"Que faut-il manger ensuite ?"

Translation:What do we have to eat then?

February 23, 2013

This discussion is locked.


Sometimes I think of these little discussion threads as tiny support groups for those of us who are abused by French pronouns...


And adverbs. It's taking me ages to get through this lot.


Really? For most of them all you have to do is add "ment" I think the problem you're having is Duolingo only introduces the irregular adverbs so far.


Not that aspect. Apart from a few spelling issues, I think I got it. The 5 different words I have come across that can be used for "now" in different flavours? When does "toujours" mean "still" and when does it mean "always"? And other issues - which adverbs need "a" and when do I tack-on "de"? agghh....are keeping me awake at night. What the heck is an "adverbial noun" anyway? Do I have to gesticulate if I want to distinguish between "la'" meaning "here" or "there"? And, how do I gesticulate in a DL answer anyway? rant, rant...thanks for your concern :)


"là" (accent grave) is there. "ici" is here. If French is "keeping [you] awake at night", then 'at night' is an adverbial noun. You are being kept awake when? At night - modifies the statement that you're being kept awake.

Verbs with "de" - http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/preposition_de_2.htm

Verbs with à - http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/preposition_a_2.htm

When does "toujours" means "still" or "always"? - http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa021601.htm


I have no idea what I was talking about. So I have no idea what you are talking about.


I feel as if I'm in a Greek tragedy. Make one mistake. Start over. Make a mistake, start over. Got to get it right.


How do we know that "faut-il" refers to "we" and not "he"?


You have to remember the phrase. "Il faut" means "it is necessary", where "il" means the impersonal "it", not "he". So when you translate it to English, you may want to personalize it, according to context, with "we" or "you"..


bah, but then "what is it necessary to eat then?" is marked wrong.

the "it" is apparently out of place?


May29: "What is it necessary to eat then" is accepted (at last!).


Isn't it better to use "What is necessary to eat then?" rather than "What is it necessary to eat then?"


If both were phrases instead of questions, what do you get? The 1st would sound grammatically incorrect. So I propose that "what is necessary to eat then?" is either a colloquialism of "what is [it] necessary to eat then?" or means "what is needed in order to be able to eat then?" i.e. A plate, a knife & fork is necessary to [be able to] eat.


you need the "it"


Sitesurf, that^^ sounds odd to me. "What is necessary (for one) to eat then?" makes more sense to me but was marked wrong. Why do we need pronoun "it"? It makes the sentence sound very odd. The only way "it" would make sense is if one were wordy and wrote "What is it that is necessary (for one) to eat?" IMHO.


This is about English grammar (bear with me, I am French).

  • question: what is necessary?
  • answer: it is necessary to eat, drink and breathe.

  • question: what is it necessary to eat? (= it is necessary to eat what?)

  • answer: it is necessary to eat healthy food (object of eat)

In French:

  • question : qu'est-ce qui est nécessaire ?
  • réponse : il est nécessaire de (il faut) manger, boire et respirer.

  • question: qu'est-il nécessaire de manger ? = que faut-il manger ?

  • réponse : il est nécessaire de (il faut) manger des aliments sains.


Sitesurf, somehow I cannot respond below your post so I will post my response to your explanation (below) here.

I respect your command of language a lot because for someone whom English is not a first language, you truly have a good mastery of it. But with all due respect, I beg to disagree with you--and you can ask any professor of English--but "what is it necessary to eat?" is not a grammatically correct sentence, so we will just have to agree to disagree on this one. The question that would get the response "It is necessary to eat healthy food" would be "What is it that is necessary (for one) to eat?"

When you say "what is it necessary to eat?" The sentence just sound so wrong. I even tried to group the words "What is it necessary" together and do a Google search to see if I can find any English document in which that phrase is used, but all the results that displayed changed it to "When is it necessary..." "Why is it necessary..." Only on Duolingo did I find "What is it necessary..." showing up.

Anyway, I have sent it to an English professor so she can help me explain why it is wrong or set me right. I should probably also ask Grammar Girl and a few other English Grammar authorities... Perhaps I am wrong. But in any case, it is bugging me enough for me to do some research on it. (I do speak Swahili and so I can see how this sentence can sound correct in Swahili...but it just does not in English--not to me anyway).

