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  5. "How much do I weigh?"

"How much do I weigh?"

Translation:Combien je pèse ?

March 4, 2013



Duolingo suggests two answers: "combien je pèse?" and "combien pesé-je?". Why the difference in "pèse/pesé"?


The regular form should be pèse-je, but it is very difficult to pronounce. That is why the verb form is changed.

Note that whenever you use the interrogative form verb-je with a verb ending with -er at the infinitive form, you will have to add this acute accent to the final -e:

  • mangé-je, dansé-je, pensé-je...

However, to avoid this unusual construction, the French massively prefer using the other interrogative form: "est-ce que je pèse ?", "est-ce que je mange ?", etc.


Well, « pèse-je » is not hard to pronounce, it's just really ugly.

For the acute accent, honestly I believe you, because I don't remember the rule (we never write that). But, I can add that, despite the acute accent, we say « è ». Oraly, your list become « mangè-je », « dansè-je », « pensè-je ».


Let's just say it's awkward to pronounce, if not difficult.


So, to use est-ce que I would write: combien est-ce que je pèse? (?)


Yes, that's right. Just note that our Académie does not recommend to double interrogative words, so after "combien" or "pourquoi", you should not need "est-ce que".


Got it, many thanks, people!


This is the first time I've come across this rule for -er verbs. I was previously aware of "je peux"/"puis-je". Are there any other verbs that do this?


The answer to your question is easy: It's applicable to all verbs so long as the indicative or the conditional forms are used. However it sounds very formal and you usually have a 0.5% likelihood of coming across it in spoken conversations. The written form is more common and widely accepted.


Honestly, this is the first time I see that (and I'm french). I've never heard anybody say « Combien pesé-je ?» for the present time. Something that sound the same, that we say, but which is in the past, would be « Combien pesais-je ? » (“How much did I weigh?”). It may be technically true, perhaps it's something I learnt in school and forgot, but really, nobody says it!


pesé and pesais sound different to me, but that may be because one of my French teachers was a Belgian :) (His native language was Dutch, but I've heard that this distinction is common in French in Belgium.)

I pronounce "-ai" like "-é", but "-ais, -ait" like "-è". So "J'aurai" (I will have) and "J'aurais" (I would have) are distinct for me.


When you get out of the Loiret region, the difference between the open e and the closed e is less pronounced.


That's how I learnt it too!


But for other verbs, would you use the acute accent construct (mangé-je, pensé-je), or simply "est-ce que"? I understand that both are correct, but which one is actually used?


Also, what's the difference in pronunciation between mangè and mangé?


é = [e]

è = [ɛ]


Here is an article that explains it well - listen to the two recordings for "like the vowel sound in weigh without the y sound at the end" (é) and "like e in bed" (è) http://french.about.com/od/pronunciation/a/e.htm

Here is a Frenchman pronouncing "pensé-je" http://www.forvo.com/word/pens%C3%A9-je/#fr

Here he is pronouncing "j'ai pensé" http://www.forvo.com/word/j%27aie_pens%C3%A9/#fr


Je pèse combien?


Combien and comment, what's the difference?


"Combien" = "how much."

"Comment" = "how."


Why would "qu'est-ce que je pèse" be incorrect? thanks!


The construction, "Qu'est-ce que je [verb]?" asks, "What thing do I do [verb] to?" In other words, it is asking for the direct object of the action in question. So your sentence would mean "What object do I weigh?"

You could ask, "Combien est-ce que je pèse?" But combining "est-ce que" with another question word, such as "combien," is bad form and unnecessary. "Je pèse combien?" is preferred.


"qu'est-ce qu'il pèse ?" is also a colloquial question actually asking what the person's wealth amounts to.


My two choices were: "Combien je pèse?" and "Je pèse combien?" I opted to ignore the first, because it is such egregiously bad French. I know that all my friends in every level use this this way, but I'm wondering...has the Académie weighed in on this? Is the inversion obsolete? I would never say, and have never heard "Combien pesé je", so inverting any first conjugation verb is out of the question, even in jest.


Don't answer; it's a trap!


why not combien fait je pèse?


In French, you don't use "faire" to ask a question.


can someone explain why "combien est-ce je pese?" is not acceptable but "combien est-ce que je pese?" is? I seem to be making this mistake too often and not sure why....thank you


you need the "que" in there....the "that" :)


whyyyyyyyyyyyy why does it need a that?


It's more literally translated as, "How much is it that I weigh?" is it: est-ce; que - that


Sitesurf, thanks for that useful tip


How come "combien fait je pese" if it's a scroll over when i go through the sentence with my mouse?


To ask a question in English, you need a helper (do) but not in French; so "do" is not to be translated since it does not have any meaning.

  • combien je pèse ? = how much do I weigh?


The hints that you see when you mouseover the words are not (very) context-specific.

The hints are attached to an individual word or group of words, and if that word or group of words can be translated as "X" in any of Duo's sentences, then the translation "X" will appear in ever sentence containing that word, even if it isn't appropriate there.

That's why they are called "hints" and not "recommendations" or "suggestions" - something to jog your memory. You still have to determine, using the vocabulary and grammar that you have learned or are learning, whether a given hint is appropriate in a given sentence.

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I sure wish this program would do more than just tell me it's wrong. It needs to explain why I need to leave out words as in this case.


What was your answer? If you post it here, most likely someone will explain what is wrong with it. If you are lucky, it will be Sitesurf.


How much and how many both translate to a single word "combien".

To form a question in French, verbs do not need a helper like "do/does/did".

  • how much = combien
  • (do) = --
  • I = je
  • weigh? = pèse ?


why not "combien de"?


de is a preposition that comes before a noun, but here there is no noun, and you don't need (and can't use) de.


You're asking "How much of...do I weigh..." The "of" is unnecessary. Technically speaking, as mizinamo said, "combien de..." will modify a noun: "how much sugar?" "How many brothers?"


"Je pèse quoi ?" Is this casual or totally wrong? Thanks.


It's just wrong as a translation of "How much do I weigh?"
Quoi is used as the object of a verb or pronoun, so your sentence would mean, "What thing or object do I weigh?"

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