"How to become her friend?"

Translation:Comment faire pour devenir son ami ?

March 3, 2013

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I think this is bad English. We say "How do I become her friend?" "How do you become her friend?" "How does one become her friend?" The given sentence is the title of an article perhaps, but not good spoken or written English. "What should I do to become her friend?" is also better English. So, you cannot translate the French " Comment faire pour devenir son ami ? " directly into English, you give the equivalent well-phrased English question.


I agree with you. And it also doesn't help us get the right answer to be given a non-question as a model for a question

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Why is amie masculine, I would have thought ami is masculine and amie the feminine version?


When you translate "her friend" and the friend is a woman, you use "son amie" instead of "sa amie", because "amie" starts with a vowel. So for pronounciation reasons, "sa" is changed to "son".

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Thanks for that clarification.


Is comment faire a fixed expression? I googled and the result showed it means how will we do/how. Thanks!!


"comment faire ?" is used to ask "how to?" or "how to proceed?" or "how can we do this?"

You may also find "comment" with a lot of other infinitive verbs: "comment arriver jusqu'à la gare ?"; "je vais te montrer comment cuire ce gâteau"...


But I was given the right answer as son ami, not amie


Thanks, I forgot about the vowel


You're exactly right: “lady friend” = « amie », “gentleman friend” = « ami ».


Could we just say "comment devenir..."? Would that change the meaning somehow?


Not much actually.


But that was correct as well.


Would this not be closer to "what to do to become her friend" (or, if you wanted a complete question, "What should I do to become her friend?")?


That also sounds like better English.


Can anyone explain faire pour devenir?


"comment faire pour devenir" mirrors something like "what shall I do to become..." or "how shall I proceed to become...?" or the shorter version "how to become...?"

In French, infinitive verbs are often used with an interrogative word: "que faire, comment faire, pourquoi faire, où faire... ?", all being impersonal, whereas in English, you would probably use a conjugated verb, like "what/why/how/where shall I...?"


But 'How to become...' is at best a rhetorical question and is not the short version of any question. 'How shall I become...' is what we are looking for. Duolingo is doing odd English. I don't know about the French.


"Comment faire, pourquoi faire, où faire, quand faire...": an interrogative + an infinitive is a very common way of asking an impersonal question in French. This is what you are learning here and you cannot guess it if you are not shown this direct translation, which will mechanically be used in the reverse exercise.

However, a few other natural English translations are accepted of course, including the one you are mentioning.


Comment devenir son ami, is accepted! Is this a correct translation?


Why isn't this son amie?


"son amie" is accepted provided the rest of the sentence is correct as well.


Why can't I say "comment on devient...". I thought "on" is also used for general statements like "one" or "you" in English.


It is not absolutely impossible, but "how to + verb" primarily translates to "comment + infinitive".


Very helpful. Apparently in French, sentences do not have to be complete sentences in the English sense to pass muster in French? Is that new or a style issue? I was reading some french comments in a light periodical on the web and there were quite a few comments that were not full sentences in the English grammar sense. More apositional phrases I think is the term. Is that traditional in literature or new or perhaps just casual? it's how we think, but is it also ok in French to write or speak in phrases non-casually?


I think we consider such questions in infinitive as complete sentences.

Otherwise, other cases of fragments ending with a full stop are common in contemporary French writing.

In speech, a lot of sentences are incomplete, and ellipses are common; as long as your counterparts understand you, you may not need to fully develop your sentence.

However, it is difficult for someone learning French to identify what you can skip and what not.


Would "Comment devenir l'ami d'elle" be acceptable as well?


No, "l'ami d'elle" does not work (= the friend of her).

her friend = "son ami(e)" is fine with a possessive adjective.


I thought son ami means : his friend,


The English is not a sentence; there seems to be word missing.


Why not 'comment faut-on devenir son ami?'


"Faut" never has another pronoun than the impersonal "il".

  • Il faut, faut-il, il ne faut pas...
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