case, you can also use "on" instead of "tu" (comment dit-on...)

However, if you hear someone telling you "comment dis-tu ?" it is just an invitation to repeat what you just said. Therefore, this is a direct address to you, and "on" is not suitable.


You can mean tu and vous


Why not "Comment est-ce que tu dites"?


tu dis OR vous dites.

"comment est-ce que tu dis ?" is not recommended in terms of style, because you used 2 interrogative words to start your question and "est-ce que" is not needed.


"Comment dis-tu" was marked wrong. I reported it.


What does this mean: "Que veux dire?"


Nothing, for you missed the personal pronoun.

"que veux-tu dire ?" means "what do you want to say?" or "what do you mean?"


Why "comment tu dis" wrong ?


Why cant you add fait?


English needs "do" as a semi-auxiliary to form questions, but French does not need the verb "faire".


However, if you hear someone telling you "comment dis-tu ?" it is just an invitation to repeat what you just said. Sitesurf

Speaking for myself, as a British English speaker, I can't remember ever having used "How do you say?", nor heard any one else use it, to ask someone to repeat what they have said.

If I had misheard someone I would use "What did you say?", or possibly "What are/were you saying?" not "How do you say?"


It is precisely what I mentioned earlier: without something at the end, like "comment dis-tu [ce mot] ?", the meaning of "comment dis-tu ?" in French is quite different from that in English with the same addition "how do you say [this word]?"


I think Comment dites-vous? = What are you saying? in the sense of What did you just say?. For How do you say x? (with an object) I might say "Comment dit-on x? or Comment se dit x?*. Does this make sense, or am I wide of the mark?


You can also use "comment dites-vous ZZZ ?" or "comment dis-tu ZZZ ?"with the same meaning as "comment dit-on ZZZ ?" and "comment se dit ZZZ ?"


Thanks, Sitesurf. Useful to know. French is so flexible!

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