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  5. "Tu fais un pas dans la rue."

"Tu fais un pas dans la rue."

Translation:You step into the street.

February 23, 2013



"Road" and "street" aren't interchangeable in French? I got it wrong for using road.


I'm also confused. I'm going to report it as wrong, but I'd like to hear from a francophone on this.


The words "rue" and "route" aren't interchangeable in French. We use the word "rue" when the road is in a town and the word "route" when the road is out of a town. I referred to six dictionaries (French→English) and on five of these dictionaries the word "rue" is only translated into "street" and not into '"road". On one dictionary (wordreference) we can see the possibility to translate "rue" into "road". Even if the dictionary wordreference gives this possibility (it is the only one doing that) I think it is much better to translate the word "rue" into the word "street".






The problem with this response is that street and road are (more or less) interchangeable in English). So actually using "step into the road" is a perfectly good translation into English and should not be marjed as wrong. This would apply even if the road is a "rue" in the centre of the city. If Duolingo wants to make the point that there is a clear distinction in French, they should be asking students to translate the expression from English into French - then they could mark it worong if the wrong word is used.


But if you step into the road, aren't you walking on where the cars go? But you can step into the street, like if you were to go outside for a smoke

  • 2036

We are grateful to have someone like Jackie-dd working with us. She is a native French speaker and a moderator for the English-for-French Speakers course. Call it a convention, if you must, but on Duolingo, "rue" is translated as "street" and "route" as "road".


I wonder if the word "pas" meaning step is related in some way with the word "pas" from french negative phrases ("je ne comprend pas", for instance), or if they're just homonyms.


Yes, both the negative particle "pas" and the word for step "pas" derive from the Vulgar Latin word "passus" which means step. In the late vulgar Latin period, the Romans were very fond of using certain emphatic words to enhance or stress a particular aspect of the sentence they were saying. So, instead of saying "I cannot drink at all" they would say "I cannot drink a(nother) drop". Or "I cannot walk a(nother step" or "I couldn't speak a word", or "I do not eat a crumb". At some point, many such emphatic words were in general use such as "word", "step", "crumb", "drop". Eventually, these words lost their emphatic value and were dropped out of usage in most of the Latin speaking word, with the exception of today's France. But even in that region, only two of these words, step and word, had survived which by now were being indiscriminately applied to every negative sentence irrespective of their original meaning. So it was no longer just that "I couldn't walk a step", meaning "I couldn't walk at all" but it was also "I couldn't think a step" or "I couldn't eat a step". The word "word (mot)" was also eventually discarded. Only the word "step (pas)" survived, as a negative particle only, its original meaning completely forgotten.

BTW, the French word "on" as in "on mange" is also related to the Latin word homo meaning man. In Latin impersonal constructions such as "one eats when one is hungry" you say "man (homo) eats when man (homo) is hungry", hence the French "on mange quand on a faim."

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Thanks, johnsark! This kind of background truly enriches our learning!


thank you for such a great explanation!


Awesome! Vive le etymologie (sp?)!! Merci beaucoup. You gave so much detail, it suggests to me you might be doing graduate work.....


Superb explanation! Thank you so much, johnsark.


Doesn't this just simply mean to take/go for a stroll [in the street]? "You step onto the street" is not something one would commonly say, I don't think. Francophones, help us out.

  • 2036

It's not about going for a stroll, it is a demonstration of how "faire un pas" is used. The translation could be literal (to make a step) but that sounds a bit awkward in English. Here, the simplest expression is simply "to step". The French "faire" is possibly the third most common verb in French (after être and avoir) and has an extremely broad range of application. http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/faire/32616


The meaning is that you change where you are. You are not in the street. You step into the street. Now you are in the street.


If one looks at Duolingo's suggestion for translating fais, it appears as preparing. I did not know faire could mean prepare, It that a common use of faire?


Faire has a significant number of possible meanings, both direct and compound (specifically, causative construction), including prepare.

http://www.wordreference.com/fren/faire http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/faire.htm


I have looked in Wordrefrence and Collins. I do not see anywhere that faire means 'to take'. The correct word is prendre. Could someone explain the meaning and why. I think DL is wrong.


I think DL is not wrong. The Harrap's Shorter dictionary gives this example :"to take a step" : "faire un pas".

  • 2036

Hi, Wrenbob. As you have no doubt learned by now that "faire" is one of the most common verbs in French (after être and avoir) and has an incredibly broad range of application. We're way past the word-for-word translation stage with expressions using "faire". http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/faire/32616


I was marked wrong for writing take a step and was advised it was make a step ........ which one does not use that often in English. What do you think?

  • 2036

Certainly "take a step" is part of several acceptable answer and it seems very natural to say that in English. So maybe there was something else going on. What was the whole sentence that you typed in?


"You take a step into the street" and was marked wrong and advised that "You make a step into the street" or "You step into the street" were correct.

I just wanted to know I could say "fais un pas" when I wanted to say "Take a step" in french.

Thanks as always

  • 2036

That is baffling because that answer has been accepted for over a year. And yes, "faire un pas" is used to say "to step" or "to take a step". Ex: http://www.wordreference.com/fren/faire%20un%20pas


I translated this as, "You are setting foot in the street." Is that a correct option?

If not, like lpacker, I would choose "You are stepping into the street", which sounds more natural to me (a native English speaker) than the translations suggested by Duolingo.


And... get hit by a car.


The problem is that I find myself automatically using road for rue. In the UK read can be in towns or country though streets are only in towns or villages. The reason is historic. I therefore find myself making this mistake when I am on autopilot. Road IMO is not wrong as in the UK (don't think this applies to the US) a road can be anywhere.


You are absolutely right, Anita, and the DL moderators are wrong. Their French may be perect but their English isn’t. Compare Beatty Road (where I live), which has is in the middle of a city and has perhaps 20 houses, and Watling Street, which is 276 miles long.


At the brginning it wss .....pas null la rur I don't understand, sometimes with null other times not instead "dans" I do not understand this "null"part


None are talking about " null" dans I understand


What translates to null it is not a rue, Null means nothing, number 0


Bearing in mind previous comments, can someone explain the difference between 'road' and 'street' in English. I am English and I certainly don't know of any difference


This sounds odd to a Midwestern American: "you step into the street" means your foot is IN the pavement. "Onto" seems better


Whereas to a European, "onto" sounds as if you're going skating on it!

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