"There is nothing to eat."

Translation:Il n'y a rien à manger.

6 years ago

47 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/sparkplug
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Could somone explain why 'de manger' is incorrect? When should you use 'à' and when do you use 'de'?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/codeandcoffeh

"De" is only used after certain verbs.

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/preposition_de_2.htm

The "à" here is being used to have a passive infinitive.

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/passiveinf.htm

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ebbrown
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I have the same question as this. My mind automatically went to "de manger" instead of " 'à manger"

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/camanokunz

de means of, from, or some.

de + le (of the) contracts to du.

de + les (of the) contracts to des.

de la has no contraction.

HOWEVER,

à means to or at.

à + le (to the) contracts to au

à + les (to the) contracts to aux

THEREFORE:

There is nothing TO eat needs the à.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Slovenec

manger means "to eat", so it includes the "to". Why would "à" be needed as an additional "to"? We say "Je veux manger", not "Je veux à manger". Likewise, "Je ne veux pas manger", not "Je ne veux pas à manger".

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MultiLinguAlex
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Because:

  • "Je ne veux pas manger" -- active infinitive
  • "Il n'y a rien à manger" -- passive infinitive
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wuzizname

Good summary but I'd add à also means "with" as in "café au lait". It's really hard to get a handle on the prepositions and articles, for me at least.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zoehbird
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I wouldn't be too hasty with that direct translation into english ...there are MANY instances in french where "de" and "a" do not translate directly into english and where the english version uses "to" but the french version uses "de".

I struggled with this through all of my french classes, and still don't have it down because it isn't as simple as a direct translation.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LeChatParle
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De, à, and pour can all mean "to" in certain scenarios, so it wouldn't be wise to say what you're saying.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/adanbro

Same! Would appreciate if someone would answer this.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ebbrown
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My French speaking friend said that you would not use "de manger" because it sounds like you're saying There is nothing OF eating instead of There is nothing TO eat when correctly using "à manger". I guess it's just something that we'll have to commit to memory.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/staafl
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why not "il n'y a rien pour manger"?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kaiverus
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The construction "pour + verb" is used for purpose ("Il l'a fait pour nous aider." He did it [in order] to help us.) or description ("Il est trop avare pour nous aider." He is too stingy to help us). (Examples from http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/preposition_pour.htm)

The word "à" is used instead in passive constructions, when the verb is modifying a noun (usually with indefinite words like "something" or "anybody"). The passive infinitive can also be translated into the English passive form, e.g. "There is nothing to be eaten".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/willijanb

So, kaiverus, is "rien" the noun being modified here, or is there no noun here? Thanks for your help.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kaiverus
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"Rien"/"nothing" is a pronoun I believe so, yes, it is the thing that "manger" is modifying (since pronouns just take the place of nouns).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/willijanb

Thank you! Your original explanation of "a" in passive constructions was totally new to me. And with your second answer, I feel like I'm beginning to understand this.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mstein31

There isn't nothing to eat? Seems like a double-negative....

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mhaaz
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It is a double negative, if you translate every word and look at it from the English perspective. This is acceptable in French (and Spanish, too) in a lot of cases.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ElGusso
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it's not a double negative in French, as "rien" etymologically means "thing".

You can see that clearly in "ne... personne", in which "personne" is initially a positive word.

"There isn't nothing to eat" (double negative in English) would be "Il n'y a pas rien à manger"... oddly enough.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mhaaz
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Very interesting, thanks for the correction and the insight :))

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/llamnuds

I thought that at first. But nowI think that the n and the rien work as a pair, like n and pas normally do.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Arhielanto

I forgot the " n' ", which I know is technically wrong; but I thought that in everyday usage it's often dropped. Is that so, or am I presuming wrong here?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rljones
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I think I need a native francophone here. "pas de . . ." is good French. "rien de. . ." is also good French, as in "rien de nouveau." I might be led to think that it is the following infinitive, "manger," that demands "à," but then there's "Cà ne coûte rien de demander." Is this just an idiomatic usage, or is there more going on here?

