1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Elle tient un chat."

"Elle tient un chat."

Translation:She is holding a cat.

February 15, 2013



"She keeps a cat" should be correct as well.

  • 2030

The French verb "tenir" can indeed mean several different things. In the sense of "keep", here are some examples:

  • tenir sa chambre propre = to keep one's room tidy
  • tenir les aliments au frais = to keep food in a cool place
  • tenir la porte fermée = to keep the door closed
  • tenir sa droite/sa gauche = to keep to the right/to the left

Context has a significant influence in which verb you use. You would use "garder" in the sense of "to look after" (a person, a child, an animal). Examining "tenir" in context does not show it being used in the sense of "keeping" an animal. The Oxford French Dictionary actually suggests "avoir" in that sense. When "keep" is used, it is generally in the sense of "keep in check", "hold onto" (Il tient son chien en laisse = He keeps his dog on a leash), or sometimes "maintain" (Son appartement est très bien tenu = His flat is very well maintained) -WordReference. So look to context to help you decide whether you are "in charge of" the cat, or you are "holding" the cat.


So when would you use 'garder' versus using 'tenir'?

  • 2030

"Garder" is used when you want to say "to look after" (someone or something). http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/garder/36086


It says, 'has' as the first correct translation.


"She has a cat" is marked as incorrect now.

  • 2030

"Tenir" is a really interesting and flexible verb. Take a look here: http://www.wordreference.com/fren/tenir


But according to wordnet, e.g., to hold
6. Have or possess, either in a concrete or an abstract sense.
She holds/has a Master's degree. She has/holds $1000 in the bank
... who knows... She has a cat (?)

  • 2030

Apparently you didn't try "has" again because you would find that it is now accepted.


I don't know if your comment is related to mine, but it's a good information anyway.
Likewise, I say that "Ella tiene un gato" is accepted in the French course in Spanish, though many disagree...
Tenir => Sostener, mantener( agarrado/asido), sujetar, agarrar, tener(?) => To hold, keep, maintain, sustain, grip/grasp, have(?).
By the way, wordreference↑ didn't include "to have" as a translation (neither main nor additional).


Why not she owns a cat ?


In Spanish "tener" means "to have". In many southern Italians dialects too "tenere" means "to have", but in standard Italian it means "to hold". In French "tenir" means only "to hold".


Except the hints also suggest "keep" and "be in charge of"

  • 2030

Context will guide you through the maze of uses for this verb. http://www.wordreference.com/fren/tenir


what the different between tient and porte?

  • 2030

Because "tenir" generally is "to hold" and "porter" is "to carry", or in the context of clothing, "porter" means "to wear".


i think 'takes a cat' should be correct too

  • 2030

In the sense of "take hold of".


Do "chat" and "chatte" not sound the same?

  • 2030

The final "T" is clearly pronounced on the feminine "chatte" but is silent on "chat".


Please help. In English, "She keeps a cat." usually means she owns a cat, (usually expressed "She has a cat.") But "She holds a cat." is totally different. It means she has a cat in her hands -- any old cat. I'm not clear which of those two meanings "Elle tient un chat" expresses in French.

  • 2030

Basically, it means she is holding the cat. The French "tenir" has a wide range of applications and can include "avoir". The sense of "keep" for "tenir" is varied: tenir quelqu'un occupé = to keep somebody busy, tenir sa chambre propre = to keep one's room tidy, tenir les aliments au frais = to keep food in a cool place, tenir un accord secret = to keep an agreement secret, tenir la porte fermée = to keep the door closed, tenir une note = to hold a note (music), tenir une promesse = to keep a promise. Source: Oxford French Dictionary.


Why is it not "She takes a cat"

  • 2030

Please read the other comments on this page as there is a lot of information there.


Is "she holds up a cat" not correct?

  • 2030

That is not natural English...unless she is robbing the cat! "Les pattes en l'aire !" ;-)


It is to me, and I'm a native speaker (usage: she picks up a cat from the floor and holds it up).

  • 2030

Sorry my attempt at humor fell flat. "Hold up" is not one of the uses of "tenir" unless you're talking about holding up your hands, your pants, your socks, or in a phrasal sense (to be plausible), e.g., cette explication ne tient pas = that explanation doesn't hold up. http://www.wordreference.com/fren/tenir


Two translations were given: She has a cat. She is holding a cat. Does that mean tenir can also mean avoir and at other times hold?

  • 2030

I have seen "avoir" used in the sense of having a cat (for a pet) and "tenir" might be loosely used that way. But the most direct sense of "tenir" is "to hold".


is tient A regular er verb? If not what Is it ?


Il/elle/on tient comes from "tenir" which is an irregular verb from the group of -IR verbs.


Tenir quelque chose peut aussi signifier l'avoir?


"She carries a cat" should surely be correct?

  • 2030

"Porter" = to carry (an object, a child, a pet). With clothes, "porter" means "to wear". "Tenir" means primarily "to hold". Check a good dictionary for other uses.


Hold as in , in her hands or what?

  • 2030

Yes, exactly.


What is the difference between Elle tient un chat and Elle saisit un chat

  • 2030

The difference (to me) is that "tenir" means she is holding it and "saisir" means she is grabbing it.


No one wrote 'grabs' for tient???

  • 2030

Saisir = to grab. Tenir is more in the sense of "to take hold of" or "to hold". There are many nuances to tenir so check a good dictionary for a complete explanation.


Duolingo told me the answer was "She's a cat"!

  • 2030

It is an incorrect algorithm that has been injected into the entire set of English courses. The one who did it will suffer in the next life.


Duolingo said that translates as, "She has a cat." I disagree.

  • 2030

Hold on! You don't get to make an assertion like that and just walk away. State your case and provide your reasoning and resources. The FR "tenir" may be used in a variety of ways, including "to hold", "to keep" (an animal), and many, many other uses. http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/tenir/76386


I know the answer is "She is holding/holds a cat". But why does the suggestion box say "in charge of"? I put She is in charge of a cat. Was I suppose to say "she is charge of one cat?


"owns a cat" should definitely be accepted


Was any one else holding a cat while playing duolingo


DL corrected me with” she has a cat “ why ?


What makes "Tient" and "Tiens" different?


Why on Earth is 'She has one cat' incorrect?


Nózs, you have great explanations. You offer much insight. Thank you.

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.