"Il faut qu'il ferme la porte avant de partir."

Translation:It is necessary that he close the door before leaving.

February 4, 2013

This discussion is locked.


I wrote "he must close the door when leaving" which is wrong. But the correction told me that it was wrong because I can't say "He must… " it has to be "It is necessary that…". First of the correct solutions is "He must …"



Oui, même histoire.

Churchill voice - "Never before... in the history of Duolingo use... have so many "My answer should have been accepted" reports been filed for so many errors, in so few lessons"

(seriously, it's astonishing that the many options for translation of the subjunctive in this skill haven't all made their way in to the database, after this course has been out for so long)


There are 134 English variants in the system. That is in my opinion a broad enough choice to pick from.

But some learners have to accept that their translation is just wrong, maybe not for their translation of the subjunctive, but for the use of "when" instead of "before" or "lock" instead of "close/shut", or "you have to" instead of "he has to"...

Yes, we get thousands of reports and screen them all.


I hadn't noticed that eddsax had written "when leaving".

But in this case, the point remains that the pop-up correction is incorrect as it stands (stating that "il faut" cannot be translated as "he must", which is of course correct in and of itself, but ignores that in this sentence it can, since it's "Il faut qu'il...".

And yes, not knocking your doubtlessly hard work - merely expressing my surprise that there are some faults (such as the above) that have yet to be ironed out after all this time.


There is an algorithm that 'decides' which suggestion has to be made when an incorrect answer is entered by a learner.

Generally, the algorithm picks, among the variants we have entered as correct, the closest one in terms of number of correct words (I don't know the details, just a deduction of mine).

Since the system is not as smart as a smart human being, it sometimes fails at proposing what the learner would consider as "closest".

And there are even cases where other algorithms come into play, that propose "correct translations" that are totally wrong. Example: "he have a pig" will probably be corrected to "he's a pig". The reason is that the second algorithm aims at making learners' life easier by accepting all types of contractions.

We duly report all errors and bugs that are beyond our reach, but the team of software engineers at Duolingo is quite small and they get 10 to 30 bug reports per week.


This is what I tell my cat when I let him out but he never listens to me. He's so lazy! ;)


It is necessary that "he close" the door before leaving. I believe it should it be "he closes" than "he close". it is true for the first person singular.


It's the English subjunctive form.


Even in the subjunctive form, the correct English, I believe, should be "he closes" and not "he close".. thus; first person singular/plural, i.e. I/we close second person singular/plural, i.e. you close third person singular, i.e. he/she/it closes third person plural, i.e. they close.

Sorry, you have to convince me that i am wrong.


You've set out the indicative form for the third person singular, not the subjunctive. No one has to convince you of anything, but you can educate yourself. You can learn about subjunctive forms here:


Now you have convinced me that I am wrong, which is what you've done so well..... and I take my hat off to you. You have educated me. Thanks


It helped me lots to print out the English conjugation for to be and several other words from some on line source to compare to French terms because I had totally forgotten what the terms meant and also there are many terms for the same tenses. Examples organized my thinking and make this much easier, tho not easy. I can get from the French to the English meaning but less often right putting English to French without some agony at times. What a joy to get it right tho.


Why would you use "il faut qu'il ferme" over "il doit fermer"? The latter is simpler, more concise, and communicates the message/idea more clearly.

"He has to shut the door." Unless it is only under the pressure of an external agent or condition that it becomes necessary for the subject to shut the door, that seems the more obvious way to express the thought than what's essentially a variant of "it is necessitated by the conditions and paradigms of the currently prevailing reality that he shut the door".

(I may have asked this before already, but if so, I can't recall the answers - sorry, and thanks, if anyone deigns to answer my inquiry!)


Is it possible to say It is necessary that he close the door before he goes?


Yes, it is.


Shouldn't de partir be in gerund form?


If the English ended with "while leaving", you would translate it to "en partant".

But "avant de partir" cannot be used with a gerund.


is avant always followed by de and what topic was this learned?


"Avant" is very versatile:

  • adverb: avant, j'étais petit = before, I was small
  • preposition: je partirai avant demain = I'll leave before tomorrow
  • conjunction (+ subjunctive): je ferme la porte avant que tu partes = I close the door before you go
  • prepositional phrase (+ infinitive): tu fermes la porte avant de partir = you close the door before leaving/before you go

Avant de + infinitive will be required when the two verbs have the same subject:

  • tu fermes la porte avant de partir (NOT tu fermes la porte avant que tu partes)


I wonder why is wrong: "He needs to close the gate before leaving", while "gate" is one of the options underneath "la porte"?


a gate is more closely translated by "un portail" (big door).


Allright, I understand your point of view. But remains the question why is it then given as an option? To me a gate could also be the door in a wall around a garden for example. So given that choice as an option makes sense to me and therefor it should not be counted wrong, or it should not be given as an option if you want me to learn that la porte is just a small door of a house. Would you please correct me if I am wrong and please tell me then why you still give it as an option underneath la porte?


Sometimes it's just about what's more likely. "Door" is much more likely here. "Gate" is possible for "porte", but only in certain limited senses, and it's much less likely in a situation where someone would be closing it on the way out. Think airports (i.e. flights) and city walls.

Not all hints apply to every question, even if they're valid for the word itself. Sometimes the dictionary helps to sort out such ambiguities.


We were told in another lesson that the hints are not exact or always in the right tense but in a very new phrase, they TEND to be. They bear research before answering if you have time in your day to go down several rabbit holes and still come back to yourself intact.


Correct solution: • He must shut the door before he goes.

