"Il est avant sa femme."

Translation:He is before his wife.

February 11, 2013

67 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Martytoof

Maybe it's just me, but the english translation of this is very unnatural. I can't think of when I'd say "he is before his wife". It would be more natural to say "he is here before his wife" or "he arrives before his wife", but "he is before his wife" seems lacking. Is this more natural in French, or is this just a duolingo-ism?

May 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/oskalingo
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As a native speaker (Australian) this sounds completely natural to me and was the translation I typed in.

One situation I can imagine is a couple waiting to see a doctor and the receptionist tells the nurse 'He is before his wife.'

July 2, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/roman2095
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Another Australian here (Sydney). This is common in Australia and is the answer I typed.

March 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Carcarlene
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Yeah, i see it as a man literally standing and presenting himself to his wife.

"He stands before the jury" litterally facing the jury.

When i type "he is ahead of his wife" in this lesson, it is accepted and makes much more sense to me

March 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
Mod
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"Ahead of" is the same as "before" in this context. "Avant" can be used temporally, spatially, or figuratively:

  • Nous arriverons avant vous = We will arrive before you.
  • D'ici, la boulangerie est avant la pharmacie = From here, the baker is before the pharmacy.
  • Ma famille passe avant ma carrière = My family comes before my career.

http://www.wordreference.com/fren/avant

July 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/nectarivorous

Quoting from the Tips & Notes for this lesson:

Devant and avant both mean "before", but devant is spatial while avant is temporal.

If avant can be spatial also, this probably needs to be amended in the notes, if possible. Merci!

May 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
Mod
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Both spatial and temporal references are accepted (e.g., in front of). You can report the suggestion directly at the bottom of the Tips & Notes page.

June 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/nectarivorous

I would have, but the report button does not appear at the bottom of this particular page, not for me at least. I thought maybe you could refer it back as a moderator. I thank you regardless for informing correctly, but would be good to remove it from the tips as I would have gone forward thinking that avant could only be temporal. :)

June 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/shriramk

Can't they just be standing somewhere, and he standing before her?

May 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Martytoof

But that would be "devant", not "avant", unless I'm mistaken.

May 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/richardherlihy

This leaves me a little confused too. I would assume devant lends itself to meaning "in front of", as in "he was in front of her in the queue". But "before" could be used in a temporal sense in the same example: "he was before her in the queue" with a similar meaning.

September 29, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Apfelle

Unless I completely misunderstood, I think I've gathered from some older French texts that the 'devant' / 'avant' dynamic is more or less the same as the 'in front of' / 'before' one in English -- so, it could be said that 'he is in front of his wife' (devant), or 'he is before his wife' (avant). They do carry ever so slightly different meanings (even in this sense), and in more recent times 'avant' may have fallen out of favour, or become reserved for more formal and / or poetic uses, as in English; but I do believe they're both valid. (Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong though!)

April 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/nectarivorous

devant - spacial, ie, standing in front of avant - temporal, ie, occurring prior to

April 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Apfelle

As an amendment to my previous comment: I've looked this up and can't find anything (in modern sources) to support 'avant' being used with (nearly) identical meaning to 'devant' -- but I'm sure I've read it that way somewhere. Perhaps it's used that way only poetically?

April 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/smearedink

No, this goes back to the spatial/temporal distinction I was talking about above.

May 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PupilTommo

In a queue at the dentist he could be before his wife!

July 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Ralfy182

he is ahead of his wife should be correct also

August 2, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/tajger
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Or He is in front of his wife.

February 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/GerJapa

No actually "avant" is used to indicate before as in time, while "devant" is the word to say "in front of".

July 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AabLevellen

Yes it is accepted. Perhaps it has not always been accepted by duo.

March 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/RockyRogue

That means he's in front.

October 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/feyMorgaina
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Not necessarily. It could mean that he is "next" and his wife isn't "next". Being the next person doesn't necessarily imply that the person is spatially in front of the other. For example, the man and his wife are both waiting for service and they are both given numbers. His number is ahead of hers, so he is next to be served. This doesn't mean he has to be standing in front of her the whole time while they are waiting - they could just go sit down.

January 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/stenssona

Could this also be translated as: He is in front of his wife?

February 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Hohenems
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In this example,
avant = before
devant = in front

February 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/smearedink

But does this still imply that he's in front of her? Is this "before" meant in the temporal or spatial sense? (Or either?) EDIT: One of the other discussions clarified that this is temporal, not spatial, I think.

March 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Joel-Iowan

What is the difference between spatial and temporal?

April 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/smearedink

Spatial: Positioned before his wife, like standing in front of her. Temporal: Before his wife in the sense of time, like he's going into the doctor's office before her.

