"Les garçons restent des garçons."

Translation:Boys will be boys.

March 11, 2013



How do you say, "boys are capable of as much compassion and decorum as girls, and excusing their bad behavior because of their gender does a disservice to both boys and girls" in French?

October 26, 2014


«Les garçons sont capables d'autant de compassion et de décorum que les filles, et utiliser leur sexe pour excuser leur mauvaise conduite dessert autant les garçons que les filles». ;)

April 14, 2016


Why use "que" instead of "et"?

September 23, 2016


It is a compound structure, to be compared to the English "as much as", for instance. Here it is « autant … que … ».

Note that you could also write « dessert les garçons autant que les filles » instead, the meaning being slightly different and translated "does a disservice to boys as much as to girls".

September 23, 2016


Les hommes seront des hommes, et les garçons seront des garçons- la seule différence est la taille de leurs jouets. (Ou prix de leurs jouets).

September 17, 2018


Thanks, I came here to read this.

November 26, 2014


De rien

September 17, 2018


So true. I had a similar thought when I saw the phrase.

February 15, 2015


I came here hoping to see this, but not expecting much. You gave me back a little bit of my faith in humanity. Lingoted. I think I love you a little.

May 26, 2016


How do you say, "these lessons are here just to help you learn the French language, its expressions and idioms, and are not meant as ideological sociopolitical statements about human nature that need to be debated or negated by a member's own sociopolitical ideologies?"

Kidding. :)

September 15, 2016


"Ces leçons sont ici pour aider simplement on apprend la langue de français, ses expressions et ses expressions idiomatiques, et ils ne sont pas fait comme des expressions idéologiques ni des expressions sociopolitique sur la nature humaine qu'il ne faut pour débattre ni pour nier par les idéologies sociopolitiques d'un membre"

That was a shot in the dark. I'm still really new at this and that was actually kind of a hard statement. . . ;)

February 11, 2017


Wouldn't That be terrible. The hard work of learning without the relief that comedy brings. Balance is helpful in learning.

September 6, 2018


Never considered the effect a phrase like this has, thanks for the insight.

September 18, 2015


I still havent seen an answer

November 9, 2015


This only appears 590 times on the web when searched for in Google. Is this even a saying in French?

January 28, 2017


See here

December 14, 2017



March 14, 2017



June 23, 2017


I am happy someone posted this before me ❤

July 8, 2017



February 11, 2018



March 14, 2018


@xMira_ okay, I give up, give it back to me.

September 9, 2018



August 25, 2018


yuck, duo.

July 2, 2014


Well, I would say that while this saying is indeed rather unpleasant, that's not on Duolingo. What Duolingo is doing is presenting French and giving English translations, so that we can learn. I don't think these phrases necessarily should be interpreted as being endorsements of the idea(l)s behind them. Sometimes there are some kind of mean sentences, and it might be that the learner never wants to use them, but it's still fair to learn them so as to be able to recognize and understand them when others use them to or around the learner.

So I would say instead, "Yuck, this saying".

November 22, 2016


Why doesn't the "The boys are staying boys" work? Sure, it's awkward but it has the same general meaning.

July 22, 2013


I mean, I replied "the boys stay boys" and it was correct.

December 22, 2013


My answer was a common expression used in English - "boys will be boys!" and it worked

June 25, 2014


I know the contempary social context causes this common expression in English to be pregnant with volatile interpretation - I'm "a boy" myself and for this expression to mean that "boys"'s despicable behaviour should be condoned is absolutely unacceptable!

May 17, 2015


Boys' behaviour isn't innately despicable, you know.

January 31, 2016


This is not why we are here. Keep sociopolitics out of Duo, please and thank you.

April 13, 2016


I think I'm confused. How does one expect to learn a language divorced from culture (which consists, in part, of "sociopolitics")?

September 27, 2017


Since it's an expression, it won't necessarily translate literally. In English, the "will be" and "stay" are conjugated in future, whereas "are staying" is present.

March 2, 2014


"The boys stay boys" worked for me

May 27, 2014


I agree. The [big] boys are not acting their age; they continue to act like [little] boys. Also called the Peter Pan syndrome. "Boys will be boys" is idiomatic, whereas "The boys are staying boys" is a literal translation but also perfectly acceptable English and grammatically correct.

