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"Il aime les travaux dans le jardin."

Translation:He likes the works in the garden.

February 15, 2013

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This is a SERIOUSLY bad question. I am completely and totally confused, even after your explanation Sitesurf - and that's unusual. I'm a educator and this question should go - it causes far more confusion that anything else. I'm just going to pretend I didn't see it.


I respectfully disagree. I think these tough questions that really compel you to check the comments for Sitesurf (and others') explanations (even if duo has merely made a mistake) are the best way to actually get full understanding. You won't learn from just passing a bunch of easy and non-controversial exercises. Struggling is the way the brain grows.


The easiest way to look at this statement is to remember travaux is a noun linked to the verb, travailler. Once you remember that, les travaux and similar constructs are easy to understand.


I don't what your comment adds to the overall thread as its already been discussed that the meaning of les travaux (in Eng) is what's debatable. So what's your translation?


I always remember it as it is, "the works".

Then I refer back to English, where we call an author or poet's writing "a work" which becomes collectively known as "the works" when talking about multiple pieces (e.g. The works of Shakespeare.)


Exactly. Except, the given solution is "He likes working in the garden." The difficulty here is in finding an English translation which works within the confines of this phrase. But then, if you've already read through this thread, you'll see these points are already well covered.


That's translation I'm afraid.

It's temperamental.


"Then I refer back to English, where we call an author or poet's writing "a work" which becomes collectively known as "the works" when talking about multiple pieces (e.g. The works of Shakespeare.)"

That's a different kind of "works", though, isn't it? That would be œuvres in French, I think.


I'm talking in terms of English, not French.

But yes, une œuvre in French is usually applied to any creative works (writing, art etc). Un œuvre though, is a deed.


@Ronnie-M, I'm talking about a distinction in French (between "travaux" and "œuvres"). In French I've only seen "œuvres" used to talk about the body of work of a writer, never "travaux". I'm certainly far from an expert in French though, so perhaps an expert/native speaker could clarify?


In English there's no distinction. In French, Oeuvre is much more specific, but I don't see why les travaux couldn't have this type of connotation.

Here's a link to a few examples of both (and others).


@anaparastasis - Yes, I understood what you mean that's why I made the distinction. Did you look at the link I posted? (Actually, Linguee isn't displaying the link correctly). Here are examples:

"...whether the works at issue in the main proceedings were to be subject to an environmental impact assessment."

"...que les autorités compétentes ont correctement apprécié si les travaux en cause dans le litige au principal devaient"


"The works submitted for publication are not taken into account."

"Les travaux soumis pour publication ne sont pas pris en considération."


"...student titles currently in the works."

"... les ouvrages pour les étudiants actuellement en préparation."


"Behold this world: arrogant, defiant, and proud of the works of man that astonish the generations of this century."

"Observez ce monde, hautain, provocateur, et orgueilleux de toutes les œuvres des hommes par lesquelles ils ahurissent les générations de ce siècle."

There are more examples where the uses cross over in French but where it is most specific about "works" referring to works of art, les oeuvres is preferred, but not in all cases.


why is "he likes jobs in the garden" unacceptable? To me, it sounds better than "he likes works in the garden"--which IS acceptable.


They wouldn't sound so awkward if you didn't leave out the article. So why are you?


When is travail used in plural? Is there a rule? Or is "les travaux dans le jardin" idiomatic and can be considered an exception?


With this very sentence, you could understand:

  • il aime le travail au jardin (gardening)
  • il aime travailler dans le jardin (gardening)
  • il aime les travaux dans le jardin : in that case, it can be either gardening or some other works, like digging activities (swimming pool, for ex.), or any kind of building (a log cabin for ex.) that would just happen to take place in the garden.

However only my example nb2 is about him doing the work. in Duolingo's sentence "il aime les travaux dans le jardin", it can be someone else working or having worked (works can be finished)


@Sitesurf - Ex's 1 2 are perfectly fine for me. However, DL gives ex 3, stated as "He likes working in the garden".

Its difficult to see how, in English, this means something other than "He enjoys doing work in the garden". I agree it could be any sort of work - in fact, I'd go further in saying he could be doing paperwork or writing a novel for instance. Imo it doesn't have to relate to the garden, although this is clearly the implication.