To understand where I am coming from, it is kind of how "qu'est-ce que c'est?" might sound unnecessarily wordy for "what is it?" to someone learning French. Such a person might feel "que c'est?" is good enough but it isn't, is it? Well, why not? After all, "que" = what, "ce" = it, "est" = is. But just as in French it would not be correct even if the words match, it just isn't in English as well. One would have to be wordy for it to be correct: "What is it that is necessary (for one) to eat?"

If I find a better explanation than "it just doesn't sound right", I will share. For now I'm happy to agree to disagree.


As far as I know, “it” in “It is necessary to eat what?” is an expletive, which means that it does not actually have any meaning in the sentence. The subject in this sentence is still “what.” This means that when we put the subject at the front, we leave the expletive out: “What is necessary to eat?” On the other hand, “What is it necessary to eat” seems replaceable by “What is the thing necessary to eat,” with an elliptical “that is.” “What is it that is necessary to eat.” I think that is why it sounds like it might be correct. Personally, I have to agree that “What is it necessary to eat” is something that sounds unnatural in English, but I also think that we are here to learn proper French and not proper English, and everyone understands what is meant by “What is it necessary to eat.”


@Mere You're wrong, it's not grammatically incorrect. Both languages have impersonal phrases. "It" in this case is just that. "It is necessary" and "we must" have the function.


"What do we have to eat?" is indeed the best answer.


Good good! I'll be pleased to crack that nut with you!


Love you, Sitesurf!


Agree Michael. I just made the same translation


To elaborate on this and clarify further from another learner's perspective, if one wanted to specifically say "What does he have to eat then?" you could either use "Que doit-il manger ensuite?" or "Qu'est-ce qu'il faut qu'il mange ensuite?". Although I'm not 100% sure if the second construction is correct.


I think of "il faut" as "it is necessary", and usually this works. So when I see "Que faut-il manger..." I translate that as "What is it necessary to eat...". Duo marks that wrong, and gives a correct solution as "What is necessary to eat...". I'm not sure what this means in English, although I could probably devise a context in which it might be used. The point is I often seem to be in the position of having to choose between several unlikely English sentences in the hope of hitting the one that Duo will accept, and apart from the excellent help offered by yourself and others in the discussions, this can be very frustrating.

Without the "it", this sentence implies in English "What do we have to have or do in order to be able to eat later ?" In other words, "What is necessary..." asks what conditions must be met in order to do something. Is this really the meaning of the French sentence ? Or is it a mistake that should be reported ?


So... If you WANTED to say "what must he eat" using "falloir" would it be... "Qu'est-ce qu'il faut qu'il mange?"


Hmm...I think "il faut" has to be followed by the infinitive....

I am not sure, but hopefully someone in the know will come and confirm or correct me....

My thinking is, since "I have to work" is "il me faut travailler", then "he must eat" would be "il lui faut manger".

Now if I were to continue this risky business of guessing, I'd say, "What must he eat?" using "falloir" would be "qu'est-ce qu'il lui faut manger ?" or maybe "que lui faut-il manger ?"

Can someone (Sitesurf, ElGusso, jrikhal...any other French guru) please check my guesswork^^ and let us know what the correct answer is?


What must he eat? =

With verb "devoir":

  • que doit-il manger ? (formal) - qu'est-ce qu'il doit manger ? (standard) - il doit manger quoi ? (relaxed)

With verb "falloir" (il faut):

  • que lui faut-il manger ? (formal - infinitive)
  • que faut-il qu'il mange ? (formal - subjunctive)
  • qu'est-ce qu'il lui faut manger ? (standard - infinitive)
  • qu'est-ce qu'il faut qu'il mange ? (standard - subjunctive)
  • il lui faut manger quoi ? (relaxed - infinitive)
  • il faut qu'il mange quoi ? (relaxed - subjunctive)


Thank you so much, Sitesurf. I stand corrected on my wrong assumption that one must always use infinitive with "il faut" (my apologies LynnW2 for doubting your suggestion). The subjunctive form, which I am yet to learn, always stumps me. Here's a lingot for another very informative post.


How then would one say then in French: It is necessary that HE (the patient perhaps) eat ..."


Merci aussi Sitesurf. Merci beaucoup!

[deactivated user]

    In addition to Sitesurf's explanation, I want to add that what helped me was to remember that if "il" refers to "he" the verb will be "doit" not "faut".


