1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Tu demandes un livre à ton f…

"Tu demandes un livre à ton frère."

Translation:You ask your brother for a book.

March 4, 2013



I'm not a native English speaker, so I want to ask: is "You ask for a book to you brother" bad English for this case?


No. That is not bad English- that is TERRIBLE English... And NOT at all your fault. How this French phrase translates to that English sentence is a mystery that rivals the origins of the Pyramids. Wth... Sitesurf? You're up to bat, Sir.. can you please explain this to me? (that translation from those words).


Are you referring to the above discussion dated 4 years ago, or to the main translation written at the top of the page (you ask your brother for a book)?


I wrote that, too, and it was accepted, but I wrote it with a totally different meaning in mind... What I meant by that is that you demand someone else to give a book TO your brother... Is THAT correct?


No. In your scenario, you would say "You ask for a book for your brother".


I stand corrected... But then.. would this French sentence mean THAT, too?


No, because "You ask your brother for a book" means that you want a book from your brother; "You ask for a book for your brother" means that you are asking someone else for a book that you can give to your brother.


"you ask for a book for your brother" = tu demandes un livre pour ton frère.


Precisely... that's what I mean... à ton frère could mean for me that the book is for giving it TO my my brother.... And I wonder if that would be correct here...


I thought "à" meant "to", no "from"


In this case, "a" is used to show that "frere" is an indirect object. I think a better translation would be, "You ask your brother for a book," but they switch it to keep the word order consistent.


Okay... The translation from French to English seems Really quite awkward to me... I want to ask for insight here... but I just don't know what or even How to ask.. it just seems like an awkward phrase.


The alternative constructions accepted by the system:

  • you ask your brother for a book
  • you ask for a book from/of your brother


Ugh.. okay, I read the whole page here, and seriously, all I got was a headache. Break time.


wish they would tell you that à could mean from too


I think it does usually mean "to," but that "demander a" is an expression that is the English equivalent of "to ask for".


I believe, but Sitesurf if you're out there please tell me if I'm wrong - anyway I believe the "a" when used with demander is only necessary if you're asking a person to do something, which would often mean that the person is an indirect object,


The preposition "à" is used to introduce whom you are asking (indirect object):

  • Je demande un livre à mon frère = I ask my brother for a book.

If you ask somebody to do something, you will use the preposition "de + infinitive"; in this case, the whole clause is the direct object of "demander":

  • Je demande à mon frère de me passer un livre = I ask my brother to pass me a book.

  • 672

Oh dear, sometimes I feel lost. No ones fault but mine, but it is discouraging. Sorry


Prepositions are the worst in every language. In English, you "ask somebody", in French, you "demande À quelqu'un". It literally means "you ask TO your brother for a book", which doesn't work in English, but can be adequately translated using "from your brother".


Why can't it be "you ask for a book for your brother"?


Do you think "You request a book from your brother" should be acceptable?


Yes. You request a book from your brother. You ask for a book from your brother. The only thing wrong with yoru previous sentence is the preposition 'to'.


How do I know that à means from in this case? What indicates that it's not "to", other than in English that wouldn't make sense?


Well, " à " has many uses. Here's a series of pages regarding it: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/preposition_a.htm


I translated this as "Ask your brother for a book." and it said I was wrong. I'm a native English speaker, and I can tell you that it is correct!


It is a valid statement in English but it is not a correct translation of the assigned words. In the statement provided the listener/reader knows perfectly well who is asking for the book because it reads tu demandes. This is translated as you ask.

Your statement ask without the pronoun leaves open the possibility that you are saying I ask for the book. You leave it up to the reader/listener to try to figure out your meaning. The French sentence does not do that.



That is not how à is being used in this sentence.

Demander à = to ask (someone); Tu demandes à ton frère = You ask your brother.
Demander also means to ask for;  demandes un livre = ask for a book.

If you put it all together, it means "You ask your brother for a book".



OK... How would you say you ask for a book for your brother? Would it be "Tu demandes un livre pour ton frère?


As far as I know, that is how it would be said (but, I am just learning, as well, so ...).


Well... we're in the same shoes, and that's why I'm trying to find the answer. I appreciate all your help but at the end of the day, I'd really like to know what a native speaker - like Sitesurf - would say about the whole thing... No offense :-) Where are you in the tree, by the way?

  • 1429

It showed "You ask for a book of your brother" as the correct translation. Does this mean a book owned by the brother or a book about the brother?


The "to"-'a totally changed the meaning for me, so I changed it to "for", but is changed the meaning.


I was given as a correct answer, "you ask for a book of your brother". Although it makes sense I don't think this answer is particularly good or straightforward. "You ask your brother for a book " is much better.


You ask your brother for a book?

  • 1633

the liaison is " ...deman D-UN livre ....", not " demende-S-UN livre", both the male and femal voices.

I am wondering how the liaisons should be? Can it be the 2nd last consonant, not the very last one? Or it is arbitrary between the last two?


The liaison is optional, this is why you can't hear the Z sound before UN. The pronounciation of "demande, demandes and demandent" is, therefore, the same with the D sound last.

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.