Because "il manque" is not "he misses".
"Il manque" is a specific phrase in the neutral form, similar to "il faut + infinitive", "il est nécessaire de + infinitive", ie corresponding to the English "it".
If you want to mean "he misses a knife", you can say "il lui manque un couteau" - same structure, but where "lui" stands for the man who misses a knife.
Note that in English, verb "miss" is transitive while in French the construction is intransitive, with preposition "à" = "manquer à".
Not really because lever, raser, laver are pronominal, meaning that the second, reflexive pronoun represents the same person as the subject and is direct object of the verb:
-Je me rase = I shave myself.
Manquer is like plaire à, convenir à , aller à: the second pronoun is indirect object with preposition "à":
-Il me plaît = il plaît à moi = he/it pleases me / I am pleased by him/it
-Ce projet me convient = ... convient à moi = this project suits me
-Ce manteau me va bien = ... va bien à moi = this coat fits me good
I appreciate and understand your explanation. It is very helpful. Just to clarify though, "il manque" is the only form we need to add the extra pronoun to have it refer to somebody missing something? Because "tu manques un bon repas" translates to "you are mssing a good meal".
I feel like they need to make a specific game/quiz just to drill this particular concept and this particular verb into my hopelessly English brain. I read Sitesurf's explanation and I just can't wrap my head around this idea, when all the other verbs fit so much more closely with English useage. : (
Oh la la ! can have several uses:
"Oh la la !" is uttered with a short and quick, mezzo voce tone of voice, and with your hand on your mouth, eyes wide open, as you suddenly realize that you just made a big mistake (forgot your beloved one's b-day or your appointment at the dentist's). The emotion is sudden and sharp and your situation looks like an absolute disaster.
"Oh la la !" is said slowly, with an angry undertone, the last "la" drawling, optionally with a sigh and/or some "t-t-t" with your tongue, and eyes rolling. This is when someone just said something you didn't want to hear (your kid/colleague just did it again; the phone rings for the 5th time in a row). You are exasperated and could probably kill anyone around.
"Oh la la !" is high-pitched, childish, one hand is swung left and right, and eye-brows arched high. This is when you have been taken by surprise (surprise B-day party, surprise gift from your lover or children... any type of surprise can do). This is used basically as a reward to those who prepared a surprise for you. Actually, you had guessed for a long time, so you pretend just to please them.
"Oh la la !" in a gloomy tone of voice, with sullen face (you missed the last train; it is pouring and you have no brolly; there are 200 people queuing up before you). This is for easily distressed people, and born-victims.
Oskalingo: I thought that too at first, but the two sentences are close in meaning. "There is a knife missing" means a knife is gone from an unspecified place. "It is missing a knife" means a knife is gone from "it" (perhaps a room of some kind) . "Welcome to my kitchen, there is a knife missing" or "Welcome to my kitchen, it is missing a knife" both mean the same thing in this context. I have a feeling though, "It is missing a knife" has a different translation. Hopefully Sitesurf will respond with his/her expertise.
So, accordingly to your explanation translation "A knife is missing" should be accepted, but unfortuantely it is not. :/
For those who are having trouble figuring out this sentence, think of the "it" as being like the "it" in "It is raining." Nothing specific is raining, it's just how we say it in English. Or "It is noisy here." What is noisy? Here (i.e. this place) is noisy. "It" doesn't really mean anything in that sentence. When "this place" and "here" refer to the same things (e.g. "this place" is a room and "here" is also the room, rather than a specific part of it), one cannot replace "it" and end up with a meaningful sentence. "This place is noisy here," or "This place is noisy in this place," don't clarify what "it" is representing, because "it" isn't anything.
"Il" here is impersonal, so it can't translate as "he." A tricky thing about the verb "manquer" is that it is the reverse of what the English verb is. The best way to explain what I mean is through the use of an example:
Un couteau lui manque. = He's missing a knife.
Literally, the French sentence translates as "A knife is missing from him." As you can see, this sentence cannot be translated the way you tried because in order to come up with your translation, one would have to reword the French sentence so that the knife is acting on "il."
"il manque" is an impersonal construction, like "it is necessary, it is possible...", so "il/it" do not represent anyone or anything specific.
Therefore you cannot translate "il" to "he".
"a knife is missing" can otherwise back translate to "un couteau manque / est manquant" (not est manqué).