"Can you break this thing with your bare hands?"

Translation:Peux-tu casser cette chose à mains nues ?

July 19, 2017

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I am wondering why 'avec' is not used here?

Another example from this lesson was "je mange avec les mains'

Why is the sentence not written using 'avec mains nues'? I think it's either idiomatic, or it has something to do with the use of the article 'les' in the first example.


"À mains nues" is an idiomatic phrase. It means "without a tool".

"Avec les mains nues" is grammatically correct but it sounds odd because it means "without gloves".

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Votre explication est tres claire. Merci beaucoup, sitesurf!

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There is this other phrase in Duo: "J'adore me promener pieds nus dans l'herbe."

Why is there an "à" before "mains nues" in "Peux-tu casser cette chose à mains nues ?"

Why isn't there an "à" before "pieds nus"?

Are both variants - with and without the "à" - valid for both phrases? If not, how to decide when to use "à" and when not? Thanks!


English is equally capricious ... we walk barefoot rather than with bare feet, but we break things with our bare hands, not 'barehand'.


There is no such thing as "à pieds nus". Your options are "pieds nus" (idiomatic phrase) or "avec les pieds nus", but again, the latter sounds a bit odd.


Why is it "a mains nues" and not "aux mains nues"? Hands seems plural.


In case you don't know already, aux = à + les, whereas in this case the article isn't used. Hands is plural.


Yes, the question here is why there is no article for mains??


By the way, where is the "YOUR" in this sentence? Or is this an idiom?


It's a quirk of English-French translation when we speak about body parts. In English, we speak about my/your/his hands with possessive articles. In French, we use definite articles (or no articles here) when the owner of the body is obvious.


Sitesurf, can you shed some light on this? These questions have been here for two years with no one explaining. Please help. Thanks.


"avec les mains nuesé means "with naked hands" (without gloves), while "à mains nues" is the colloquial expression "with bare hands" (without any gloves or any tools).


What's wrong with 'Pouvez-vous casser ce truc à vos mains nues?'?


There is no "vos" used in the expression -- it is just "à mains nues".


I note with interest that the "your" of the English original is not translated. The translation, therefore, is of, "Can you break this thing with bare hands?"

Please note: "barehanded" or "bare-handed" both entirely acceptable in English.

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