"How does the bird die?"

Translation:Comment l'oiseau meurt-il ?

March 10, 2013

This discussion is locked.


why not 'comment meurt-il l'oiseau' ?


This form does not work: if you use a pronoun (il) the noun it replaces has to be placed before:

  • comment l'oiseau meurt-il ? (formal)
  • l'oiseau meurt comment ? (less formal)
  • comment meurt l'oiseau ? (less formal)
  • comment l'oiseau meurt ? (informal)
  • comment est-ce que l'oiseau meurt ? (correct but unnecessarily complicated)


Hi sitesurf. Any clue as to why I no longer receive any emails from Duo regarding posts on discussions I am following nor the daily reminders? I attempted to post a problem to this effect via the Duo "Help" channel and it rejected the submission. I dont know how to access a particular thread so if you can help please would you post to my stream/ Anyone else know what is happening also please post to my stream. Thanks.


Have you checked that your email provider isn't sending them to a spam or junk folder? You make need to create a filter to prevent that.


Thanks neverfox. That's precisely what was happening. I'm inexperienced with computers. Thanks again.


Might sound funny, but I actually like the last one the most... “how is it that the bird dies” literally... 2nd and 4th I personally would never use (of course let’s not forget, I’m just a beginner in French :P )


Heheh, I prefer the last one too. When it comes to present tense the "est-ce que" structure has been the most intuitive for me. And as a bonus, "est-ce que" buys my mind some time to come up with the other words!


Why do you use the 'il' at all in that sentence? Why isn't it suffice to say: "Comment l'oiseau meurt?"


As I mentioned, "comment l'oiseau meurt ?" is informal, meaning this is not exactly the formal way of asking a question.


Why not MORT istead of meurt? What is the difference?


"meurt" is the active verb and "mort" is both the past participle (used in compound tenses) and the adjective.

  • comment meurt-il ? how does he die?
  • comment est-il mort ? how did he die?
  • il est mort = he is dead


is, "l'oiseau, comment meurt-il?" wrong?


it is grammatically correct, but a bit "heavy" in terms of style.


but DL has rejected it harshly :(


I always read this in the melody of 'What does the fox say?' :p


Hi SiteSurf - up to now I've been able to learn the rules behind each concept based on questions et. But the. HOW'S and WHYS of question structure evade me. Can you help with the logic and structure of asking questions? Thanks!


Basically, if you read my previous comments on this very page, you will probably get most of the rules, with the more formal way always being built with an inversion of Verb-Subject pronoun. Now, French also has a standard register and a sub-register of casual/relaxed forms (used in oral, mainly). To best approach what Duo expects from you to translate an English question into French, you should mirror the original form:

  • do you read books? - that is formal, so you can translate in formal or standard interrogative forms:

-- lis-tu des livres ? or est-ce que tu lis des livres (note that "est-ce que" is an interrogative introduction which does not change, whatever follows, except for the elition "est-ce qu' " in front of a word starting with a vowel)

  • you read books? - that is apparently less formal (even kind of exclamative), so you can translate in casual/oral form:

-- tu lis des livres ?

Now, the main issue you may encounter is that Duo does not always provide all forms as correct translations.

Should you have other, specific questions, pls ask.


It is funny how Duo gives me a question to translate with given words and then tells me to put spaces in between apostrophes...


Why is necessary the 'il' if the subject 'oiseau' is already there?


In formal questions, you will always get an inversion Verb-Subject pronoun, whether or not a real subject is already explicit (noun or name):

  • is he dying? = meurt-il ? OR est-il en train de mourir ?
  • is the bird dying? = l'oiseau meurt-il ? OR l'oiseau est-il en train de mourir ?
  • why is the bird dying? = pourquoi l'oiseau meurt-il ? OR pourquoi l'oiseau est-il en train de mourir ?


Bless you Sitesurf. Your explanations are so specific. All I wish is that because of their many diverse possibilities they were not so frightening. (This is just the little JJ spitting his dummy out.)


Pourquoi > "comment est ce que l'oiseau EST meurt" est incorrect?


You can't have two conjugated verbs one after the other, it would be like saying: 'the bird is dies'.

In addition, with interrogative words like "comment, pourquoi, quand, où, combien, etc.", you should not add "est-ce que" as a second interrogative phrase.

"mourir" is a tricky verb in French, because "il est mort" both means "he died" and "he is dead". The reason is that it is constructed with auxiliary "être", so "mort" can be considered either as the past participle of the verb, or as the identical adjective.


Merci! Ça m'a aidé beaucoup

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