"Cakes? There are some left."
Translation:Des gâteaux ? Il en reste quelques-uns.
en is the pronoun I believe. So there are some of them left. I guess in English we are used to just excluding it, but presumably it's more important in French?
Correct. It is very common for French to require the absent item referred to by the pronoun to be further identified. Quelques-uns/some absolutely must refer to the cakes because en tells us this the case.
Just in case the listener thought that the speaker had veered off to start talking about cupcakes, en brings the focus back to a previously mentioned or understood something that is absent from the sentence. The previously mentioned or understood item in this example is cakes. It may seem obvious what the speaker is referring to but French requires that it be emphasized so as to be perfectly clear.
En and Y fulfill that function. Which one is used depends on the construction of the sentence.
What was wrong with saying, "Des gâteaux? Il y en a encore." Is it because 'en' represents some of a quantity rather than some individual cakes?
That's "There are more (of them)", a bit different in meaning even though it's very close
Plus would be a negative, so il n'y en a plus would be no more left. Il y en a d'autres perhaps?
That would be "there are some", but this is "there are some left", which probably has a different enough meaning that it wouldn't qualify. Also, French really likes having articles attached to its nouns ("des gâteaux")
I'll preface this by saying I'm not a native speaker, but this is my understanding of the topic. Anyone else out there, feel free to correct me.
So, you can make sentences that use the actual noun:
Il reste un gâteau = there is a cake left
Il reste des gâteaux = there are some cakes left
This is where 'en' comes in. It is a pronoun that refers to things previously mentioned. In this case, cakes.
Il en reste = There is one left
Il en reste deux = There are two (of them) left
Il en reste quelques-uns = There are some (of them) left
A sentence like "Il reste deux" is incorrect. The pronoun is, as far as I know, required.
I did the same: "Il y en a qui restent." Any native French speaker around to comment?
«Y» means to/there so it is redundant to say «y» and «à qui». Also there is no reason to add «à qui». To say «there is left» is idiomatic in french and is constructed like so, «Il reste trente dollars à moi» becomes, "il me reste trente dollars» I have 30 dollsrs left.
You misunderstand, Josiahf. It isn't "à qui" but "a qui." In other words, "Il y en a" (There are some, or literally There are "of them") "qui reste" (which remain, or which are left).
Ok well the problem here is still redundancy. As I said this is idomatic in french so the il refers to the «some» that is left. There is still no need to add «qui». Basically the equivalent in english would be « There is some of who left.» A better translation would be «Il en reste quelques-uns» because it clarifies what is left". P.s.«il y en a qui reste» doesn't make sense so stop trying to say it.
Here let me put it a little more simply. The reason you are making this mistake is because you are mixing two types of sentences to say what is left.« Il y en a certains qui restent ( à n'importe où)» and «il en reste quelques-uns» since you've only learned one construction, I assume, you are failing to realize that, while its the same in English, it is not in French.
I am also interested in the opinion of a native French speaker. "Il y en a qui restent" is definitely valid in French, but I am not sure if in the present case. The examples I have in mind are all about "rester" as a human will (close to English "to stay") "Quand il fait froid il y en a qui restent chez soi" "Il y en a qui restent assis, sans rien dire"
In our case it is clearly "remain after someone took some" and I would also use "Il reste des gâteaux"
This lesson is très difficile for me to understand. Even with three years of french in high school, I dont remember this. Oh well, practice makes perfect!
used "des gateaux? il y en a encore", and was told the right answer was "des cakes"...wtf?
I still don't understand why it is correct to say "Des cakes? Il y en a encore" but not "Des gateaux? Il y en a encore." Is this really so or is it an error?
You can count the cakes so no. But if it was soup, for example, you could say « De la soupe ? Il en reste un peu » (don't forget the « en »).
I understand this now upon further reflection. Some cake is different from some cakes. Some of one as opposed to some meaning 'many.'
Hmm, good question. It sounds weird to me, but http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa021601et.htm seems to disagree, so maybe
What about using the adjective restant? Il y a quelques-uns restants? I'm sure I mutilated that....
I feel like I wasn't taught anything like this before it came up and was completely unprepared...
I wrote "des gateaux? il en reste quelques'uns" and got marked wrong for the reason of "pay attention to gender." Say what? Was it for using an apostrophe instead of a hyphen?
Yup don't worry Gâteau is masculine and the only problem I see is the missing hyphen. The apostrophe is only needed when one word ends with a vowel and the other begins with a vowel.