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

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

July 19, 2017

17 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan526081

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"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".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CSA_GW
  • 1307

Votre explication est tres claire. Merci beaucoup, sitesurf!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/coto.i
  • 2125

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!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sam362597

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/carolekolb

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/snowfed

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yucca-Moh

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marie282520

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmineHadji1

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VickyNolla

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DiazJulien

"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).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Xahnas

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2260

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/effyleven

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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