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  5. "Cet instant-là est magique."

"Cet instant-là est magique."

Translation:That instant is magical.

March 10, 2013

36 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ildi9

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.


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

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).


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

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


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

Ha! Brava.


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

It makes me cry...


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

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


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

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.


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

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


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

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.


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

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 :)


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ildi9

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


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sdrc22

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.


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sdrc22

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aron89ification

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sdrc22

Ah, yes, I see your point.


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

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)..."


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

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.)


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

Okay, thanks, I learned summat.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jcoombs1950

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


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

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


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

Thanks! Your example totally clarified it for me.


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

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


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2271

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!


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

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?


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

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.


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JagMicker1

Ridiculous, colloquial, & redundant!!


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

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


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

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.


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

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KATEJ15

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nba1001

La magie = magic | magique = magical, right?

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