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  5. "Le fromage est facile à coup…

"Le fromage est facile à couper."

Translation:Cheese is easy to cut.

March 11, 2013

45 Comments


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

Anyone mind if I giggle about this sentence and an associated English idiom?


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

unless it is offensive, I would like to know about your English idiom and giggle as well... ;-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drplasma64

"to cut the cheese" is kid slang for to fart or pass gas!


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

I am giggling... think my son will love it!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wiggy96

I think this is only an American English idiom - never come across it in UK. 'Pass gas' is also exclusively American, I think. In England, it would be 'pass wind'.


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

There used to be a motel not far from where I live in the US called the "Passing Wind Motel". Never stayed there, though.


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

In the US one can say "break wind," though I believe that's a bit archaic now.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Will-J-Crawford

still reasonably current here, at least with people my age :-D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MDIA729

As dr plasma said - it is something of an idiom for American children - I don't think I've used it since I was 12.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Phoe-Phoe

It's definitely not used in Australia


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sally410

It is now part of UK youth culture, especially in cities at first. I came across it whilst visiting friends. Next time I requested cake!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeffrey855877

It's an Italian idiom also, which kind of figures.

It surprises me that the French don't have such slang, because it's so obvious when you cut into a nice, fresh round of stinky cheese. Sometimes, you even get a sound-effect as trapped gasses are released. Plus, it just seems French to me - French-style humor.

Isn't it true that "un petit petard" is French slang for "fart"?

(A "petard" is a bomb that you hang on a wall to blow a hole through it and gain access to fortifications. Often, the bomb crew was killed in the blast, thus the English expression "being hoist by one's own petard".)


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

"Un petit pétard" is a little joint (haschisch). Fart is "un pet".


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

is there any reason in particular why "à" is used and not "de"? Is this just a matter of memorizing?


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

That is the correct construction for "facile" in this sentence

If you want to use "facile de", it will be another construction: Il est facile de couper ce fromage (it is easy to cut this cheese)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Josh5now

Is it because the direct object for 'couper' is used as the subject of the sentence? But when the sentence is made impersonal, the d.o. is with the verb, and you use 'de' then? Just trying to wrap my mind around it


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

in the sentence "il est facile de couper ce fromage", "il est" is impersonal, like a set formula: 'il est facile de' + infinitive.

if you want "il" to represent the cheese, you need to say: "il est facile à couper, ce fromage", which is an emphatic form of "ce fromage est facile à couper". The preposition "à" is only attached to facile: ..."facile à" + infinitive


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

great explanation.


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

Is it also correct to use "C'est facile de ..."?

I remember seeing it somewhere...


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

Yes, that is correct, as another impersonal construction, similar to "il est facile de + infinitive".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KriEri
  • 1873

"It is easy to cut the cheese." has the same meaning, doesn't it?


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

I thought so, but they didn't accept my answer.


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

That’s what I wrote... I can’t imagine ever saying in English “Cheese is easy to cut”... or is it just me?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Will-J-Crawford

Not all English cheese is Mousetrap!


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

What do we do with 'cheese cuts easily'?


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

"le fromage se coupe facilement".


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

Thank you! I should've guessed so.


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

What about "it's easy to cut the cheese"?


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

Il est / C'est facile de couper le fromage


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

Sorry I can see the difference from a grammar point of view, but I think the meaning is the same, unless you want to put some enphasis on cheese, and write it at the beginning of the sentence (sorry I'm neither English or French, so it's not so easy for me) Thanks


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

Maybe you have noticed that the preposition changes when you move from a real subject (le fromage) to an impersonal subject (il or c'):

  • (the) cheese is easy to cut = le fromage est facile à couper
  • it is easy to cut (the) cheese = il est/c'est facile de couper le fromage.

Of course, both mean the same thing at the end of the day.


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

Since they both mean the same, I wrote the second one, Sitesurf... To be honest,, for me the sentence “Cheese is easy to cut” is just not natural...


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

Is there a rule of thumb for when "a'" precedes an infinitive and when it doesn't in order to convey the notion of "to do something"? In this example, why is it "facile a' couper" instead of "facile couper"?

And yes, I'm giggling at the English idiom, too. :-)


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

Not really. It is one of the hardest things to learn and you just have to memorize: "Il veut couper le fromage" "Il apprend à couper le fromage" "Il oublie de couper le fromage" "Il aime couper le fromage" "Il hésite à couper le fromage" "Il s'occupe de couper le fromage" "Il promit à sa mère de couper le fromage" "Il enseigne à sa mère à couper le fromage" "Il pense couper le fromage" "Il songe à couper le fromage" etc.


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

Why "it is easy to cut the cheese." Is not accepted.


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

Why not facil when it's masculine?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/100jeff

simple and easy are colloquially interchangeable in English


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan34557

How do we know the sentence isn't translated to "the cheese is easy to cut"? If we wanted to generalize it to all cheeses, wouldn't we use "Les fromages est facile à couper"?


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

You would need to pluralize the verb and the adjective as well: "les fromages sont faciles à couper".

And then the English would be "cheeses are easy to cut".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan34557

Thanks, but what about translating to "The cheese is easy to cut"? Is it the same and just relies on context?


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

With this French sentence, you cannot know if it is a generality (cheese in general) or a specific cheese (the cheese), because of the double meaning of our definite articles. In any event, both "cheese" and "the cheese" are accepted in translation.


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

Why is it couper and not coupe ?


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

After a preposition, the verb is in infinitive.


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

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