But, the French "les travaux" makes little sense to me unless it means work already completed in the garden (relating to gardening). Either the English translation isn't quite correct or I still don't understand exactly what les travaux means. For example, WR references the title:

les douze travaux d' Hercule as The twelve labours of Hercules...

... which to me makes sense as "the labours" in this sense seems to be a noun.

  • He likes working in the garden = il aime travailler dans le jardin.

You are right, in this case, he is doing the work, we don't know which kind of work it can be an he can be writing a novel as well. But both are correct and matching perfectly.

  • Il aime les travaux dans le jardin = he likes the digging, gardening, building... tasks happening in the garden.

Several interpretations from the French:

  • he is the one actually working... or not;
  • the work in progress can be, as above, any kind of active task;
  • however "les travaux" does not cover quiet activities like writing a novel.

To sum it up, translating "il aime les travaux dans le jardin" to "he likes working in the garden" is an interpretation; "he likes the work being done in the garden" can be another one.


Thanks for responding. I agree completely with il aime travailler dans le jardin. But DL didin't give this option in the exercise. I think for my brain to acclimatise, I'll keep in mind "He likes the work being done in the garden", just so I can differentiate the given translation from "il aime travailler dans le jardin". Merci.


Although I did not attempt to answer in this manner but can we also say that "He/She likes works connected with the garden in the context of say hobby? http://www.linguee.fr/francais-anglais/search?source=auto&query=les+travaux


I put [what I thought was] the correct answer "He likes working in the garden" and got marked wrong and told the correct answer was "He likes works in the garden". App failure. Grrrr...


he likes working in the garden = il aime travailler dans le jardin: it means that he is doing the work himself.

il aime les travaux dans le jardin = he likes the works (done) in the garden: we don't know who is doing (did) the work.


I'm a native speaker in America with a graduate degree and a gardener. I have never, ever, seen a native speaker refer to "works in the garden" as a noun. Normally, we don't employ gardeners, but if we did, I would expect to say something like "he likes what the gardener is doing." Perhaps we simply don't regard the gardener as doing "works" (that implies fine arts, which are unusable, a debate which is dear to my heart and which I lose in the art market). However, I am quite sure that no Midwesterner would ever refer to "works in the garden" as a noun. The French may be correct, but the English is simply and emphatically wrong.


I can appreciate what you are trying to convey in the French, but from an American English point of view, the English translation makes no sense. This is not a sentence anybody in the US would naturally say and it would just lead to many questions as they try to get the real meaning. I said DL's English version to my wife and she assumed it referred to artwork in a garden. For me to understand a phrase, I need to equivalent meaning in both languages and not just the equivalent words. I find quite a few of these in DL where I just have to memorize the "correct" answer even if it doesn't make sense as an English sentence.


Thanks. I was confused when I came to this conversation thread because yesterday the translation at the top of this page matched what I had written, "He likes working..." so I thought that was correct. Today it says, "He likes the works..." I don't know if it was just a glitch on my phone or something, but it makes sense now.


You know, we make changes everyday in the course. So, up-dates may be more or less quick to appear. I assume your phone is fine!


Hi Sitesurf, I would urge you to remove "He likes the works in the garden." as a correct solution -- a native speaker of English would ask the speaker of that sentence to clarify his meaning. There are works of art, works of literature, and in a garden maybe even works of floral and shrubbery arrangements. But when it refers to labor, "work" stays singular; it is kind of a collective noun. After a month away from home, you could say there are many jobs or tasks, but you would have a lot of work to do in your garden.


First, what I meant by "work" is a collective noun is that in the singular form, it can refer to more than one thing. "Travaux" is plural and refers to more than one thing, but that "pluralness" (for lack of a better word) should not be carried over to English in this case.

Second, to respond to your examples: in English, we don't say "renovation works", we use the singular: "There is a lot of renovation work being done on my house, both the kitchen and the bathroom will have new floors." We don't say "road works", we say, "There is road work on Main Street at both 1st Avenue and 5th Avenue." We do say "men at work", not "men at works" (your example is correct there).

"He likes the works in the garden." is simply not something a native speaker of English would say if he meant "travaux".