I'd appreciate some clarification.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/eelliiss

can i say "il n'y a pas" ?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bardia
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there is not nothing to eat = there is something to eat!

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dieuwertje

What about "il n'y a pas à manger"? Can you say "there is food" by "il y a à manger"?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Johnni0
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You can say "il y a quelque chose à manger" (there is something to eat). "il n'y a pas à manger" translates to "there is not to eat", which makes no sense. And "there is food" is simply "il y a des nourriture" or something like that.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dieuwertje

I've read about an expression "il y a à boire et à manger". Can you use this form also outside this expression? And can you use this sentence also if you want to say that there will be drinks and food (eg at a party)?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LuisM.pt

Il n'y a pas à manger = there isn't to eat. Il y a à manger = there is to eat. It's missing something. The "pas" is simple negative, you need a negative article referring to something, rien = nothing

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Flyer123

What's the difference between "a manger" and "pour manger"? Thanks

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mhaaz
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"Pour" states purpose before infinitives, while "à" makes this a so called passive infinitive. Look carefully on this discussion for the relevant link, I'm on mobile and can't provide it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JessicaBoak
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Same question as efleeclc!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LuisM.pt

"Il n'y a pas quelque chose à manger" = there ISN'T SOMETHING to eat "Il n'y a rien à manger" = there is NOTHING to eat

Not sure if in english the first is gramatically incorrect, but it certainly doesn't sound right. It makes much more sense saying directly nothing

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mhaaz
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You would use "anything" instead of "something" to make it sound, and be, correct. Both are just fine in English:
"There is nothing to eat"
" There isn't anything to eat"
Note that French uses a double negative, negating the verb (n'y a) and the object as well (rien). The literal translation would be " There isn't nothing to eat" , but in French (Spanish, too) double negatives aren't a problem.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SourireCache

Why not il n'y a plus à manger?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/linguisticat
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il n'y a plus à manger means "there is no more to eat" not "there is nothing to eat"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/yoav1997

Why not c'est rien a manger?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mhaaz
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That would translate to
"It is nothing to eat" which hardly makes sense. Use être to describe how something is, to describe its properties.
Use "Il y a" (there is) when stating that there is something, when talking about its presence, its existence.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/savage_queen01

Why not il n'y a PAS rien a manger?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ElGusso
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  • ne ... pas = [do] not

e.g. "I want this" = "Je veux ça" / "I don't want this" = "Je ne veux pas ça

e.g. "There is enough salt" = "Il y a assez de sel" / "There is not enough salt" = "Il n'y a pas assez de sel"

That's the basic negative.

  • "ne ... pas" + "quelque chose" makes "ne ... rien" = "not" + "something" makes "nothing"

e.g. "I want something" = "Je veux quelque chose" / "I want nothing (or I don't want anything)" = "Je ne veux rien

e.g. "There is something to eat" = "Il y a quelque chose à manger" / "There is nothing to eat" = "Il n'y a rien à manger"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jschembr

Why is the "y" included? With the "y" doesn't the sentence become "There is nothing to eat there"?

6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/patlaf
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It is a negation of the "il y a" construction. "il y a" = "there is" so you can negate it to say "there is nothing" by negating it with rien: "il n'y a rien".

6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/efleeclc

Does anyone know why "Il n'y a pas quelque chose à manger" is incorrect? I know that it is not as compact as the solution they wrote, but I think it means the same thing?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mhaaz
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As far as I understand, "quelque chose" (anything, something) is not used for negation - like it is in English. So in French, what would be a double negative is used instead:
"There isn't anything to eat" turns into
" There isn't (n'y a) nothing (rien) to eat".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EfreetSultan

Why 'rien à manger' is not correct?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/XZMd

Why not "Il n'y a PAS rien....?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/deerhan

I put y a rien de mager? I guess i have to out the full Il n'y a pas de manger

4 years ago
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