    We can't know. Il faut simply means "it should be so", or "one should" (like 'on doit'), without specifying who: it depends on the context. Most commonly though, it's used for "us"... (which is actually somewhat similar to what you mean with "one should")


    "il faut" is indeed impersonal. However, you can re-personalize it by adding an indirect object: il me faut, il te faut, il lui faut (il/elle), il nous faut, il vous faut, il leur (ils/elles) faut.

    [deactivated user]

      I entered 'What must be eaten later?' and that was marked wrong. There is no personal pronoun to indicate 'we'.


      OK, so the English pronunciation is what tells the difference. "What do we have too eat then? means "so what is there to eat". But "What do we haf to eat then? means "what must we eat". Does that make sense to anyone?


      Yes. Sitesurf clearly says "obligation" above. There is a "need" or a "must" component. "..have to eat..." "need to eat" or something like that.


      I think that it would be purely context (and perhaps a change in intonation) that would differentiate between the two meanings that you describe.


      Yes, this confused me as well. The phrase is not asking what are the available options for eating, it is asking what must be eaten.


      My kids ask me that every day, "What do we have (in the house) to eat then?"


      Okay, this: "haf to" reference made me laugh. But seriously, you are right about the tendency pronounce these meanings differently. (Not right about the "oo" in "have to" though. A typographical error, I'm thinking.)


      Shouldn't "what is it necessary to eat then?" also be correct?


      It should be. If anything it's the more natural English translation


      Edited - 5/3/14 - I think the sentiment is different. "il faut" means "it is necessary", its impersonal. When an impersonal phrase is translated into English, the context might dictate that we personalise it. So, if we turn this into a question in English it could be "what must I, we, you, they eat then?" I'm not advocating a literal translation of "must" here, but more conveying the idea that an impersonal phrase can change when translated given the right circumstances.


      I must = je dois (simple present)

      I should = je devrais (conditional)


      Mm, yes I understand. Sometimes its difficult to really understand these concepts so finding a way to explain it myself helps in my learning. I know this is not technically correct, but close enough to allow me to understand what is meant.


      I've ready every comment here and I'm still confused. Where on earth does "we" come from? I don't think I would ever have worked this out, on my own, in a thousand years!!! Please, please let the next section be easier than "adverbs" I'm exhausted.


      From a learning point of view I agree, its been the most difficult so far. In reply to your question: Firstly, there's a lack of context here, which doesn't help understanding.

      Secondly, English has similar examples. E.g. Imagine you're a hungry kid coming home from school. Mom, or Dad, has cooked dinner. You, being nosy, go up to them & ask "What's to eat?".

      In this context, the meal is perhaps being prepared for the family, justifying the context of "We". The rest is sort of self-explanatory.

      "Que" means it's a question, "faut-il" determines it's impersonal & defined by context (i.e. "we, you, I, they" etc).

      "Ensuite"... I don't even really know if this is necessary but it is easy to understand in this context. And Sitesurf suggests it makes the sentence a bit more casual in nature.


      Many thanks for your help with this difficult area for me. I think I see where you are coming from and I hope that one day I will look back at this and smile :) Please accept a Lingot for your time. Don't seem to be able to give you a Lingot? Hmm. will keep trying


      Hey thanks very much! Although not necessary, an upvote for the comment would have been more than sufficient :) These forums are an invaluable part of the site I think. Long may it continue.


      Restermen, Try this link about the verb "falloir" : http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/falloir.htm

      I consult it when I am confused by "must" and "have to" phrases. Eventually I will get it and I am sure you will too.


      Thanks for your reply. I do tend to use the about,com site but hadn't seen that particular section. I will consult and inwardly digest!! Have a lingot on me for your time.


      Hey, I was thinking, which is a bit scary, and realized that the "we" that we both find confusing is simply the impersonal plural of the more obviously impersonal "one" in English. I can remember that!

      Thanks for the lingot.


      Merci! I hadn't even realized that "falloir" was a verb since I've only ever seen it conjugated as "il faut." I guess I just figured it was another one of those idomatic phrases that French likes to use to make me feel like an idiot. :/ I'm traveling to France next week. Perhaps I should stick to English.


      1.With "what" we can ask about the subject then we don't have to use inversion. For example, What is on the table? A vase. The vase is on the table.2. We can ask about the object we have to use inversion., What is it necessary to eat after? It is necessary to eat some cake after. (some cake is object direct)


      Hello, I'm French and honestly I don't know where the we come from. The person could speak for himself, for a group of people that doesn't include him, or as a "we", but we don't know that for sure. But in that case, I guess they're using we like that doesn't necessarily include the person speaking.


