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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



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


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


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


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


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'.


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


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


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


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.


It's definitely not used in Australia


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!


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".)


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


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


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)


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


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


great explanation.


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

I remember seeing it somewhere...


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

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


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


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


Not all English cheese is Mousetrap!


What do we do with 'cheese cuts easily'?


"le fromage se coupe facilement".


Thank you! I should've guessed so.


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


Il est / C'est facile de couper le fromage


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


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.


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...


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. :-)


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.


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


Why not facil when it's masculine?


simple and easy are colloquially interchangeable in English


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"?


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".


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


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.


Why is it couper and not coupe ?


After a preposition, the verb is in infinitive.


Thanks - here is a Lingot for you

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