July 28, 2014


What about "boys keep boys"? Since nobody (among so many native speakers) has said so, I assumed It can't be correct; but I can't help liking It (gramaticaly speaking, of course). Could anyone explain me why It is wrong? Thanks !(obviously I am not English-speaker)

November 26, 2017


This means that boys remain boys. "keep" when used with people means that boys hold boys and don't let them go. The expression is "Boys will be boys." for big boys that continue to act like little boys. It is not necessarily about bad behavior, but this expression has been used in the past by some to excuse bad behavior.

June 29, 2018


Just a suggestion: this exercise might be better in the sections on idioms.

December 12, 2015


Boys will be held accountable for their actions just like everyone else

May 18, 2016


We understand human nature and there will still be consequences.

June 29, 2018


Why is it "Les ... des ..."? (As opposed to e.g. "Les ... les ..." or "Des ... les ...".)

May 10, 2014


I 2nd the question . Why are Les and Des used in their respective positions in the sentence? ( and not les,,, les or des...... des) etc

March 12, 2017


I would guess because it's saying that THE boys stay as boys in general/ stay a bunch of boys. Not SOME boys stay THE boys or THE boys stay THE boys

August 10, 2017


Well, that doesn’t work for an explanation, because French uses the definite article for generalizations, unlike English. The first instance “Les garçons....” is actually the generalization form which leads to “Boys...” in English. Maybe the French expression is less bad than the English one? Boys will remain (indefinite amount) boys. Yes, they never grow up, but only some of them?

September 9, 2018


What if the boys are actually staying with some boys? How would this not work? And "will be" not present tense, which is what we are studying. Help!

July 24, 2013


I think, if the boys are staying with some boys it means "Les garcons restent avec des garcons"

December 25, 2013


why not place this with your idiom lessons and we'd be prepared for it?

July 30, 2014


Is this an actual expression?

July 8, 2013


I checked google.fr and there are a few thousand places where this appears verbatim in french to mean "boys will be boys"

August 3, 2013


If it Wasn't, it is now. We just translated it.

September 9, 2018


It is in English.

July 23, 2013


I meant in French...

July 25, 2013


Duo offers it as such. Advanced French speakers on this board have not objected.

July 25, 2013


This makes absolutely no sense! The only phrase I think is acceptable is Boys will take responsiblitity for their actions just like any other person

December 12, 2016


It makes as much sense to me as "Owls drink beer". Besides, this is an actual phrase that is still in use with a precise meaning (just like some French court decided to acquit a defendant who had fought with the plaintiff judging « C'est gaulois! »: "it is a Gaul's nature"). Whether we like it or not is not really relevant.

December 12, 2016


This phrase makes me so mad every time I hear it!

December 13, 2016


Well, if the words take control of your emotions, you could always put your Fingers in your ears? Or perhaps not take it quite so Intensely Serious...

September 9, 2018


Non-harmfull acts such as liking cars, playing games or going biking can just as easily hold this idiom. It sounds like you are "so mad" because you are projecting a negative view of groups onto it. Even when it's a bad act, saying boys "will be" something isn't itself saying the act it justified, of the hook or anything of the sort. It also doesn't necessitate that the same logic doesn't get applied to other groups.

May 22, 2017


Shouldn't we leave idiomatic phrases like these in a different section? Right along phrases like "the grass is always greener" and "the early bird gets the worm"?

June 13, 2016


Boys will be boys is a very old English and French saying. Live with it.

August 27, 2017


It seems that Duo is not ideologized by gender studies ;)

June 13, 2014


Why les and then des as opposed to des and des or les and les ?

September 30, 2014


The first one just has to be « les » because it is referring to boys in general, all the boys. Using « des » instead would mean that the sentence applies only to some boys or some particular boys.

The second one doesn't refer to “boys in general” but rather to the “characteristics of boys”, pretty much like a substance and its characteristics. So it must be « des » (de les).

Yes, that's a tricky one.

September 9, 2018


Crap! Wait a minute! Glat64, is actually asking a question relevant to the phrase. Dear Lord I pray someone answers

September 9, 2018



When i see this phrase I think of two boys playing in the mud and their mothers laughing and saying oh "boys will be boys"

I like how now its a sexist thing to say this lol jesus.