      "What are we going to eat later?" Would this translation be more appropriate???


      no, because it does not reflect the "obligation" contained in "il faut/faut-il"


      I am also having trouble with these pronouns. How would you say, "What must he eat next?" in French, if you wanted to? Apparently it wouldn't be "Que faut-il manger ensuite?" because "faut-il" is impersonal. Would it be, "Que doit-il manger ensuite?"


      yes, "que doit-il manger ensuite [space] ?"


      I have the same question. Now I know the answer. Merci.


      I translated it, "What is there to eat then?" which is a proper English question. I was marked wrong. It's the same as "What do we have to eat then?"


      Not really. The first sentence is asking what sorts of foods are available for eating. The second sentence is asking what are you required to eat (per doctor's/dietician's orders, for instance).

      My guess is "What is there to eat then?" would be "Qu'est-ce qu'il y a pour manger alors?" (I use "alors" because of the reasoning giving in this discussion: http://lawlessfrench.boards.net/thread/223/question-translating-que-faut-manger?page=1scrollTo=1271)


      even better, "So....what do we have to eat?" or "So.....what's there to eat?" if you want colloquial English


      What have we to eat yhen should be accepted and is perfect english.


      fwiw, Duo accepted "What must be eaten next?". That seemed to make sense to me, given that the sentence started with "que", so I figured that the emphasis was on the "what" and the "must" (as I translated faut-il). Plus it seems a more natural translation. Heh! For once I was lucky.

      Maybe sitesurf will weigh in on this.


      My 'instinct' made me translate it with "faut-il", so you were not only lucky!


      Thanks sitesurf. I'm not sure what you mean by your translating with "faut-il" - were you translating an English version to French ? (for me it was French to English). One thing I've learned from your many helpful comments is that trying to do word by word translations for more complicated sentences is not always the best/ only approach to learning- that one has to step back and try to get the sense of what is being stated, rather than relying on completely literal translations. I can't remember exactly what you've said in the past that helped me realize the importance of this- I wish I could ! - but irrc, to the effect that French and English are different languages, and thus, words are used in different ways in relation to each other. Maybe you can correct me or state your message in a better way than I have portrayed it.


      Yes, I had the English sentence for translation to French and I "felt" that "devons-nous", "doit-on" or "faut-il" would all be appropriate.

      That kind of "feeling" indeed derives from a constant intellectual attention to the meaning of things (and people). When a foreign language becomes more familiar, you stop translating and you realize that you "get it" almost unconsciously.


      As I read the translation, I don't sense the "It is necessary" feel of "It faut. Instead, it sounds like you are wanting to know what there is to eat so why don't we just use "avoir" in this sentence? Qu'est-ce que nous avons manger ensuite?


      The essence of "must we" or "is it necessary" in this context implies to me that the question isn't simply one of the food's availability (i.e. "what do we have?") but I see a context wherein food is scarce or unavailable. So an alternative form of the question could be something like "we need to eat something, so what can we find to eat?" At least, this is what my imagination tells me.


      I was going from English to French so the sentence to translate was "What do we have to eat then?" which does not sound like "what is necessary" but rather "Would you tell me what my options are for what type of food to eat..."


      Ok, fair enough. My analysis was obviously based on the French. I agree with you to an extent but I also leave the possibility open that "have" here can be used in either a possessive context or as an obligation (i.e. "we have to eat").


      Why we and not he?


      Its kind of an implied "we" here, implied by the meaning of the more literal version. So, in the case of "what is it necessary to eat then?" you can imagine this as a response to a statement saying "we don't have much food left". In this context, the "we" becomes apparent and the sentence is better translated as "what do we have to eat then?".

      I've clearly used some artistic license here, but only to demonstrate why some of these Duolingo questions require context and imagination to get the possible meanings (I believe there is more than one correct translation for this phrase).


      It's been explained here umpteen times, yoav1997!


      I just find this impossible. Or is that he just finds this impossible? Or we just find this impossible? Or one just finds this impossible?


      where does this sentence imply we?


      Its understandable to ask this question. But... look up... a little bit further in the discussion thread. If you read it, you will find this comment as part of the discussion:

      "You have to remember the phrase. "Il faut" means "it is necessary", where "il" means the impersonal "it", not "he". So when you translate it to English, you may want to personalize it, according to context, with "we" or "you".."