"les travaux" is collective as well, and it has its own meanings:

  • je fais des travaux chez moi = renovation works
  • il y a des travaux sur la route = road works
  • sign: "attention, travaux" = "men at work"
  • travaux de terrassement = earthworks

"les travaux dans le jardin/the works in the garden" can be about putting in a swimming pool. The man (he) may like what is being done by workers in his garden, or he may like digging foundations or building his own tool shed.

Again, "les travaux" have nothing to do with art (les oeuvres/les sculptures) in that context, and "he" may or may not be the one working.

I can agree that this sentence is difficult, but it is not wrong to illustrate what "les travaux" can mean in French.


This is what I found in my dictionary:

plural noun
1. [mechanism] mécanisme m, rouages mpl [of clock] mouvement m
to foul up OR to gum up the works (informal) tout foutre en l'air
2. civil engineering [construction] travaux mpl [installation] installations fpl
road works travaux
Minister/Ministry of Works ministre m /ministère m des Travaux publics

What do you think? is it a British thing?


We do NOT say this in American English, which is what you are teaching. We would never say it like this. It makes zero sense. If by "the works", you mean garden projects or plantings, say that. Otherwise, Juanitotravels is correct - work is a collective noun with regard to construction, planting, etc. "Works" refers to individual items like paintings, stories, etc. Seriously, every American is going to get this wrong because your translation is really bad for this.


Ah, yes, it could be a British thing, I had not considered that at all. "Gum up the works" is used in the US, but as your dictionary indicates, it is quite informal (perhaps even idiomatic).


I understand "travaux" here to be, he likes the works (construction) done in the garden. If "en travaux" is "under construction", it seems logical to me it's referring to work that was completed (constructing a fixture, statue, etc.) in the garden.


why doesn't "he likes garden jobs" work


I think the point is it is just a bad question. What does it even intend to convey. When would anyone actually say "he likes the works in the garden". I suspect in 55 years alive I have never said that, nor has anyone said it to me. It is a pointless thing to learn. Just meaningless. Unless in France people do go around saying things like this, i suppose ...


I mean. Yes. There you go. I hope it makes you feel better.

I hope you have read the thread. I'm not sure if your comment added to the debate.

However, consider that the only thing which may be "wrong" here is le jardin as the contextual setting.

What about "il aime les travaux dans la musée". Would that be more acceptable?

In reality, Sitesurf has already given some practical French examples of les travaux's contextual use.

The other good thing about this ill fitting phrase is that it has engendered a lot of debate and clarification.


What about "he likes tasks in the garden"?


It should be 'He likes to work in the garden' . the provided translation doesn't make sense.


No, that'll be "il aime travailler dans le jardin"


Why not "He likes garden work" :(


I have read all the comments for this sentence, and it seems the 'correct' translation has changed. I do not like the translation 'He likes working in the garden' because this would be 'Il aime travailler dans le jardin'. I do like the translation that seems to have been dropped 'He likes the works in the garden'. This seems true to the French translation and, after all there is a huge difference. One translation is commenting that he enjoys working in the garden. The other is commenting that he is impressed by the work that somebody has done in the garden. I see this situation as unresolved, with an unsatisfactory official translation.


From what I can see today the given translation is still the works.


I entered the translation above ("He likes working in the garden.") and it was wrong!

According to Duo, "he likes the works in the garden" is correct.

Yikes. That is so hideous that I don't even want to type it, only I won't be able to finish the lesson unless I do.

Yes, it's the literal translation, and like most literal translations, it's painfully cumbersome as well as unclear. Does that mean there is work to be done in the garden and he likes those works, or there are construction works being done in the garden and he likes those?


this translation is completely incorrect English. Duolingo should fix this.


Is the translation wrong? Or is the example a poor one (in English)?


The given translation "He likes the works in the garden" is nonsense. "workING" in the garden or some KIND of works (water works, for instance) but by itself "the works" applies to things like a sandwich with every available topping. Yes, people have works--the works of Shakespeare--but gardens don't create things, they are creations


In contemporary British English, this is a correct way of speaking e.g., "Please pardon us while we complete these important works." So, this could be "works" that are taking place or completed in the gardens. BTW: Garden in Brit-speak is a lawn.


Er no. A garden is a garden in the UK. I don't think Kew Gardens is a "lawn".


