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"Maybe it was really my imagination."

Translation:Peut-être était-ce vraiment mon imagination.

March 11, 2013

42 Comments


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

Would "c'était vraiment ..." Be correct, too?


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

Yes, in less formal way, but we would add "que": "peut-être QUE c'était vraiment mon imagination".

By the way I am not sure that the combination of "maybe/peut-être" and "really/vraiment" is relevant, in either language. But it is another story, not related to your question.


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

It's one of those word combinations that doesn't make a lot of sense if you think about it, but people would say this sort of thing nevertheless, at least in English.


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

Don't know about the implications in French, but there's nothing wrong with the Maybe/really usage in English. "She's been telling me all along that I couldn't have seen a leprechaun, perhaps she's right. Maybe it really was my imagination."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/puppy7989

I agree - very common in English - but in English, as you have written, "really" should be placed before "was" in this sentence. Placement of adverbs in English is tricky and here "really" is functioning as an intensifier I think - complex stuff - really!!


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

You can say "Maybe it was really my imagination" as well, in a really informal context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/puppy7989

: ) Definitely can, but for me it places the emphasis elsewhere and changes the meaning of what has been said. And now that I re-read the french, I am not convinced that I understand exactly where the french emphasis is in the above sentence !! Just when I thought I had nailed this one.....

She was really beautiful. (She was very beautiful)

She really was beautiful. (Just emphasing that unquestionably, she was beautiful)

Really, she was beautiful (Truly, honestly...)


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

In French, the adverb seems to come after the verb that it modifies. In this case, the verb is inverted with its subject, but that seems to be treated as a unit, so vraiment is modifying était-ce. In your English sentences, you have really modifying the adjective, and then the verb; in the third sentence, I'm not sure how to describe it grammatically, but you should have a comma after really, "Really, she was beautiful;" it's set apart from the sentence proper, which is a thing you can do with adverbs in both languages. In "Maybe it was really my imagination," you have a sentence which isn't exactly "correct" (because the adverb comes after its verb instead of before), but is still acceptable in informal contexts. In speech, I would place the emphasis on "really" (whereas in "really was" I would emphasize "was"), and it implies a stronger sense of doubt. At least, that's my quick analysis; I'm no English professor.


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

What about "Peut-être qu'il était..."?
I've entered it without the 'que' and it was marked as a mistake because I should have used 'ce'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rpl12345

I was given the correction 'Peut-etre c'etait mon imagination' without 'que'.


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

I used "c'etait vraiment. . . " and they counted it correct. (And I did not include "que".) What I want to know is why would they use "etait-ce?"


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

Because "peut-être" implies doubt, it often prompts a semi-interrogative construction with inversion verb-subject pronoun.

It is more formal than the statement construction but both are used.


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

Sitesurf, Thank you again! A lingot for you! (How do you spend yours?)


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

Thank you for that Willijanb.

Very good question! I use my lingots as rewards for any good contribution I see on any thread, but I still have 1,525 left...


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

Wow! I'd give a lingot too, but I'm poverty-stricken (lingot-wise) compared with you! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rpl12345

Just a strange colloquialism! I suppose we just have to learn them - not understand them.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rknight1995

Oui, mon ami. I used it, and I acquired a correct answer.


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

Is this imperfect (and not passé composé) because it is a state of mind in the past?


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

Être in the past tense is nearly always in the imparfait because being is not usually quickly-complete, one-time action.


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

Sorry, but that is not right. For quickly-complete, one-time actions, we use the passé composé (compound past), because imparfait generally implies a lasting action in the past, or repeat action or habit.


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

That is what I was attempting to express. Apparently I did not do so very clearly. Apologies.


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

Sitesurf, thank you for always being there to set us straight!


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

I thought you had to use "peut-être était-ce" or "peut-être que c'était" (one or the other), but the possible results include "peut-être c'était." Is that last one technically correct?


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

Yes, it is technically correct. However, if we want to state it (rather than using a semi-interrogative form), we would rather say: "c 'était peut-être..."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/studyy
  • 1346

Is my French dictionary wrong ? It gives "imagination" as a " noun, feminine ."


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

You use "mon" because it begins with a vowel, even though it's feminine.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/studyy
  • 1346

Thanks again. I don't know when I'm going to get that in my head !


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

Does this rule apply for all nouns starting with a vowel?


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

yes, + those starting with a non aspirate H

-mon habitude (fem)


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

merci beaucoup, this can be very useful.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dwendl
  • 1937

Virtually all French words ending in ion are feminine. Some exceptions: lion, scion.


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

I know this is imperfect tense but I just want clarification on c'est vs. il est. I thought "C'est" was used before articles, pronouns and adjectives and il est was used before adverbs. Thus: C'est une pomme. C'est bon! mais il est trop tard. Would someone please clarify the use of c'est vs. il est. Merci beaucoup...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/puppy7989

Hi - check this link and see if it helps. I found her explanations really clear and I think I have the difference nailed - at least for now :)

http://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/cest-versus-il-elle-est


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

Absolument le meilleur!!!! Merci beaucoup. Je comprends!!! :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/puppy7989

De rien - she has a real gift for explaining the language. It's worth trawling through her old blog posts. She has lots of info about the french of "now", not of yesteryear :) Good to know them both of course!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gsimon60

this phrase is a question??


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

The minimum requirement for a question is a question mark at the end (?).

So this sentence is a statement and not a question.

But, when a sentence starts with "peut-être", thereby implying a doubt, an inversion Verb-Subject is made in French.


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

Maybe Peut-ētre était-ce seulement mon imagination, would have made more sense. ???


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

As I said earlier on this thread, "peut-être" and "vraiment" do not go together well: one is hypothetical and the other one is certain, so if we could rewrite the original sentence, we could indeed adopt your approach.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Davewilson123

My dictionaries make imagination feminine?


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

Your dictionaries are correct. You use "mon" in this case because "imagination" begins with a vowel. An adjective modifying "mon imagination" would still have to be the feminine form, however.

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