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  5. "How does he last?"

"How does he last?"

Translation:Comment est-ce qu'il dure ?

March 13, 2013



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.


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)


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.


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


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


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


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


Why not comment il dure ?


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


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


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?


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...


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


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...


Really helpful remark, thanks.


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!


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


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


Is there any context in which that sentence makes sense?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

  • 2314

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


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?


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 ?


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


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


ah right, thanks!


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


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 ?


Ahhh that makes sense. Merci beaucoup!


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. <-;


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


Why not "Il dure combien de temps?"


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


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?


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


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?


It marked my Comment il dure correct


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

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