"arriver à" + verb often translates to "manage to" do something or "succeed in" doing something
I think "arriver à" means somethink like "he tends to" which can be understood as "he manages to".
My mnemonic is "he gets to the place where he can . . ." e.g. "I have got the place where I can read French newspapers." Unlike pouvoir it implies you worked at it. I'm wondering about the difference with réussir à, though.
I also wonder if the distinction exists in the passe composé. That is, is there a difference between: Il a pu nager and Il a arrivé a nager. They seem (to me) to mean "he became able to swim" and "he got to where he swims" which both are more or less "he managed to swim."
'Arrive' also means happens. "He happens to run away," means roughly the same thing as, "He manages to run away."
It doesn't have the same meaning in English. "He happens to run away." makes me think "Oopsies, he just happened to have run away on the same day that all of us guards were taking a break. What an unfortunate coincidence!" whereas "He manages to run away." makes me think "After many years of struggle, infidelity, and turmoil, he finally manages to run away."
In this case you cannot separate the à from "arriver à". Arriver à followed by an infinitive verb means to manage, to reach or to achieve. (Arriver à followed by a place means to arrive at that place). If the arriver or arriver à is not followed by an infinitive, it means to happen or to arrive.
It's the same in Spanish: "El llego a [hacer algo]" or even in informal English: "He got to [do something]"
I see this literally as " he arrives to run away", which means "he has run away", however "he has run away" is not right?
"Arriver" is generally used for " to arrive" but Arriver à + verb is generally to reach, achieve, or manage, like "he manages to get away". or "he succeeds in getting away." Arriver à + somebody is to happen to. "Qu'est-ce qui est arrivé à Jules ?" What happened to Miles? I don't see any definition in any of my translators that offer "can" as an option. That would be Pouvoir.
He has run away is something that already happened. "Il s'est enfui". Remember that if you want to say "he arrives at the station at noon" you say "Il arrive à la station à midi". But "arriver à" followed by an infinitive verb (s'enfuir) is generally to achieve, to reach, or to manage, to do that verb. "En dépit de son bras cassé, elle arrive à jouer" "despite her broken arm, she manages to play."
Also Duo says it means "He can run away". I can't see how this is an appropriate translation. The words and even the nuance are so clearly different in my opinion.
I put 'he is ready to run away', and this was not accepted, which surely is a a reasonable alternative to the general meaning.
He manages to or succeeds in running away is not the same as he is ready to run away. That would be "il est prêt à s'enfuir"
I agree but it didn't like my answer. It wanted He is able to escape. I would have preferred peut in that case to arriver à.
Could "il arrive" also mean "he is managing?" They're both in present tense; but I admit I never studied all the tenses in English that I did in French.
I could use a good discussion on when to use a, de, pour to me to in the infinitive.
Why is "He is able to run" incorrect? I understand s'enfuir to mean "run" or "flee" or "runaway". In English, it is acceptable to use "run" to mean flee.
Although 'to run' sometimes can refer to the act of fleeing, generally, the verb phrase 'to run away' is more standard and less ambiguous. 'He is able to run,' could mean that he is physically capable of running or that he is capable of fleeing. We would need more context to determine what the speaker is saying, though, whereas 'He is able to run away,' has no such lack of clarity. Secondly, arriver does not translate as 'to be able'. It roughly means, 'to happen' or 'to arrive,' depending on the context, so while your answer does get the meaning of the French sentence across, there are a couple reasons why it would be marked as incorrect.
That would be il arrive à courir. Run and flee are different. Fleeing is running from something. (BTW I Think it is unfair to downvote people just for asking questions. I upvoted you from-2 to -1 ) :=))
Not really. "To manage to do X" vs. "to do X" have very different connotations in English. "Manage to" implies overcoming difficulty. "He fled" doesn't imply that there was anyone or anything trying to prevent him from fleeing. "He managed to flee" implies that fleeing wasn't easy.