I put he must shut the door before he goes, out and this was marked wrong - not for the "out" which was accepted but for "must"which was marked as "it has to be "it is necessary," even though must was one of the accepted answers. I don't get it.


Yet "he must shut the door before he goes" is an accepted translation.


Yup-my point exactly.


You know, the checker is not a human being so it cannot cover all sources of errors then give their authors a tailored explanation...


I believe your issue (though it's hard to tell what you actually entered, given the way your comment is currently punctuated) is:

  • partir = to leave (and also "to go", insofar as it's used synonymously with "to leave")
  • sortir = to go out

So, to be clear, if you put "...before he goes out", then your translation was a little off, and the "out" was not in fact "accepted", in which case, your complaint is simply about what Duo told you about your wrong answer.

When your entry isn't on its list of correct answers, the program doesn't always point out your error correctly, it's true. It compares the characters you've entered to an accepted answer that resembles yours on its list, and points out a deviation from that accepted answer, but sometimes that deviation is not where your grammatical, spelling, or word-choice error actually lies.

The program doesn't actually know French or English, and can't really extrapolate outside of its relatively simple functioning.


does English require subjunctive here? ...that he closes the door...

  1. "He has to close the door before leaving." – infinitive

  2. "He must close the door before leaving." – bare infinitive

  3. "It is necessary for him to close the door before leaving." – infinitive

  4. "It is necessary that he close the door before leaving." – subjunctive

To my ear the last one needs the subjunctive, rather than the indicative "closes". All of the others are also valid translations, but 3 might be rendered more directly as "il lui faut fermer la porte avant de partir" (pending correction by a native French speaker).


The latter is more commonly used with a subjunctive: il faut qu'il ferme la porte avant de partir.


I am confused, DL just told me that "il faut" means "it is necessary" not "he must" but in the same breath translated this sentence as " he must close the door before leaving" . Can anybody clarify this for me please?


il faut = it is necessary

il faut que = it is necessary that

il faut qu'il = it is necessary that he = he must/has to/needs to

il lui faut = he needs


Can this sentence not be translated in the impersonal voice? i.e. It is necessary to close the door before leaving. If not, why not?


The impersonal construction would have: "Il faut fermer la porte avant de partir".

If you know that the one who has to perform the action is a "he", you have to use:

  • il lui faut fermer la porte avant de partir (formal, also means "for her to close the door")
  • il faut qu'il ferme la porte avant de partir.


Why not le/la? Is lui in that sentence an indirect object?


Yes, in "il me/te/lui/nous/vous/leur faut", the pronoun is an indirect object (preposition "à").

You can see the preposition when the indirect object is not a pronoun and there is a direct object:

  • Il faut à cette personne de la force pour fermer la porte = this person needs strength to close the door.


That he close, that he closes. You say tomayto, I say tomahto.


my answer was: he must close the door before leaving. I was rudely shot down and told that' he must' and 'it is necessary that' have two different meanings!Not to the average guy in the street. I could also have said ' he has to close the door' or 'he's got to close the door'. I can't see anyone misunderstanding me. James.


I have not found any track of this message to you, but it is wrong. "Il faut qu'il ferme" can translate to "he must, he needs to or he has to shut/close".

By the way, your translation "he must close the door before leaving" is accepted.


It looks like on one hand it's the old problem of "il faut" using a dummy subject, and Duo properly noting that it doesn't translate to "he must" (but rather "it is necessary"), but at the same time failing to account in its warning for the fact that the longer phrase "I'll faut qu'il" ("it is necessary that he") is indeed synonymous with "he must". It seems that sometimes Duo is too clever by half.

On the other hand, it may be that Jacobus999 and HaroldWonh both made errors that they didn't notice.

I've just redone the lesson to test it out, and confirmed that Duo accepts "He must close the door before leaving."


Oh, great. I translated this as "He must close the door before leaving" and was marked wrong, being told that the only permitted translation for "il faut" was "it is necessary" - and then DL's preferred translation was printed underneath: "He must close the door before leaving." To think that I'm trying to brush up my French here . . . I've just read the comment from Jacobus999, above. I see that I am not alone. that makes me feel slightly better.


Well, don't take it personally. ;-)

While it's probably unnecessary for Duo to point out that "il faut" on its own is not "he must" (given that the full phrase here is "il faut qu'il"), you may actually have made an error you didn't notice.

For the record, I've just redone this lesson and got this question, and, to test the reported problem, wrote "He must close the door before leaving." The result:

Il faut qu'il


Why is "It is necessary that he close the door before parting" wrong?


Parting with or from something or someone (or each other) is a legitimate use of the expression, but using "part" to express the simple act of leaving is listed in various dictionaries as poetic, literary, archaic, or obsolete.


Why can't it be 'Il faut qu'ils ferment la porte avant de partir' ? It sounds identical to 'Il faut qu'il ferme la porte avant de partir.'


I disabled the dictation exercise until Duo's developers can treat this homophone.


"before going out" is not acceptable?


"Before going out" = "avant de sortir".


why the use of ING form with leave in this sentence ?


There are two options after the preposition "before": (1) a clause ("he leaves"); and (2) a noun/nominal, e.g. a gerund ("leaving").

The French "partir" is being used as a noun/nominal, and the English equivalent after the preposition is the gerund "leaving".


DL I believe my translate is correct: One must close the door before leaving.

  • one must close = il faut fermer / il faut qu'on ferme

  • he must close = il faut qu'il ferme


What is the use of de in this sentence ?


It's like in English when we say "in advance of".

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