      Also, its a long thread. Assuming you've read the responses, did you not find any clues to answer your question?


      @Ronnie-M since I cannot respond to you right below your comment to me, I will do it here.

      You and I will just have to agree to disagree. I asked two professors of English, one of them said the "it" was superfluous and that the sentence was not standard English. The other said that the grammar appears to be a direct translation from French and that one should never translate words verbatim as different languages have different pronoun rules.

      As I stated before, nowhere else on the Internet, but here, have I seen the phrase "What is it necessary...". However, a Google search of my suggested improvement of the phrase "What is it that is necessary..." brings up umpteen examples of that usage, because that just happens to be the proper way "What is it" and "necessary" can be used together. I think it is a pity that DL succumbed to pressure and stopped rejecting this usage I disagree with. DL had it right the first time!

      I have sent emails to a few other people and will share what they say, as soon as I hear back. I don't know if pros like APA Style Experts or even authors of books on Grammar and Style are in the habit of responding to little people like me...but hopefully someone will get back to me and I will share what I learn.

      For now, I say you are wrong and you say I am wrong. We can agree to disagree.


      OK, that's a fair opinion but I don't know what google you are using to search. There are many English examples of this expression. Here are a few similar ones off the first search page:




      These are just random links and not authoratative in any way but demonstrates usage. Others include "what is it necessary to know...?", " what is it necessary to do...?", "what is it necessary to learn (to become a doctor)?"... And so on.

      I really can't see the grammatical issue you mention.


      Ronnie-M, OK, you did better in your search than I did. I think I stopped at the first few results I got and I just did the search on my PC as opposed to my phone and got a lot more results with the first one being a post by a random person online asking a question--which IMO could be someone for whom good grammar is no big deal. It is not unusual to see forum posts that ask "What would of happened if...?" So while you have shown me some people do indeed construct sentences in this way that makes me cringe, I still maintain it is not correct.

      I am sure if you did a search for "I am going to lay down to rest" you will find several published works with this very grammatically wrong sentence. Lay is the past tense of the word they need to be using, "lie". However, it did not stop these books and articles from writing it: http://bit.ly/1ucKy4U

      Which is why I am actually trying to contact people who make it their business to encourage good grammar (or actually earn a living doing it) to hear their points of view. We could argue till the cows come home but we will never agree--which is why I said we should just agree to disagree...ie. until we hear from someone who can actually explain to us why (or why not) the sentence is OK (or not)...and to do so with much more than just having "the sense: that it is right (or wrong).


      @Ronnie-JA, (What happened to Ronnie-M?), @Sitesurf:

      Reluctantly, I will accept that perhaps I am the only one in the world that has an issue with "it" in the sentence. I contacted Richard Nordquist (http://grammar.about.com/bio/Richard-Nordquist-22176.htm) and he found all the sentences grammatically correct, namely:

      What is it necessary to eat then? What is necessary to eat then? What is it that is necessary for one to eat then? What is necessary for one to eat then?

      He added "The only colloquial option is "What do we have to eat then?" Unless forced at gunpoint, I'd avoid the adjective "necessary."

      He suggested that I contact Laura Lawless who is a master of both English and French. Laura didn't have a problem with the sentence I have been fussing about, namely, "What is it necessary to eat then?" She found my wordy sentence awkward LOL She also said that translating "ensuite" to "then" was ambiguous and she would have preferred "next". Laura also said the sentence "What is necessary to eat?" was grammatically incorrect as it sounded like it was asking what utensils one might use to eat. :c( You can see the discussion here: http://lawlessfrench.boards.net/thread/223/question-translating-que-faut-manger?page=1scrollTo=1271

      So I stand somewhat persuaded...although I come screaming and kicking.

      Sitesurf, if you do click on the link to the discussion, do you agree with her reasoning for why "next" would be a better translation for "ensuite" in this sentence?


      Dear "Cats'Mother", I have read the whole thing carefully and I agree with "what is necessary to eat" having an ambiguous meaning (ustensils vs food).

      When it comes to the translation of "ensuite", Duolingo accepts any of these:

      • [then/next/later/after/afterwards/afterward/subsequently].

      For your information, the above also back translate to:

      • [ensuite/après/par la suite/alors].

      However, if you get the English sentence first with "then", it can have a meaning that "next/ensuite" do not have:

      • If we cannot eat beef, what do we have to eat then? (si nous ne pouvons pas manger de boeuf, que devons-nous manger, alors ?)