No, the difference is whether it is singular (lawn in U.S. English) or plural like in a park as you said in Kew Gardens. Take it from a former U.K. resident as I wouldn't have made this up, lol. I didn't mention the common usage of a cultivated plot of land as in this case both forms of English are the same, and moreover it is not the usage under discussion.

BTW: Where do you live? English takes many different forms or nuances even in America.

Finally, a piece of advice. If you ever visit the U.K., and speak with actual British people, then the worst thing you can do is to refer to their garden as a yard. In Brit-speak, a yard is an unkempt, untended plot of land. You will be lucky if your nose is not bloodied as a result..


Who mentioned a yard? I am looking at my lovely Cheltenham garden right now, which just so happens to contain a recently mown lawn (from an actual British person, living in actual Britain).


Ha ha. So glad you are not a virtual person living in virtual Britain. By the way, just for interest, we have 'back yards' and 'front yards' in Australia, both of which can contain beautiful gardens and lawns. The back yard here in Australia has traditionally been a place for family 'back yard cricket'.


However, the flag indicates this course is American English. And I swear to you, we would never, ever, ever say it like that. It's, you know, rubbish. :)


I didn't know this was an Amarican English course? Damn, I need to start the BE to AE course!


this English sentence makes zero sense., at least in the English I know. I suggest a different example be explored.


Duo shouldn't invent a new language just in order to translate French sentences literally.


You deserve a lingot. That made me laugh!


This is a definite 'no no' in UK English. It is garden work - singular - something that just has to be learnt, as with other languages. You have 'written work', 'housework' but 'road works'. C'est la vie!


"He likes the works in the garden" makes ZERO sense in English. If you mean "He likes to work in the garden", SAY it that way, however it is said in French. If you mean "he likes the work that was done in the garden" say it THAT way. We would not have any earthly idea what this English sentence means.


Which one is better "He likes the works in the garden" or the given answer "He likes working in a garden" in this case


I spoke to a coworker whose native language is French and he said that "He likes working in the garden" is an acceptable translation for the sentence. He said technically that it is "He likes the works in the garden" but in English it makes more sense to say the prior.


why doesn't "labours" fit in the equation?


In my opinion, "labours" suggests heavy-duty plowing, not really what you do in a garden but in a big field.


"he likes gardening" worked for me


Just so you know, "gardening" is "le jardinage"


I read 'les travaux' as art works - eg sculptures, so translated it as 'he likes the works in the garden' - which was accepted


sculptures are generally not referred to as "des travaux", but "des oeuvres".


I don't understand why"les travaux" is plural.


Les travaux translates to 'the works'; It is plural of le travail (the work).

I tend to think of it in a not-so-literal sense, such as: the jobs/chores/activites/tasks (all work related)... Substitute any of those back in and the sentence becomes:

"he likes the (jobs/tasks/activites) in the garden." - all plural

'the works' sounds strange in english, but it is accepted in french, not everything is going to translate literally so try putting in word with a similar english meaning that will make the association more natural. Those words may have a different translation to french but it will help to remember that a plural works in this sentence.


It is a delicate balance divining when Duolingo is going to go for the literal translation or the one which seems to be naturally spoken.


when I hovered over "travaux", a word I had not encountered before, it said it could translate as "yard work". I put "yard work", but it marked me incorrect.


What was your full sentence?


He likes the yard work in the garden. The only thing duolingo marked incorrect was my use of the word "yard".


In which case it's because "les travaux dans le jardin" in it's own right could be translated as "yard work" (or my preference, "garden work"). So in effect you've duplicated the translation by saying "yard work in the garden".

In all honesty, I feel this could be an acceptable translation but I would agree with Duo that it's not the best available. However, you could always report it as an alternative translation.


Where I am lost is that I translated as "He likes working in the yard" and was marked incorrect as "He likes working in the garden." Couldn't it realistically be either?


it should be he likes working in the garden. this is getting really bad. il aime travaillier dan le jardin


This just happens to be a sentence that is difficult to translate. I think of it as "He likes the renovations being done in the garden" or "He likes the work being done in the garden" or perhaps "He likes the work that can be done in the garden (Which could mean that he likes working in the garden)


Yes. I'm smiling at the thought of using the expression 'I'm going out to the garden to do some renovations. Very funny.


Well, I admit that wasn't the best translation, but perhaps ;)

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