"Comment pouvaient-ils vivre ?"

Translation:How could they live there?

February 8, 2013

19 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"Pouvaient-ils" and "pouvait-il" are identical, orally. So both are alternative correct answers.

February 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/pauken1111

pouvait-il accepted 7-2-2014

July 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Albrechtion

Is this referring to my state of Minnesota? :)

January 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Iella_

It sounds like "pouvait-il", but the system gives a mistake.

March 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/jschalkwyk

"How used to be able to live there?" is not a meaningful sentence. "How used they to be able to live there" was marked incorrect. Am I missing something?

November 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/evatenn

Yes, the English construction has to change somewhat; "How used they..." is not a correct English construction. It would have to be changed to "How did they use to be able to live there," (don't know whether that's accepted; it's awkward but technically correct) or, better because more straightforward, "How were they able to live there?".

January 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jschalkwyk

I've actually always wondered whether "how used they to" or "how did they used to" is more correct. I've always assumed that the latter was the colloquially adopted (but less correct) version while the former was a more correct but very out of date and formal sounding one. Do you have any references to back up your assertion? This would be a great mystery to solve!

January 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/evatenn

I appears that I may have been mistaken, and it may be formally correct (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_modal_verbs#Used_to) although "rarely" (ibid. but more like "never" imho) used. The only such phrase constructed without "did" that I ever remember hearing is "[someone] used not to." Regardless, should you wish to be understood in (even rather formal) English conversation, then unless you are a character from another century or galaxy in a Dr. Who episode, it would probably be best to avoid "How used they to..."? imho.

January 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jschalkwyk

Haha, Dr Who! Thanks for the update. :)

January 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Fuzzy255433

It is less incorrect and more dated. It is not the moderned construction.

September 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

You're right, there was a bug in the system. But Evatenn is right, how did they used to be able to live there" is a mouthful, while "how could they live there" is so simple...

January 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/janncole

But what about how were they able to live there? Would this be considered a correct translation of this sentence?

April 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

This translation is good and accepted.

April 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/janncole

Thank you

April 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/kyraryk

is this imperfect past tense or conditional present? thanks in advance for the help.

July 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"Ils pouvaient" is past imperfect; the conditional present conjugation is "ils pourraient".

July 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/kyraryk

Thank you!

July 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/etmere

Comment est-ce que ils pouvaient vivre la

November 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"Est-ce que" should not be used after other interrogative words, except "que" and "qui". Still "où est-ce que" and "quand est-ce que" are tolerated because "où" and "quand" are one syllable only.

November 15, 2018
Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.