      @mere_des_chats - Well first of all, thanks for taking the time to do all that research. I personally like it that someone is passionate enough about their point to look into it closely, and magnanimous enough to come back with the answer.

      I actually disagree with Lawless about your version in that I think it is grammatically correct, just not in this context. I otherwise agree with both their assessments.

      And fwiw, I also thought (and put) "next" initially and was corrected by DL to say "then". So I'm also curious to know what Sitesurf thinks.

      Thanks again. (P.s. I tried to change to a more elaborate or original username but DL disallowed all my attempts. JA because I was born in Jamaica).


      Well if you get a good explanation I'm sure it'll be interesting to !any of us. The point of posting thosnlinks is to say that I and many others do not find this grammatically incorrect or strange usage in any way. I cannot imagine why you find it so. Nevertheless a definitive opinion (if such a thing exist) can only help.

      As for the reason, you need a subject. "What" is a false subject. So "it" is what is needs to be eaten.


      See ref 2.


      "What is necessary to eat later" sounds correct to me


      So in the english translation, the word "then" can - in descending order of naturalness - either:

      (i) have no meaning at all - just makes the sentence sound informal; or

      (ii) refer back to previous sentences i.e. "Given what has just been said, what do we therefore have to eat?"; or

      (iii) refer to the next item in a temporal sequence i.e. "After we have our first course, what do we have to eat then"?

      Does the French word 'ensuite' serve all of these purposes too? And in this particular case, is (i) still the most plausible interpretation?

      Also: In the English sentence, "have to eat" typically means "have available to eat" rather than "must eat". But in the French version, doesn't "faut-il" imply "must"? [In which case I think the English translation is misleading - "what must we eat then" would be better.]


      I vote for option 3.

      Also il fault has a lot of flexibility in certain context. "Must" is only one option. "Necessary" I think is closest to the sentiment. So, imo its more like saying "we need to eat, so what is there to eat then?" Necessity comes from needing to eat. And ensuite is referring to whatever is left/available/next in line.


      I vote for options 2 and 3:

      • option 2 with "alors" (= consequently)
      • option 3 with "ensuite (= next)

      In addition, "il faut" or "on doit/nous devons" are quite vague in terms of degree of obligation or need.


      If ensuite in the French sentence can mean "then" in the sense of "next, after that" then surely "What do you then have to eat?" should be accepted. It is more natural (for that reading) than "What do you have to eat then?" which my answer was "corrected" to. Is this a mistake or am I missing something?


      I am a native english speaker and I can't tell the difference between "It is necessary to eat what next" and "What is it necessary to eat next". Is the former grammaticaly incorrect? Because DL marked it wrong.


      Maybe just the placement of next. If you said "Next, it is necessary to eat what?" I'm confident this is more suitable grammatically.


      "What is it necessary to eat next?" is a correct solution?


      I generally agree with you but here, the context/placement of "ensuite" can give a slightly different meaning. I've rationalised "next" as implying a subsequent factual act, par exemple "I studied chemistry. Next, I worked for the government".

      Whereas, in this context, ensuite almost seems to have a conditional use, i.e. "If this is what's in the fridge, what [then] can we eat?" (Note: adverb can be placed before the verb in this context).

      Whether Duolingo strictly deems your usage to be incorrect or has some other rationale, I can't really say. But I think there's a subtlety to the difference in meaning. Maybe a francophone can tell you whether or not this is truly incorrect.


      Actually, Ronnie-JA, if you remember the long research I did, Laura Lawless, who is quite an authority in both French and English had an issue with "ensuite" in this sentence being translated to "then". According to her, "ensuite" usually has the meaning, we do this first, and THEN we do that next. She said if the meaning is a follow-up to something like "if we can't eat that, what do we have to eat then?" that "alors" or "donc" would be the correct words. She said "ensuite" here means "next". Here's a link to the discussion for a reminder: http://lawlessfrench.boards.net/thread/223/question-translating-que-faut-manger?page=1scrollTo=1271


      There's more than one authority - Tlf provides contextual examples of several meanings. This sentence lacks context. So what we're discussing is the meaning within a given context. As stated, I have no issue with the use of "next" but imo it gives a different meaning here (without further context).


      The point I am trying to make is "ensuite" is never used in that "conditional way". Even Larousse indicates the same thing that Lawless is saying. It is used to mean "then" in the sense of "next", not in the "conditional sense".

