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"Combien vaut-il ?"

Translation:How much does it cost?

February 6, 2013

28 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nicolevelascom

So, it means the same as Combien ça coûte?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dhMuse

It can be used that way, but it also means "How much is it worth?" in a non-monetary sense, unlike "Combien ça coûte?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daphoon

So I guess in French "Combien ça coûte?" only have monetary-sense?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wunel

It can, I think, have a non-monetary meaning as well. For example a battle can cost you a lot.

But the main point is that coute/cost and vaut/worth are not the same concept.

You have, no doubt, at some point felt like you paid too much for something, or perhaps that you got a very good deal on something. In that case what the object cost was not what it was worth.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wildengel

This is why I was confused when the translation came up "cost". They accepted "worth". Should we notify Duo or leave it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_Kierz_

Combien ca vaut? or Combien vaut-il?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arjofocolovi

"Combien il vaut", "combien ça vaut", "combien vaut-il" are used in common French.

I've heard "combien vaut-ça" in common French as well. Not sure how well it's accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wunel

I don't now if ca vaut is an acceptable form, you'd need to ask Sitesurf or some other native speaker.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MmeMAS

I reported an error since "cost" is not included in the dictionary hints. Would a French expert please tell me: Is this a more polite way of asking how much something costs, rather than using the verb "couter: for example, if you were in a small shop in Paris? Thank you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arjofocolovi

No, "valoir" and "coûter" are synonyms in that context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/itastudent

Maybe I'm wrong, but even thou Duolingo provide "how much does it cost?" as primary translation, I don't personally think that valoir (which should express a value) and coûter (which should express a cost) are synonyms. The value of an object often doesn't correspond to its cost. What could cost 100, could be worth 1000 to me (or vice versa).

So, unless "Combien vaut-il ?" is the actual expression that is commonly used in French to ask how much an item costs, I don't think that "how much does it cost?" should be accepted (or at least, it shouldn't be the primary translation). It would be interesting if a native could clarify this. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arjofocolovi

When you ask a seller the price of something he's selling, you're asking for both the value and the cost of the object. You're asking the cost for you, which corresponds (unless the seller has some other motives than money in mind which is rare) to the value the seller has appointed to this object.

Value and cost are always extremely interconnected, because as soon as there's a value on something, in order for this thing to pass from a person to another, a cost must be met (which, if it doesn't match the value, is very unlikely to allow a trade).

So yes, "combien ça vaut", "combien ça coûte" and all variants are synonyms. Yes, you're mixing together value and cost but for most intents and purposes, those are the same when doing a transaction.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/itastudent

Ok, so my understanting is that if I go to a store in a French-speaking country, I can use either "Combien vaut-il ?" or "Combien coûte-il ?" as a way to ask for the price of an item.

Thanks! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/doodlymoo

Could this be used in terms of a person's financial status? ...as in how much is he worth?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arialm80

Can this mean "What is he worth?" to inquire about an affluent person's net worth? On a related note, comment dit-on "gold digger" en Francais?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arjofocolovi

Not really, but you could encounter this sentence if someone asks for the price of a man having any kind of monetary value placed on his person, like a criminal having a bounty or a slave for example. Rich people are just considered as having money, not being worth an amount of money (in French at least), so we would likely not use the verb "valoir".

"gold digger" = "croqueuse de diamants" (I suppose the masculine version would be "croqueur de diamants")

It's not an expression used much, well, not as much as gold digger is I mean. It's actually the first time I've seen it as far as I know.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arialm80

Is the literal translation for this be "eater of diamonds"? That sounds so much more illustrative!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arjofocolovi

Yeah, "diamond eater" I guess.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sap29

Why is " What is its worth?" marked wrong? What would be the correct translation for this question?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2264

It is not so much wrong because it does capture the sense of it, but it is a stretched paraphrase that turns the verb "valoir" into an English noun. For the sake of simplicity, try to keep it close to the original expression unless it simply cannot be translated directly.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

Try "what is it worth", not "its".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elizabeth261736

Would you say this in a shop when asking the price? What is the most common expression in French for "How much does this cost"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Basilious

"Combien pour le ' '?" or "Combien coute le ' '?" or "Que coute le ' '?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmySison-B

I've always associated combien with how but the translation given for this is, "what is it?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arjofocolovi

"What is it?" = "Qu'est-ce que c'est ?"

"Combien" = "How much / How many"

"How" = "Comment"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kocmohabt99

"How much does that cost" wouldn't work?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

"How much does IT cost" corresponds to combien vaut-IL.

"That" is cela or ça.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GU7P

I began this lesson with the instruction to translate "How much is it worth" into French, and I gave the response "combien vaut-il", which was not accepted. The acceptable answer was given as "Combien ça vaut." So when this French example come up ("Combien vaut-il?"), I responded "How much is he worth?" and was marked correct. I am mightily confused here...

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