1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Les amis que j'ai sont les m…

"Les amis que j'ai sont les meilleurs qu'on puisse avoir."

Translation:The friends that I have are the best one could have.

March 6, 2013



Would it be correct to say "... que l'on puisse avoir"?


It is more than correct, it is elegant.


Merci beaucoup, Sitesurf.


Would it be too formal for everyday language?


Not at all, proper French does not always sound (too) formal.


I think proper French tends to sound formal to the British (and maybe English speaking in general) ear because we inherited a lot of our formal language from the Norman conquest.


Is infixing the l' here to avoid saying something that's homophonous to an unpleasant word?


Why would you use the "l" here? Just for phonetic reasons?


Yes, exactly.


Caution: DL suggested answer 'The friends I've are the best...' is incorrect grammar. In (at least American) English, we wouldn't abbreviate 'I have' here because have is used in the sense of possession rather than as an accessory verb for past tense. In case you were misled by the app. (Reported 3/3/15)


I have reported that forbidden contraction to the Dev team who is looking into it.


Still not corrected. Anyway you could say: ...I've got... Maybe that's the confusion.


Except this contraction is not one put in by any of the moderators working on this course. It is actually a programming anomaly in which someone thought it was a good idea to substitute "I have" for "I've" wherever "I have" occurs. It's ridiculous, but we're stuck with it until they have figured out a way to fix it.


It's definitely the same in UK English. I doubt there is a type of English in the world where the contraction is considered correct in terms of possession.


In the north they actually do that sort of stuff, and it always sticks out to me when they say it. My dad says stuff like that, although less so these days. They would say stuff like:

Person A: Where is it?

Person B: There it's!


Excuse me asking, but when you say "north," do you mean north of Watford, or north of, say, the Yukon? (Can't remember having heard it in north of England.)


not OP but i have seen this in some novels...enid blyton's Five Find-Outers comes to mind


Why j'ai sont and not j'ai eu?


"j'ai"stands for "I have" and "sont" for "are"

The subject of "sont/are" is "les amis/the friends".


I didn't understand this subject at all. Any references may help! Thanks


Yes, I've understood that the subjunctive comes into play when there is doubt, but why here? Because it's an opinion?


This is rather conventional because you can say that sentence and be 100% convinced that your friends are the best one can have.

But theoretically, at the end of the sentence, you could think of "unless I have been mistaken", or something like that.


I thought the subjunctive was used in this case because it was preceded by a superlative?


That is right. What I commented on was the fact that when you use this sentence, you may not feel any doubt.

So in this sentence, I confirm, like you said, that the subjunctive is prompted by the superlative "les meilleurs".


Could we also say "les amies" and then use "les meilleures"?


Oui, pas de problème.


I am one of them, yes, but it does not change the fact that I can't figure out why your sentence was rejected.


If you were the one who wrote "les amies que j'ai sont les meillleurs qu'on puisse avoir", I confirm that it is wrong.

amies .....meilleures


Sorry then, I don't have any explanation for this.


I keep getting this question wrong, by one or two words, in both French and English, and after a long time waiting Duolingo decides I'm fully correct (seems like a timeout issue). April 2015 on the website, mac, firefox latest version.


You may not believe it but there are 2161 English and 28 French variants for this sentence.

Can you give some of the translations you have already proposed and were refused, that may help understand what's going on.


Woah, ok, now I understand! I wish I had made a note. I will redo the Subjunctive lesson #1 and see.

OK I was pretty close but this was still wrong (I used "could", really it should be "can") - Duolingo took ages then said I am 100% correct.

"The friends I have are the best one could have."

I got it as a mic question (no problem) and then into French from audio I typed (missed the plural and spelling on meilleurs) - took ages then marked correct:

"les amis que j'ai sont les mieller qu'on puisse avoir"

Finished lesson with another Type What You Hear and gave this answer - took ages marked correct (misspelled meilleurs again!):

"les amis que j'ai sont les mieullers qu'on puisse avoir"
Translation: The friends that I have are the best you can have.