      For instance, "Et ensuite, que s'est-il passé?" can be translated to "And then what happened?" In other words, "Next, what happened?"

      Lawless insists (and I am beginning to agree with her) that "ensuite" is used when talking about something happening AFTER something else.

      If you mean to imply "in that case, what THEN?" even Larousse suggests alternatives to "ensuite" for that sense: http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/anglais-francais/then/617952

      In fact, if you look up "ensuite" you will find the sense of "later", "after", "next" is all that is given. Nothing to do with the sense "if not X what THEN?"


      All this to say that a better translation for this sentence "Que faut-il manger ensuite ?" is "What is it necessary to eat next?" as @stephenfjames suggested or "What do we/does one have to eat next?"


      I'm not actually proposing that its use is conditional - it isn't - I've referred to this scenario by way of giving a possible example of usage. However, it's use is more varied than you suggest. "Next" can sometimes convey a precision in time, an immediacy.

      But ensuite can be used in other ways - TLF definition (Search for "Ensuite" & see "B")

      I repeat, I have no problem with the "next" usage, but maintain that context will have more bearing on the ultimate meaning using one or the other.


      Hi Ronnie-JA:

      I followed your link to TFL. I am not yet good enough in French to understand a reference that has no English translations and that link took me to a page that was not talking about "ensuite". So I entered the word and looked at the B definition and as far as I can tell, it is still agreeing with Lawless: I still get the meaning "next, after, following, plus, in addition to…." In other words, if I were to substitute “ensuite” with those words, the meaning in the sentences would remain the same because "ensuite" always brings on that meaning. “Ensuite” is never used in the sense of definition #3 (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/then) for the word "then". If you want to convey that meaning, then “alors” would be better.


      I don't know if I responded the correct way in the stream.


      I believe it is. If not I think it should be, so should be reported.


      So what does "it" refer to in "what is it necessary to eat then"? If the sentence was something like "what( , or ? ) is it necessary to eat then?" I would understand, but without some punctuation after "What", "it" just sounds really strange in that sentence.


      "it is necessary to eat" -> "it" is impersonal, equivalent to "human beings need to eat" or "eating is necessary" or the like.

      "what is it necessary to eat ?" -> ditto, but formulated as a question about what kind of food has to be eaten


      @Huf91, you seem to have the same trouble I was having, but after asking a handful of people I considered quite good in English Grammar, it turned out that "what is it necessary to eat?" is correct and it is a questions asking about the type of food one is to eat. On the other hand, the question you and I prefer "what is necessary to eat?" apparently leads most to think we are asking about the tools necessary to eat.

      What is it necessary to eat then? It is necessary to eat foods high in iron like dark green veggies

      What is necessary to eat? Cutlery, a plate, and perhaps serving spoons, assuming of course there is food in dishes before you.


      Why would this not be, what does he have to eat then, as opposed to we have to eat too then?


      Sometimes it helps to read the thread before asking a question as you will often find that someone else already asked the question you have and an answer has already been provided.

      Il faut means "it is necessary"...so anytime you see it, you should know it is impersonal, just like il pleut which means it is raining. In both cases il does not mean he.


      someone please help me with why "what is necessary to eat later" is incorrect. Where in the world does the "we have" come in at?


      First, I was told the correct question is "what is IT necessary to eat..." because if you don't put IT then it is asking about the cutlery necessary to use for eating, while the original question is about the food.

      Secondly, I believe the sentence "it is necessary to do something" usually can be understood to mean "you have to do something" or "we have to do something". Imagine a group of students discussing what is needed to be eligible to attend classes. One says "It is necessary to register by noon tomorrow to be considered students." In essence he or she has said "We must register by noon tomorrow to be considered students" or "You need to register by noon tomorrow to be considered students."


      As someone a little further down the line from you, trust me when I say that its really important to get your head around the general idea of an impersonal expression. Put aside this particular phrase for a second. What should be grasped is that impersonal expressions in English and French are those without a personal subject. On the surface, its as simple as that!

      What this means is that impersonal expressions won't relate to a particular individual or group - i.e. Me, You or Us (as in the people in this thread). It would be incorrect to use an impersonal expression to refer to any of the above.

      The next step is to consider that impersonal expressions are typically used when giving general advice or offering a considered opinion: "It is good oral hygiene to brush your teeth regularly". The your here is impersonal, as it relates to no-one in particular but has a more general tone which could apply to anyone.