February 15, 2017


@kat137: To say the boys stay with (some) boys, I believe the French would be: "Les garçons restent avec des garçons" or "Les garçons restent entre garçons". And you're right, that "will be" is future, so perhaps this sentence should not be in this section.

July 24, 2013


Advanced students on this board say that the French present tense is sometimes used to indicate the future. In English, boys will be boys is a common phrase that employs the future tense.

Most of the time, when this phrase is used in English, it is a comment on current behavior not speculation about likely future possibilities. It is actually an acknowledgement of the past and the present. It is cast in the future to suggest an expectation the current behavior will be continued.

July 24, 2013


Well.......it can refer to the future though.

You could be talking about a weekend away with your mates next month, and I asked you what you would be doing. You might say "Playing golf, watching footy and drinking beer" and I could say "yeah, right. Boys will be boys, huh?"

May 6, 2014


I don't understand this sentence. I don't get it

March 29, 2016


It is an idiom. It is usually used when a boy or a man does something that is considered 'typical boy-like' , like getting exited when he sees a sports car, staring at the waitress' bum, trying to impress a girl or guy but failing, etc.

This sentence seems to upset a lot of people who have a very fixed mindset

November 5, 2016


Pim, this phrase is most commonly used in current English (especially in the States) to excuse bad behaviour based on gender. To argue otherwise would be disingenuous or wilfully ignorant.

It may once have been innocent enough, but the associations and inferences it now holds quite rightly makes a lot of people ill.

October 11, 2017


@loladesu, maybe that's why "I" see everyone over-reacting, I am old. It still Is an innocent expression to me.

September 9, 2018


@TheDidact, stating the obvious to the oblivious doesn't seem to be working yet. But I admire the dispassionate reasoning... I'd heard rumours it was extinct... Please stick around.

September 9, 2018


Isn't this one a verse from a Paulina Rubio's song? (Don't wanna get involved in sexism argunents)

May 2, 2016


I came here to see if anyone knows Benny's song..

August 19, 2017


Why do you use 'les' at first and then 'des'?

January 5, 2017


That's a tricky one, and it is greatly tempting to answer "It's an idiom, and it's the way it is". Let me have a try at explaining why it is like this, even though it's just my take on it.

The first « Les garçons » is embracing all boys, by selecting the gender (and young age). The second « des garçons » is expressing "some boys" or if you expand it "some people with the attributes of boys".

You can actually put that in practice in many other sentences :

Le bois provient des arbres = Wood comes from trees

Le pain, c'est de la farine! = Bread is flour!

La neige fondue devient de la pluie = Melted snow becomes rain.

In all cases, there is the same structure : general subject + verb + some constituent of the subject.

January 5, 2017


Awesome this is super helpful. Could u translate those other sentences for me? That would help me get a feel for where this is the right construction.

January 5, 2017


Edited the first post with the translations. :)

January 5, 2017


i answered "the boys will be boys" instead of "boys will be boys" why was i counted wrong? isn't "les" when u say "the" and "des" when u omit??? I know its a common phrase but why was I wrong with a literal translation?

April 29, 2017


Would, Les garcons sera les garcons, work?

May 15, 2017


anyone think of BENNY after reading this? ;P

May 22, 2017


Why not put this one in idioms lesson?

July 27, 2017


The translation immediately made me think of Benny's "Boys will be boys", it's a great song. I was doing the select the missing word exercise, if I had to translate this myself I think I might've put "The boys are staying boys". As an idiom this is a little frustrating as it's in present tense but when translated becomes future.

August 19, 2017


@StarlightWalker, I am playing "lickety split" just for you.

September 9, 2018


Totally an idiom and should be in that module.

January 21, 2018


How do you say 'give me a break!'

February 22, 2018



September 9, 2018


I know I am a little bit late to this discussion but those who think Duo or any other website or anyone who is teaching a language isn't responsible for the phrases they use, they are horribly mistaken. By teaching a language you are teaching the culture as well, but regarding this topic don't you think we should start leaving out the phrases that were used when making excuses for people? or just generally aren't improving our behavior? the reason why we are moving so slow in terms of humanity is that we are always whining about why we should be more careful about what we say and how we act. I am extremely happy that in this discussion ignorant comments didn't get any undeserved likes. Language learners kudos to you.