Thanks for explaining that the slow calculations are false positives. On the issue of subjunctive, I think it's time for me to haul out the grammar book. :-)


That was more research for @Sitesurf . . . but yes it could explain some things!
My two favourites, in English:
"if I WERE you" ,
"So be it."
Can't see subjunctives disappearing from either language despite their unpopularity with some people.


Thanks, I am pleased to read it! And there is no excuse to not use your subjunctive, for conjugations are not as tricky as in French!


One of the English translations is wrong. One would never say "The friends that I've" .
The other translation is also not natural English - you would be very unlikely to hear anyone say this sentence. More natural - "My friends are the best one could have." Not sure that a native English speaker is coming up with these examples?


We are aware of this anomaly. Duo is fond of English contractions, including improper ones. This was reported many times, but they do not seem to be seeking to improve the related algorithm.


Programming language must be awkward, but XX've is never used in the end of a sentence. Neither is XX'll. And I'm sure some other contractions.


Can I say, "the friends who I have are the best one can have" ?


My response "The friends I have are the best one could have" was accepted, but I don't understand how "could" and "can" could both be correct. How does one decide which is best?

[deactivated user]

    I put "Les amies que j'aie sont les meilleurs qu'on puisse avoir" and was marked as correct. As soon as I had pressed the button I realised that I should have used "j'ai". Was I really right or is there a mistake in DL here?


    If this is what happened, DL was wrong twice:

    les amies que j'ai sont les meilleures qu'on puisse avoir


    Curious, I did exactly the same with the same result: marked correct:

    Les amis que j'aie sont les meilleurs qu'on puisse avoir

    So Duo is forgiving 2 mistakes on the same sentence?


    I' m sorry, but i don't even understand what the subjunctive is. Could somebody help me out?


    What is your native language?


    My native language is English


    Subjunctive is a grammatical "mood", rarely used in modern English, but very frequent in French.

    In English, it is used to express a commitment, a suggestion or possibility:

    • I propose that he buy my product (= I propose him to buy my product): "buy" is subjunctive here (no -s at the end).
    • If I were you, I would...: "were" is subjunctive.

    In French, it is massively used with specific conjugations:

    • Il faut que j'aille à l'école: "aille" is the present subjunctive of verb "aller" (indicative present is "je vais").
    • J'ai peur que vous ayez des problèmes: "ayez" is the present subjunctive of verb "avoir" (indicative present is "vous avez").

    Please read this to know more about this: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/ss/subjunctive.htm


    even though i got it right, i was really confused by "ai sont". you don't normally conjugate 2 verbs in a row in french, though i guess the subject for each verb was different.


    The construction is exactly the same in English with "... j'ai sont..." = "...I have are..."

    "sont" belongs to the main clause "les amis" is the subject.

    "que j'ai" is a relative clause = that I have


    Je pensé toujours que les pauses ne sont pas suffisants à distinguer les sujets, par exemple dans cette phrase, la voix dité "Les amis que j'ai sont..." et pas "Les amis que j'ai, sont..."

    Ça parfois m'embrouille.


    J'ai toujours pensé que les pauses ne sont pas suffisantes pour distinguer les sujets... Parfois, ça m'embrouille


    The following wrong answer was accepted despite two mistakes, both big: "Les amis que j'ai sont les meilleurs qu'ont plus avoir."


    My answer ""The friends I have are the best I could have" was not accepted.

    It says the correct answer should be "The friends I have are the best 1 could have", which is clearly an error.


    Is it just me or is this a terrible, clumsy sentence?


    The English or the French? I think the English is, yes but Duolingo loves calque translations and it's hard to do that with the French sentence because it's quite far from English syntax.

    If I were translating this in the wild, I would probably avoid calque translation and say something like, 'My friends are the best you could have.' - even this sentence I had to revise a couple of times. I don't like the repitition of 'have' so I decided against 'Of the friends I (do) have,'. Maybe, 'Of my actual friends,'?

    I think Duolingo wants to make sure you grasp the interplay of the parts of speech rather than produce elegant English or French.


    Couldn't it be "best one is able to have" as well?


