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  5. "Cet instant-là est magique."

"Cet instant-là est magique."

Translation:That instant is magical.

March 10, 2013



As far as I know, -la is added to distinguish between 'this' and 'that', since 'cet' means either. When you want to emphasize that it is 'this', you add -ci and for 'that' you add -la. Otherwise, there is nothing feminine in this sentence, all masculine, if I am not mistaken.


You are right with the distinction between -ci and -là, where -ci is closer to the speaker and -là further (time or space). However, it is not rare that we switch them, -là being more often used (why? I don't know).


and this is where I discover that French is possibly as... messy as English :)


Ha! Brava.


It makes me cry...


Just like voila is used more often than voici, right?


You're right, this là with accent grave has nothing to do with gender. When looking at accents/diacritics, it's worth keeping in mind that they usually either currently or historically denote a different pronunciation from the vowel without the accent, so etymologically have nothing to do with a similar accent-less spelling.


Do you need the "la" in this sentence: Cet instant-là est magique. If yes, what would the sentence mean without the "la". Thanks.


Depending on context, "cet instant est magique" could mean the same or would not specify that it is about the present instant.

Whereas "cet instant-ci" would rather mean that it is the instant that we are living now. But many French use "-là" when "-ci" would be more appropriate, therefore, context would tell.


hm... and one would think (an outsider to French) that it would be the other way round, i.e. cet instant-ci (now), cet instant-la (in the past)... But then language like people don't always make logigal sense :)


Your hm... is legitimate, I edited it because it was not clear enough.


I see, although I still do not understand, why Duo warns you not to confuse them, when, it seems, they are often confused.


I have noticed these sometimes weird "beware not to confuse X and Y". Sometimes, they are relevant...


Here is another "scratching my head" sentence. What does this mean? Perhaps a more accurate translation would be, "this moment is magic(al)." As it stands translated now, it makes no sense in English.. and now to report it.


The addition of -là is emphatic, as if you said "this/that very moment"


So then really, isn't the sentence correct (and makes more sense) "this instant (or moment) is magic" ???? Instead of that instant.


Actually, "la" (pardon the lack of accents) translates to "there". So what you have is, "That moment (there) is magic." So really, it would seem to me that "that" is more correct in this sentence.


Ah, yes, I see your point.


Is there a good reason why "this moment here is magic" was rejected? It seems to me that's exactly what is being communicated, "this VERY moment...", "this moment NOW..." and "this moment HERE (in time)..."


I am not sure for English but I can tell you what it means in French:

"Cet instant-là est magique" is about a repetitive instant, something that happened in the past, not something that is happening right now at the time we speak.

J'aime quand les enfants ouvrent leurs cadeaux. Cet instant-là est magique. (I like it when kids open their presents. That very moment is magic.)


Okay, thanks, I learned summat.


So what's wrong with: That instant there is magical. ?


It does not work because in this case "là" is not about space but about time.


Thanks! Your example totally clarified it for me.


In English i'd simply say. A magic moment (about present opening or similar)


Yes, that is a common term and should be allowed.

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This is the best answer to the question of "-là" in this context that I have heard. The inclination to put "here" or "there" in English is of no use at all (it just leads to awkward English sentences) but this explanation hits the nail on the head! I have often said that we can't translate it if we don't know what it means. You have given it meaning. Thank you!


I tried to put: this moment here is magical, I know it's not usual english, but isn't there also this practice of putting here after this +noun to emphasize, (i was marked wrong) i.e. this picture here, or this apple here or even: that apple there. or is it alien to you all?


It is said in some dialects ("this here apple" or "this apple here"), but it is not proper english. In fact, it's probably a remnant of the French influence on english.


It has a distinctly rural sound. My grandad, who was from small-town Texas, used those terms.


Ridiculous, colloquial, & redundant!!


Would "That is a magical moment" be acceptable? It is better english...


It's good for non English speakers to know that your proposal is better English, but since we are learning French, we have to stick to the French construction.


In English spoken in the southern United States, one might say "that there instant" or "this here instant." These should be accepted, as this is how many people speak the language.


Just a thought, do other people slide forward and catch the green bar mid exercise, or just people with skeletal mishaps?! C'est la vie.


La magie = magic | magique = magical, right?

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