      Next, the verbs. To complete impersonal expressions you have the impersonal subject - in this case Il - and the verb - Falloir. The significance of falloir is that it seeks to impose an obligation. So, other similar verbs work in the same way - e.g. 'Faire', when referring to the weather or 'Agir' when used reflexively... "Il s'agit de la biere"

      And finally, we come to "il faut" which has its own meaning implying necessity (in general). We express this concept in English in many more ways than the French. That's why this thread is one of the longest on Duolingo. It's because English speakers find it more difficult to equate the idea of the personal 'You' or 'We' with the impersonal 'one' or 'it'. So you have to think to yourself that wherever its possible to use 'You' or 'We' impersonally in English (e.g. "We must brush our teeth regularly for good oral hygiene"), the same opportunity exists in French. Its just that, when it comes to necessity, the French only need one construction rather than 4. And that is "il faut".

      If you can grasp what I and all the contributors have said here, it will become a lot easier to use and recognise in time.

      Oh... almost forgot. We have is not expressing possession - like "we have a ball" - but is expressing obligation "we have / we must". Again, its "il faut" which pervades the idea of obligation.


      This is just to back translate the examples given by MèreDesChats and RonnieJA:

      • Your example: What is necessary to eat later? = Que faut-il pour manger après ? (cuttlery)

      • "It is necessary to register by noon tomorrow to be considered students." = Il faut s'enregistrer demain à midi pour être considéré(e)s comme étudiant(e)s.

      • "We must register by noon tomorrow to be considered students" = Nous devons nous enregistrer... / On doit s'enregistrer...
      • "You need to register by noon tomorrow to be considered students." = Tu dois t'enregistrer / Vous devez vous enregistrer...
      • "It is good oral hygiene to brush your teeth regularly" = Pour une bonne hygiène bucale, il faut se brosser les dents régulièrement.
      • We must brush our teeth regularly for good oral hygiene" = Nous devons nous brosser les dents... / On doit se brosser les dents...

      Note: both "se brosser" et "s'enregistrer" happen to be reflexive/pronominal.


      It says that i missed the word "it" but the sentence "what is it necessary to eat then" doesnt make much sence to me...


      Hi Johan.debr:

      Did you write "What is necessary to eat then?" Because if you did, then you have the same issue I had. I even got into a long debate to defend the correctness of "our" sentence and to argue that IT made the sentence absurd. I still struggle a bit with this supposedly correct answer, but everyone I have asked in America, whose authority on English I trust, has told me that it is correct with IT in there. That without IT, the question seems to ask about the tools needed to eat (and I can see that too). I suppose it is easy to accept this "awkward sounding" sentence (awkward to us) when you think of the response as being "IT is necessary to eat...." Hence the question, "What is IT necessary to eat then?"

      If you look at this thread, you will see the debate I had on this and the sources I found and others shared to support the correctness of the given sentence. For my own sanity, I will stick to the translation "What must one eat then/next?" or "What does one have to eat then/next?" preferring "next" to "then" because it just makes better sense to me as a translation for "ensuite". I would translate "alors" as "then".


      What then is necessary to eat? That not correct?


      Perhaps "What then is IT necessary to eat?" would be accepted.

      When I first encountered this sentence, I gave an answer similar to yours but was informed that your question is asking about the tools necessary to eat while the original question is asking about the food.

      Q: What then is necessary to eat? A: Cutlery, a plate,...

      Q: What then is it (that is) necessary to eat? A: Dark green vegetables, carrots, salmon....


      Why not "What have we to eat here"?


      "qu'est-ce qu'on a à manger, là ?" would be my understanding of your sentence.

      This cannot work because "here" is spacial and "ensuite" is temporal.


      You are right. I mistyped it. I was going for "What have we to eat then?", much closer to the target phrase of "What do we have to eat then?". Since that was yesterday, I have no idea if that's what I actually wrote into Duolingo or if I made the same mistake there.


      Is "have we to" specifically British English vs the American "do we have to"?


      My guess is that "what have we to do" is British, if it used much at all. "What do we have to do" sounds more natural and familiar to my American ear.


      Is "What do we have to eat" acceptable?


      No. When? Then!

      • 1222

      Is the question, What is necessary/required to eat? Or, What is left to eat?


      Neither. It means "after the appetizers, what do we have/need to eat next?"

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