    See Sitesurf's comment above: there are already 2,161 acceptable translations of the French sentence - I think they're probably knackered.


    "The friends that I have..." seems a little redundant. I wrote "My friends..." but it was marked incorrect.


    my friends = mes ami(e)s


    Yes, I realize that, but "my friends" is the same thing as "the friends that I have", so both should be acceptable translations.


    Well, I think Duolingo draws disctinctions based on emphasis so I think it's best to keep this in mind when translating sentences. After all, if the speaker wanted to say, 'my friends', they probably would have said, mes ami(e)s as Sitesurf has said so there must be a reason for saying, Les amis que j'ai which needs to be carried over into the English.


    Not really. You could talk about "the friends I wish I had", and these are NOT your friends. So there's some use in making a distinction. To get it even more blurry, "the friends I thought I had betrayed me". You are implying both "my friends" and "not my friends" in the same sentence.


    I think you are right. One of the hints had allowed to and able to for one of the words implying not only betrayal but bullying.


    The much more common way to phrase this sentiment in English would be "My friends are the best friends I could have."


    My friends are the best one can have.. I wonder where the national speakers and translaters are ?


    This is nice and matches: mes ami(e)s sont les meilleur(e)s qu'on puisse avoir.


    Is the rhythm in this sentence natural?

    I tend to mentally group "que j'ai sont" as a single thing, because "SONT" is the strongest word pronounced (both male and female versions).

    If I was the one talking, I would put emphasis on "J"AI" instead. Does that make sense to anyone else?


    Basically this collection of words is somewhat cut and pasted.

    You would probably have a tiny little pause after "j'ai".


    Awesome, that means I'm really getting the gist of this! Thanks once again, Sitesurf. o/


    "Who I have" marked wrong. When I was at school decades ago I was taught that "who" is for people and "that" is for objects.


    "Les amis [que j'ai] sont..."

    • [que j'ai] is a relative clause. "Que" is a relative pronoun, which represents "amis" ("amis" is called the 'antecedent'). This relative pronoun is the direct object of "ai" (the subject is j').

    Grammatically speaking, the English relative pronoun "whom" is used for people when the pronoun is the direct object of the verb - the friends whom I have are...

    But "who" or "that" are commonly used instead of "whom"; and you can even drop the relative pronoun altogether - "the friends I have are..."

    "Les amis [qui sont ici] ont..."

    • [qui sont] is a relative clause. "Qui" is a relative pronoun, which represents "amis" ("amis" is still the 'antecedent'). This relative pronoun is the subject of "sont" (there is no direct object)

    In English, the relative pronoun used for people, when the pronoun is the subject of the verb is "who" - the friends who are here have...

    In French, "qui" and "que" are used for people, animals and things and they are required.

    "qui" is used as the subject of the relative clause's verb and "que" is used as the direct object.


    I don't understand : "on" ="nous" = "we". But in this sentence i can read "ONE" ("The friends I have are the best that ONE can have"). Why not "The friends I have are the best that WE can have" ??? I'm begining to be tired...


    In this sentence, "on" does not replace "nous" but "one / someone / a person".

    "on" is used to replace "nous" in everyday speech, but also in writing and in speech to mean "one/someone" when you don't refer to specific individuals.


    Why is "amies" not acceptable; as well as "amis"?


    You were given this sentence in dictation. "Amis" and "amies" are homophones while the system compares your answer with the written sentence (with "amis"). Therefore I disabled the dictation exercise until Duo's developers can apply their special filter enabling "les amies que j'ai sont les meilleures qu'on puisse avoir" as a valid transcription of the audio.


    I wrote "The friends I have are the best that someone might have" and was told that it should have been "The friends I have are the best that one might have"

    I was a bit surprised.


    Nice sentence, (much better than some of the weird ones that keep cropping up that one would never normally use) and one I could definitely use. Thank you!


    This is the correct translation you cite: "The friends i've are the best friends one can have." Please correct your English! I wrote "I have the best friends one could have," which should be correct if not a literal translation.


    Only you wouldn't say "I've..." without "got" after.

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