https://www.duolingo.com/RKSMT

J'en question

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I'm reading a book with this sentence:

Parce que j'en ai une centaine comme ça à la réception.

and according to google it means the same as it is, as with ...j'ai une... instead of ...j'en ai une.... What is the reason for the en usage?

August 27, 2017

19 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Heike333145
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I think this "en" in this case means something like "of these" (I deduce this from "une centaine", which seems to refer to a countable noun in the plural form), and what "these" are depends on the context, i.e., what has been said before.

This would be my attempt at translating the sentence:

Because I have about a hundred of these at the reception.

August 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/MarcD50
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Correct.

August 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Midnightwards666

It is indeed a difficult prounoun and has been from the start for me, and for the same reason you mentioned - we're so often unsure about why it's being used before the verb. After I watched a video I understood it much better, but I still sometimes get a bit confused. I'm actually on active look-out for such sentences, am nothing all of them down and will seek answers. If you haven't already, this video is a must-watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJt1vxCmRus

August 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/RKSMT
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I'll keep the link you recommend but I can't use it now because I can't understand spoken French yet. Could you give me a guess as to what you think the difference would be in the two versions?

August 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Midnightwards666

Having read the sentence again, I can actually quite clearly see the requirement of «en» now. It's to do with quantity without a specified object. Unfortunately that's the video I used to learn this point of grammar, I don't know any English equivalents or translations. Can you read French? If so, there are subtitles.

I personally think learning French grammar with French videos is far better than with English videos - it's where I took grammar after my Duolingo tree. While watching, I make note of any words I don't know, pronunciation, my comprehension improves from listening and I learn French grammar... ça fait d'une pierre quatre coups !

August 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Midnightwards666

To explain in this particular example: the pronoun «en» translates to «of them» in English. J'EN ai une centaine - I have a hundred OF THEM. Other examples: Il veut cinq ordinateurs (correct), il en veut cinq (correct), il veut cinq (incorrect). Il veut cinq alone is incorrect French. En has other uses though, explained in the video. Your example covers quantity, which he talks about.

August 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/RKSMT
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I had thought it was something like that (of them) but I was thinking, it. But I thought I was wrong because then the "comme ca" is unnecessary. You could just say "I have a hundred of them at the reception" instead of "I have a hundred of them like that at the reception." But I'm used to French expressions not being the same as English. I have this whole other question I posed that explains that:

https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23898057

Anyways, thanks for the help! Also I'm going to take your advice on reading the subtitles in the video. Is that the youtube channel you use to learn grammar or are there others? Thanks again.

August 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Midnightwards666

Well, the «comme ça» does add detail. I don't know what the object is but I will imagine a very random example: let's say it was about keys. Let's compare the two sentences: ''I have a hundred keys in the reception''. ''I have a hundred keys like that in the reception''. The sense is quite different. The first one is simply 100 keys, with zero additional detail. The second sentence, we know all keys are similar/the same to what we are comparing. Either way, the pronoun «en» stays necessary, as we are talking about quantity.

Yes, that YouTube channel is primarily what I used for grammar, I watched every single one in the playlist. :) There's also Français Authentique.

August 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Heike333145
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Ok thanks. But how it is « en » has lost me completely. Do we always refer to such mountains as « du » and « de la » ?

No, I think the "de" (and thus "en") is due to the verb "faire".

"Faire X de Y" means "turn Y into X" /"make Y into X".

Edit: Here are some examples:

"Faire de cette vision une réalité" etc: http://www.linguee.fr/francais-anglais/search?source=auto=faire+de

August 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/RKSMT
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Actually in my previous example I wasn't explaining my mindset correctly, I guess after knowing the answer I was thinking more of the redundancy. Originally I thought "I have a hundred like that" was sufficient and it was "it" or "of them" that was unnecessary. I guess I have to remember to always use en whether a redundancy exists or not.

In the book its hundred letters exactly the same so "comme ca" is necessary.

August 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/MarcD50
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You are both correct. It would only sound redundant in a literal English translation. In French, both 'en' and 'comme ça' are necessary in that sentence, because the person wants to stress their similarity. It is more emphasis than redundancy.

August 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Midnightwards666

Okay, following what I said about us often being unsure why «en» is preceding a verb... this happens far more rarely now, but still sometimes, and I said I would note down from now any such sentences I see. Here's one I came across just now.

« Avec sa riviére glacée en guise d'épine dorsale, le mont Wakefield est un monstre glacial à déconseiller aux riders novices. Chutes de neige, couloirs étroits et traces ultra-rapides EN font un sommet réservé aux competiteurs aguerris ».

Why could that sentence not suffice without the confusing usage of « en » before the verb « font » ?

August 28, 2017

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Chutes de neige, couloirs étroits et traces ultra-rapides EN font un sommet réservé aux compétiteurs aguerris ».

The "en" refers back to Mont Wakefield. The sentence would not work without "en" because that reference would be missing: WHAT is turned into a summit that is reserved to (certain types of competitors)?

I think this could be reformulated in the following way: "Chutes de neige, couloirs étroits et traces ultra-rapides font du Mont Wakefield un sommet réservé aux compétiteurs aguerris."

But this would be less elegant because "Mont Wakefield" would be mentioned twice in that paragraph. It's much more elegant to mention it just once, and then refer back to it with "en".

August 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Midnightwards666

Ok thanks. But how it is « en » has lost me completely. Do we always refer to such mountains as « du » and « de la » ?

August 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Midnightwards666

I see, thank you... du mont Wakefield, of « the » Mount Wakefield. I didn't know about « faire de » in the context of turning X into Y.

August 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Midnightwards666

Just for info: I actually read just now « fait de » in another sentence, about a different mountain peak. Now I understand fully, « en » was replacing « de » in a context I didn't even know existed, no wonder I was confused. New thing learned!

August 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Midnightwards666

5 minutes later update: another sentence found with confusing pre-verb usage of « en »...

« La rumeur circule déjà qu'il est tellement dégoûté qu'il est parti se cacher. Mais quelque chose m'a dit qu'on n'EN a pas terminé avec lui ».

This one I can't understand at all. There is no quantity. My first guess was that « en terminer » is replacing « terminer de faire quelque chose » or «terminer de le supporter », but I checked google and it seems we say «terminer à », not « terminer de »...

August 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Midnightwards666

Keep reading and using the language, you will get a feel for it. If you say «il veut cinq ordinateurs», no need for the «en» because we've specified the object. Comme ça does not specify it, thus the «en» has to stay.

August 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Fayke
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The version without "en" is simply incorrect, I don't think Google corrects such mistakes.

August 27, 2017
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