April 5, 2018


Why do you think the worse? My husband and I have two sons and when they were being rambunctious we would joke "boys will be boys". They were children and behaving as, well, boys. If you are reading an extra meaning into the wording then maybe you should be looking at yourself and your mind - is it in the gutter?

April 5, 2018


Since instead of arguing politely you went straight to insulting, I don't see a reason why I should be polite either. Your argument is so stupid you just gave me an example of your nonsense mind, you didn't give a valid reason. I'm sure that's how you raise your boys, that's why we still have so many problems with sexism. I usually don't waste my time on illiterated rude people like you, but know that some phrases has been used in so many wrong ways that they still carry that negativity. Even if you use it harmlessly. So next time think about what you do more. And don't reply me please. I don't like arguing with rude people.

April 5, 2018


@ava, ohhh Ava, Ava... "Illiterated" ? Enough said...

September 9, 2018


If we are translating directly and not implying another concept/saying, then it should read, "Les garçons seront les garçons". "Will be" implies future tense, not present. Sayings become tricky to those who are not familiar with the meaning or implication of the words being put together to form an adage.

July 24, 2013


Yes and no. Technically it does but this is idiomatic English and the expression "boys will be boys" in English does not refer to the future activities of boys but rather to the stereotypical nature of their present activities.

August 24, 2013


There is no sense of futurity in "boys will be boys"; rather it implies a sense of resolve or determination, or even of that is the way things are. Trouble is, in English the formation of the future tense in general is mixed up with the present tense of the verb "to will": future tense is I shall, you will, he/she/it will, we shall, you will, they will; the present tense of "to will" (or "to be obliged to") is the converse of this: I will, you shall, etc. Strictly speaking, it should be "boys shall be boys", but that's idiom for you. Excuse the grammatical detour but I find grammar fascinating.

March 9, 2016


I disagree about the futurity of "boys will be boys", and submit that the French is the way it is simply because the idiom exists that way in the French.

March 9, 2016


Answer to Wunel: Similarity between the two idioms that ("Boys will be boys." and " "you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear ". that the silk purse will be silk purse. From a bad thing we can't do a good thing. We can't change its nature -ironically they can be synonyms, I think so.

December 22, 2013


The boys remain as boys is equally correct right? DL isnt accepting it

January 17, 2014


The boys remain boys, but not remain as.

January 17, 2014


The 'will be' in this sentence does not mean as in they'll become boys in the future, but rather in the sense that they never change, boys never grow up, etc...

February 18, 2014


This idiom like came out of nowhere, but while examining I thought that it seemed a bit familiar. Interesting way of putting it though...

March 10, 2014


What about 'The boys stay as boys'?

August 3, 2014


can't you say the "the boys stay as boys"?

December 16, 2014


You can in a Peter Pan movie.

February 23, 2015


It is a phrase so it can not be literally translated. A bit unfair I admit.

January 7, 2015


Just to confirm, is this saying actually used in french?

February 7, 2015


Yes it is. We also have « Les chiens ne font pas des chats » (meaning bad parents make bad children, and good parents make good children, or any other characteristic you can think of that could potentially inherited) among so many other quite controversial/backward/aged/... but also sometimes true sayings.

January 5, 2017


Why isn't the literal translation, the boys stay with the boys, accepted as well?

February 14, 2015


"with the boys" = « avec les garçons »

January 5, 2017


Just a thought (beyond linguistics): What do people think about when they say this sentence?

March 13, 2015


I think of a boy with a toy car growing into a boy with a sports car.

October 16, 2018


is there another way to say this

July 22, 2015



July 29, 2015


Why "Boys stay boys" is wrong?

February 4, 2016



August 18, 2016

[deactivated user]

    I take it that it means "The boys stay with the boys".

    December 26, 2016


    No it doesn't. "stay with the boys" would be « restent avec les garçons ».

    December 26, 2016


    Duo will be Duo

    January 16, 2017


    I morally object to this sentence as it is a sexist remark to excuse sexist actions.