April 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/pjbf1979
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"in front of" was just accepted

April 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/naticast
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Why not "He is before her wife"? Does the "sa" necessarily have to refer to the subject of the sentence?

July 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/shriramk

As I understand it, it can be: the sa is determined entirely by the femme. The "his"/"her" part seems to be determined entirely from context, and in this case Duolingo is assuming a heterosexual couple (which is an assumption, not a given).

July 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
Mod
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Grammatically, "sa" may be either "his" or "her", but it will be understood by a native speaker as referring to the subject of the sentence.

June 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/smile2477

Is there a difference between the pronunciation of avant and avons?

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/MannyOD
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The vowel in the second syllable of "avant" sounds almost exactly like the first, but slightly more nasal. The vowel in the second syllable of "avons" is a nasal o. If you were to look in a mirror while saying them, your mouth would be open for the first, but almost closed for the second.

November 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/AabLevellen

Avant is pronounced avɑ̃ Avons is pronounced avɔ̃ except the tilde ~ should be over the ɑ and̃ ɔ respectedly. (The app I use for the phonetics doesn't go well with this forum).

February 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AabLevellen

And the tilde (~) tells us that the sound is a nasal one. Thus both avant and avons end in nasal, but different nasal, sounds.

March 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Martineczech

I can't decode it from the comments: Does this mean "in front of", "before" (in the sense of time) or can it mean both?

June 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/smearedink

"Before" in the sense of time.

June 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/jabenpor
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there is any difference in the sound between Ça and sa?

October 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/smearedink

I don't think so, no. But only "sa" works in this sentence grammatically.

October 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/jabenpor
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i don´t get it. why don´t work "il est avant Ça femme" (he is before that woman)

October 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/smearedink

"Ça" is not an article. You are thinking of "ce/cette". Since "femme" is feminine (thankfully), your sentence would be "Il est avant cette femme."

October 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/T.A.R.D.I.S.girl

Can you conjugate 'avant'? S'il vous plait?

December 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/neverfox

Avant is a preposition; you don't conjugate prepositions, only verbs.

February 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/GerJapa

I translated it literally as "He is before his wife" and it's correct, but I can't understand the context of using this sentence in French. What do they mean "avant" here? Like he arrives before his wife or finishes something or was born before his wife?

July 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/feyMorgaina
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Think of the scenario where they are waiting for service, perhaps at a government office or a doctor's office or a hospital.

January 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/NapoleonVEVO

Shouldn't this be 'il est devant sa femme'?

August 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
Mod
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Devant = en avant = in front of. Avant = before (temporal, spatial, figurative). http://www.wordreference.com/fren/avant In this sentence, either devant or avant are accepted.

July 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MaurDL
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DL accepts "before" and "ahead of" as answers for "avant". From the comments it seems this is because avant is "temporal" (i.e. either translation works if you consider his relation to the woman in terms of being in a queue).

February 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Konim96
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Does this mean in the sense of being in front of someone? Like, "Come before me, and kneel", says the King.

February 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

That would be "devant" as in "in front of." "Avant" is more like "ahead of" as in "Il court avec sa femme, mais elle est avant lui."

February 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Konim96
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Merci pour ton aide ^-^

February 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

De rien ! :-)

March 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Amanda39912

Femme means woman

May 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

It also means "wife."

May 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/aliskysky

could (avant) and (devant) be interchangeable at times?

July 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

"Avant" is chronological and "devant" is physical. There may be times in which the two are interchangeable, but I can't think of one off the top of my head.

July 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/sam82410
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wouldnt be better "he is in front of his wife?"

September 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/aliskysky

I think that would be 'Il est devant sa femme'

September 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/clnoy
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Imagine people are standing in a straight line, in front of each other. You can say they're avant or devant each other, both words apply here.

Now imagine a bank line, where people get a number ticket and wait seated for them to be called by their number. Maybe they're sitting in front of you: then you can say they're devant. But maybe they're not even near, but they're before you in the line: so you can only say they're avant.

September 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Michael_O_Brien

With the liaison between "est" and "avant" I thought it said "est" and "devant". And then got it wrong. Is there any way to know the difference in pronunciation

December 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

There is a subtle difference in pronunciation between the "a" in "avant" and the "e" in "devant." Without context, it'll just take listening to a lot of French to consistently hear the difference.

December 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/effyleven
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If he is in front of his wife, it's a good job she's so much taller in those heels, otherwise we wouldn't see her in "la photoraphe."

June 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/duolingerie

"He is before her wife" is not excepted. Am I being too picky or is there a reason for this not to be accepted?

August 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

No reason that I can think of...

August 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/abderrahim841562

what's wrong with "behind" !

March 16, 2019
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