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  5. "J'ai peur d'y aller."

"J'ai peur d'y aller."

Translation:I am afraid to go.

February 10, 2013



Doesn't this always mean "I am afraid to go there" (notice "there")? If you would be afraid to go somewhere in general you would say "J'ai peur d'aller", right?


In French, you will always need to specify where you are going to:

"j'ai peur d'aller dans le métro"; "j'ai peur d'y aller" ; "j'ai peur d'aller là-bas".


But, "j'ai peur d'y aller" does not have the "there" specified, right?


"y" = there.

it is required in French with the verb aller, but not in English.


Why consider it incorrect if we include "there" in the English? To me, it's the same thing: "I am afraid to go" == "I am afraid to go there," but DL marks it wrong.


I added the missing variant. Thanks.


I would guess that it is likely fairly arbitrary. If you said that to a French person, I would guess that you would be able to express what you mean well enough. DL seems to split hairs a lot. I put "I have a fear of going there" and was marked incorrect even though the sentence expresses the exact same idea as "I am afraid to go there." Certainly there could be someone (including myself) who could argue against this, but, again, it would be splitting hairs and would be an arbitrary difference.


The French say "avoir peur". The English say "to be afraid". Try to translate the idiomatic French into idiomatic English: J'ai peur d'y aller => I'm afraid to go. It is not at all arbitrary and it isn't splitting hairs. You want to speak and write French correctly and you want to use English to translate it, not Franglish (literal translations of French idioms into awkward English).


Wouldn't 'a fear' require a corresponding indefinite article in the French?


It would if it were not a set phrase, as already mentioned above:

  • j'ai peur = I am afraid
  • j'ai faim = I am hungry
  • j'ai soif = I am thirsty
  • j'ai honte = I am ashamed


I agree with Jacob. I think that the mere fact that french requires you to identify where it is you are going makes this sentence correct. If Y=there, so why isnt this "i am afraid to go there"? Or even "i have fear of going there." The latter may sound a bit awkward, but it gets the same point across - having fear of going to that location.


Duolingo has you translate idiomatic French to idiomatic English instead of a literal translation which would not be used much in English.


why not "I have a fear of going"? maybe to awkward in english?


It is not outrageous but it is not idiomatic English. If you are reporting to your doctor about a debilitating problem, you might say "I have a fear of (something)". In normal conversation, you say "I'm afraid of...."


Is "fear to..." translated as "peur de"? If so, If I wanted to say "I have a fear of...", how would I say that? Would it something like "j'ai peur les airagnées"?


"peur de" needs that the object keeps "de".

  • "fear of the spiders" (specific spiders) = peur des (= contraction of de+les) araignées
  • "fear of spiders" (generality) = (ditto)


Because the verb is introduced with 'have' I thought that this would turn it to past tense so I put "I feared going there". Can this not be right?


You are right, many verbs have a compound past starting with "j'ai", but "peur" is not a past participle; it is a noun (la peur).


I put "I fear to go there" but was marked wrong. The correct translation is "I am afraid to go," which is pretty darn close to what I wrote except for the "y," which I translated because I thought I must. Anyhow, is my error that I translated "j'ai peur" as "I fear"? Since "peur" is not a verb, is the correct translation of "avoir peur de" always some iteration of being afraid, rather than fearing?


Actually, you have answered your own question. A sentence using the verb "fear" would use the French "craindre". Je crains d'y aller. In the expression "J'ai peur de...", peur is a noun and the French idiom breaks down (literally) to "I have fear of" but will be translated as "I'm afraid of...."


Well, upon re-reading my query, I sure did :) I feel a bit goofy now for having asked. Thank you for your reply and explanation. A lingot for your kindness!


In French "y" refers always a place so definitely "there". For example: je vais à la maison. J'y vais.


With this verb "y" refers to a place or "there", but not with all verbs, so it is always a replacement for a prepositional phrase that starts with "à".

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