    March 2, 2017


    The negative backlash to this idiom astounds me. As a mother of 3 grown boys, this idiom doesn't just refer to a bad behavior. Nor is this an expression to excuse that behavior. By genetic design boys and girls operate, interpret and live life very differently. Consider how boys and girls greet close friends. MOST of the time boys will bump shoulders, fist bump or just nod to each other where girls are generally more affectionate and likely to hug each other. My boys often greeted each other or their friends in the most masculine, and often ridiculous ways. There were many times I would laugh, shake my head and say "boys will be boys." My boys and their friends were constantly wrestling each other, rough housing and being goofs where these behaviors are rarely exhibited by girls (I'm of one three sisters) . At our basic level, we are still animals, born with the same instincts and base natures that all males and females in the animal world have. There's nothing mysogonist about it, nor is it "just an excuse" for boys bad behavior. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming. Seriously, lightened up a bit people.

    March 27, 2017


    By genetic design

    Consider how boys and girls greet close friends.

    Right, because greeting is totally genetic.

    September 20, 2017


    THREE whole boys?? Don't overdo the sample sizes there, Dr. TaraConklin

    August 6, 2017


    This is a language learning site, not a political forum. If you wish to spew, go to Facebook. We are trying to learn French here. Your point about all the deeper more profound implications of Les garcons.... etc, has been made. If you do not wish to discuss language get off of this site.

    May 23, 2017


    Sure, because language is totally devoid of any cultural implications!

    September 27, 2017


    @Stephen, merci beaucoup. You deserve the last word. Eloquently phrased.

    September 9, 2018



    June 7, 2017


    the literal translation should be accepted if you do not know it is supposed to be a colloquial expression.

    August 10, 2017


    It's Beret Girl from An Extremely Goofy Movie! Always wondered what that line would sound like in French!

    September 18, 2017


    Duolingo, 'the boys REMAIN boys...' is much better.. Isnt 'will be' confusing?

    September 20, 2017


    Not for native English speakers who are familiar with the expression. And if English isn't your native language, well, then you are learning more about that, too. In cases involving people's behavior, "will be" emphasizes that they are set in their ways and are unchangeable, and are never going to change. "Remain" has a weaker denotation, more suitable for something that merely happens to be the same as it was before.

    September 21, 2017


    I thought of it not as an expression but as the 'will' of the future tense... No I am not native with latin languages as you guessed)) To make easier to remember, I tend to formulate like math; this equals to this etc., I also tend to make connections between similar words of two languages, remain sounded closer to restent ))) Anyways, good explanation and info, thanks a lot )).

    September 22, 2017


    boys will be boys

    November 12, 2017



    December 23, 2017


    I don't condone violence against girls/women. However, we need to look at these language learning lessons objectively. Analogy: A lot of awful things happened in the past, but does this mean they should be completely removed from the history books? I actually think we should know about them, learn from them and ensure the mistakes aren't repeated. As some users previously mentioned, the expression is often a reference to innocent things, like boys playing in the mud, talking about airplanes, bragging about how cool their grandfather is. Knowing an expression isn't an issue, using it under inappropriate circumstances can be an issue.

    December 24, 2017


    I went with, "the boys remain boys" and it got accepted, which I feel is slightly more ok.

    May 24, 2018


    Good Grief! I've never seen such a response to a phrase. One thing is perfectly clear- no one lacks an opinion.

    September 6, 2018


    How do you get "boys will be boys " our of that???

    October 16, 2018


    Technically it means “boys will remain boys.” The English expression “boys will be boys” means that boys will act like boys. So the two sentences seem similar. The French seems to emphasize that when they grow up that they will still act like boys. The toys just get bigger and more expensive, like a sports car. The English seems to emphasize that we cannot expect them to act differently, since they will always be boys, how can they act like something that they are not - which would be okay if you expect a lot of great things from boys. Some people misuse this expression to excuse bad behavior which is wrong. Bad behavior is not what boys are designed to do. So, if boys will be boys, then someone should find out why the boys are acting out of character, because when boys are little they do not do the kinds of things that people tend to excuse with this expression.

    October 16, 2018


    221 comments, yikes.

    November 17, 2018


    mais non

    November 28, 2018


    is it wrong to say the boys remain boys?

    December 16, 2018
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