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"On ne peut pas juger un livre sur sa couverture."

Translation:You can't judge a book by its cover.

March 13, 2013

66 Comments


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

'Don't judge a book by its cover'


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

I put the same phrase. It was marked as incorrect. What's up with that?


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

They mean something different. This is a statement of fact, while your answer is advice or a command.


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

I don't see much difference between "You/one cannot" and "don't".


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

One is a statement of fact, the other is an instruction. "Don't eat my cookie" isn't something I'd say unless you can, and I don't want you to (because I want to eat it, because it's poisoned, who knows?) "You can't eat my cookie" is totally different (maybe I already ate it, maybe it travelled to another dimension, who knows?)


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

I don't think that follows in context. The implication here is that you can judge a book by its cover, and that people do, but they shouldn't.


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

No, that's not right. The implication is that if you try to judge a book by it's cover, you'll fail, because the cover doesn't have the information needed to judge the book. So you cannot judge a book by it's cover, even if you try.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

You actually understand no difference between "do not" and "cannot"? Interesting....


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

"Don't judge a book by its cover" is an English idiom. Maybe the French isn't quite right in the portrayal, but the meaning seems quite clear to me, and if there is a divergence from the nuance, then fix the French part of the exercise and don't mess with the idiom.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2273

The statement in French is not a command or an admonition. It is simply a statement in the form of a proverb. That is to say, "one cannot judge a book by its cover". There is nothing at all here that makes this an imperative "should" or "must" or "don't".


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

but that's the point - in English the same proverb is colloquially rendered as "don't judge a book by its cover" - it's not meant as an order. (and to say one cannot do something can also be interpreted as an imperative...)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2273

It's a translation exercise, not a reflection of one's own version of a proverb.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nerevarine1138

But (as mentioned above) there are plenty of other translation exercises where we are asked to render a French sentence in idiomatic English. It seems kind of silly that this one idiom is excluded.


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

Wow! She sure talks fast. As I have gotten older, both my receiver and my transmitter have slowed to a crawl. I think the most valuable Duolingo lesson I can take with me to Paris next week is: Parlez plus lentement, s'il vous plaît


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

Yup, frequently useful, and people will slow down. I found the French in general and Parisians in particular quite friendly and helpful with my halting French, contrary to what I had been told to expect. Waiters, shop assistants, people on the street, everyone seemed most genial. I could hardly take a map out of my bag without someone coming up and asking if they could help. (No, I'm not a pretty young thing <g>)


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

My experience exactly, DianaM. And I am certainly not a pretty young thing either.


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

Hm.. I haven't really had a problem with speed since I started paying attention to how words are properly pronounced as opposed to how they look/are written.

How'd it go in Paʁʁʁʁi? :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rgopal89

Why is it "sur" and not "par"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2273

Actually it could be expressed as "à sa couverture", "par sa couverture", "d'après sa couverture", or "sur sa couverture". All are accepted.


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

Sur often introduces the object of various verbal expressions.


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

Is this a saying that is common in French?


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

J'en doute. They mostly say: "L'habit ne fait pas le moine."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2273

It's a common one. And it's opposite number is also a common expression: L'habit fait le moine (or) l'habite fait l'homme = Clothes make the man. It's funny how proverbs work that way.


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

The clothes do not make the man.


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

On peut juger un livre sur sa couverture bien que ce ne soit pas très sage. Malheureusement, c'est la façon de quelle nous pensons généralement: Il nous faut une image cohérente du monde. C'est pour cela que le monde nous semble beaucoup plus logique qu'il est vraiment.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2273

It's called "marketing".


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

Indeed! By the way, thanks for commenting. This was full of mistakes ... I hope I managed to correct them all.


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

One is not able to judge a book by it's cover. Wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2273

Actually, it is completely wrong. "It's" is a contraction of "it is". The possessive form does not use an apostrophe: i.e., its cover.


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

What is the idiomatic French equivalent.

Ne pas se fier aux apparences

L'habit ne fait pas le moine

?

Or do the French use this same expression, not judging a book by its cover, as often as we do?


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

You can't judge a book by its movie.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jonesd1959

Why is "You cannot judge a book off its cover" a valid translation? sur is "on", not "off", isn't it?


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

Here, "on" and "off" imply the same thing...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2273

Not at all. "Sur" is not translated as EN "on" here. It is an expression: sur sa couverture, à sa couverture, d'après sa couverture, par sa couverture = by its cover.


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

Wow, it accepted my "One cannot judge a book based on its cover"... I afterwards checked my sentence on Google and there were only 2 search results... I wonder how did it get accepted then... Anyways good job lol


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2273

Duolingo is not based on what Google Translate shows.


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

I think she meant that she looked for the frequency of the English sentence on Google and discovered it was not very common and then was surprised that DL had her "not-very-common" version in its database. I'm a bit surprised myself. You just never know.


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

Why is it sa? Livre is masculine.


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

True but couverture is feminine, that's why. It's hard to explain in English because English doesn't have gender associated to words, but think of it this way, if you wanted to say not to judge a book by its title (titre, masc.), then we would've used son titre instead of sa couverture.

C'est bon ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hasen6

"we cannot judge a book by it's cover" is not accepted?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2273

No. The possessive form of "it" is "its" (no apostrophe). "It's" is a contraction of "it is".


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

I thought 'on' means we but why is it translated as you in this sentence'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nerevarine1138

It means "we" in the most general sense. As in, "We eat soup with a spoon." So it can also imply the universal "you" in that sense, i.e. "In France, you drive on the right side of the road."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Leviathan87

Think there needs to be a fix. Instead of recognizing the typo of "it's" it counted it wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nerevarine1138

That's not exactly a typo. "It's" and "its" have two totally different meanings, and people often use the incorrect form without knowing that they're using it incorrectly.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kyoko-love

Is that sentence even good? it's cover ???


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nerevarine1138

Yes, the sentence is fine. The possessive form of "it" is "its" (no apostrophe). Since we're referring to the cover of a book, you should use "its" rather than "their" (which implies that we're talking about people).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kyoko-love

oh thxx nevevarine1138 :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kyoko-love

Is it not ''Their Cover''


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Will756055

Penalised for the apostrophe. Really?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nerevarine1138

If you mean putting an apostrophe in "its," then it absolutely should be marked as incorrect. "It's" is a contraction for "it is," and "its" is the possessive form of "it." Totally changes the meaning of the sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/judith57957

the english idiom that is the equivalent of this is as dapetras says is "Don't judge a book by its cover." I don't think we should be marked as incorrect for using the normal english phrase. I think the explanation as to why you can't do this is pedantic and another example of imposing french structure on normal English: something that drives me wild!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cricri811231

on can't judge a book by its cover, is not correct ?


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

"you cannot judge a book by its cover" was not accepted why?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Antoinette638545

I was marked wrong for "cannot" instead of " can't"??

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