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"How does he last?"

Translation:Comment est-ce qu'il dure ?

March 13, 2013

45 Comments


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

Placing an extra T or an L to avoid collision between two vowels in French is done for exactly the same reason as adding an extra N in English.

EG: an apple instead of a apple.


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

Just for those reading, since the translation above is "Comment est-ce qu'il dure ?", this post is referring to another correct response: "Comment dure-t-il ?" (I think)


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

You are perfectly right:

  • "comment dure-t-il ?" belongs to the more formal register;

  • "comment est-ce qu'il dure ?" to standard register (but it is not recommended to use both an interrogative word like comment, pourquoi, où... and est-ce que);

  • "il dure comment ?" to the relaxed/oral register.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CapK9

Why does "comment" come in the end of the sentece in the relaxed/oral register?


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

The oral/relaxed register uses less words, simpler formulas, and often a different word order.


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

Oddly, the most and least formal differ by one letter in length. It always surprised me that the standard register is the most complex.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CapK9

Ok, thank you again, this is pretty helpful! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/2m42m

Why not comment il dure ?


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

The correct answer in the multiple-choice question was the 2nd one, which you say is not recommended... Isn't that weird?


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

Because it is the way people ask that question in speech: pas très joli, but usual.


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

Just to make sure,it is not correct to say: "comment il dure?" is it? The only way to use the relaxed form is to place the adverb at the end of the question, right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ins-omnia

One of the wonders I find about French is questions. The parts of any question can be ordered the way you like! It doesn't matter what comes first, you'll definitely form a correct sentence...


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

Lucky you! Many learners are struggling with French questions...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ins-omnia

Well, most people want a specific construction of a question to memorize, although the same happens in English... We can say: "How durable is it?", or "It lasts for how long?", or "How long does it last?"... And they all have the same meaning...


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

Really helpful remark, thanks.


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

For the longest time I thought it was just meant to be pronounced that way. Then I realized it was supposed to be written that way as well.

Rapid movement of palm to forehead. Loud smack!


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

The most comforting last line I've read so far. Now I dont feel so all alone. :)


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

I remembered to do that this time on my own for the first time, woot! :)


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

Is there any context in which that sentence makes sense?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lechuza-chouette

Google it and you can find various contexts. Autocomplete suggested "how does he last so long in bed"


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

Glad to see autocomplete is just as immature as I am.


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

Google Translate also provides another translation of the sentence: "How is it hard?"


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

In French, it may make sense, talking about a man who manages to keep his job in spite of big professional problems.


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

In French maybe it's used.. but the English version sounds very strange.


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

Agree, this English sentence doesn't make sense unless we're talking about the bedroom.


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

Nope, in fact it happens to work in exactly the same context as Sitesurf's example. "to last" is to endure.


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

Replace "last" with "endure" and it reads better in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2314

It makes more sense to say, "How does he go on?"


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

I wrote "Comment dure-il?", which was marked wrong. The closest correct French version is "Comment dure-t-il?".

  1. What should have tipped me off that my version was wrong?

  2. I don't believe we've seen this "-t-" construction before. What is it?


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

With verbs of the 1st group (infinitive in -er, except aller), the inversion Verb-Subject creates a hiatus in pronounciation with pronouns starting with a vowel (il/elle/on). To cope with it, we insert a T between hyphens, so that it better flows:

  • mange-t-il ? dure-t-elle ? parle-t-on ?

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gwm8923

why can't you say "comment ca dure? "


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

"ça" cannot represent a human being and "he" is definitely a man.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gwm8923

ah right, thanks!


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

Why the "t" here, in "comment dure-t-il?" Is this something we haven't seen yet?


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

This happens often, namely with verbs of the 1st group (infinitive ending in -er):

To ease pronounciation for the speaker and understanding for listeners, a T is added (between hyphens) when the verb ending is a vowel and the subject pronoun is placed after and starts with a vowel, i.e. all three "il, elle, on".

present tense: - quand danse-t-elle ? à qui parle-t-il ? que mange-t-on ? où va-t-il ?

future tense (all verbs): - chantera-t-elle ? ira-t-on ? viendra-t-il ? finira-t-elle ?


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

Ahhh that makes sense. Merci beaucoup!


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

Btw, @saycats -- @Sitesurf answered just this question 1 month ago in this very discussion board (-:.

Though I like the idea of asking her the same questions repeatedly to see whether she gives consistent answers. If even she cannot, then we know French is truly hopeless and we can all just make it up as we go along. <-;


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

oh! I didn't see that. Apologies - I usually make sure the same question wasn't already answered, looks like I missed it this time :X


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

Why not "Il dure combien de temps?"


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

the question is "why" (comment) not "how long" (combien de temps)


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

So it's a question pointing to the reason for which he demonstrates endurance, rather than the way/manner/mode in which he accomplishes it?


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

the detailed meaning of the French is "by which means does he manage to stay in charge?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mstein31

I wasn't sure on this one, so I tried something simple, "Comment il dure?" and got it right! Does this mean you can always drop the "est-ce-qu" part?


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

It marked my Comment il dure correct


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

I find this sentence very awkward ... With a question word you just use inversion.

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