"Cet instant-là est magique."

Translation:That instant is magical.

March 10, 2013

36 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/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.

April 1, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/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).

April 2, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnaTall

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

October 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

Ha! Brava.

March 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Querist

It makes me cry...

February 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DutchDuoL

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

July 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

September 29, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

March 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

March 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/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 :)

January 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

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

January 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ildi9

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

April 2, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

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

April 2, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

September 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

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

September 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/sdrc22

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

September 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

October 2, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/sdrc22

Ah, yes, I see your point.

October 2, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/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)..."

January 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/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.)

January 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/LolPepper

Okay, thanks, I learned summat.

January 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/jcoombs1950

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

January 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

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

January 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

Thanks! Your example totally clarified it for me.

February 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnaTall

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

March 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

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

March 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
  • 1717

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!

March 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/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?

August 1, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

February 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

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

March 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JagMicker1

Ridiculous, colloquial, & redundant!!

August 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mlindal

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

September 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

September 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

November 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

November 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/nba1001

La magie = magic | magique = magical, right?

December 2, 2014
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