"Il avait apporté à boire."

Translation:He had brought something to drink.

March 13, 2013

102 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Muzorewi1984

Yeees. I stared at this sentence for some time. Then gave up and did the old literal translation trick He had brought to drink. Sure enough it is accepted, but I still have no idea what he had brought to drink means.

July 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Alexanderkaim

Probably shouldn't be accepted. It doesn't make sense without "something" to drink.

June 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/contrl

It does make sense if you accept that, in other languages, "something" isn't needed for it to make sense. For example, in Spanish, "Había traído para beber" is the literal equivalent in French and it makes perfect sense. No need to report it, just stop thinking in English and start being flexible to the languages not being perfectly parallel.

August 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LordPaul256

It seems to me that the ultimate goal of DuoLingo is to foster people capable of translating online articles. That is perhaps where they see their profit.

If the translations they are teaching people to use are not proper to use in English, then they have failed at this goal. Perhaps they have added native English speakers in understanding the context of translations, but it is still a failure of actual translation.

September 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/contrl

That's relying heavily on the premise that Duolingo's primary purpose is having users translate online articles.

September 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

@contrl ... and that the indicated translation is incorrect, which it is not. "Il avait apporté à boire" is correct idomatic French for "He brought something to drink," just as "Il avait apporté à manger" is correct idiomatic French for "He brought something to drink."

September 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Wanda655505

Thanks DarrelD.

September 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/CJ.Dennis

Good advice, except English is not other languages, it is English! You don't use "is VERBing" in French (e.g. *"Je suis manger" is wrong) and this sentence in English needs the word "something" or an alternative for it to be grammatical.

November 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/contrl

This is a French course. Any language not French is precisely another language, by mandate. If you got it wrong, learn from it.

November 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/contrl

Again, are you trying to learn French, or are you trying to make sense of it in English? I started using Duolingo so I wouldn't be an absolute beginner when I came to France and I also protested constantly when the English and French translations didn't fully match. I may speak Spanish (very similar in structure to French), but I think in English and thus it felt slightly less unnatural to me, yet unnatural nonetheless. Looking back at most of my arguments against the OP's sentence structures over the past year and a half, I concede I was wrong more often than not and it's infinitely easier to just accept that you have to mold your mind around French rather than try to build parallels.

November 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/CJ.Dennis

You seem to be suggesting that the OP's sentence "He had brought to drink" should be accepted in English because a similar construction works in both French and Spanish. Both French and Spanish are Romance languages, so it makes sense for there to be parallels between them. English is a Germanic language, so it is more distantly related to them and has more differences.

November 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/contrl

Yep. Still don't see why you think the French sentence should contain "quelque chose" ("Something") in order for it to make sense to you, thus rendering it sub-par French in doing so.

September 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/apawari

In a french from english course, though, it doesn't make sense. if you're translating into english, you need to, at least partly, think in english. the languages aren't 'perfectly parallel' - THAT'S WHY TRANSLATING THEM IN A PERFECTLY PARALLEL WAY MAKES NO SENSE.

September 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

I don't understand your point. You seem to be emphasizing that a literal (parallel) translation makes no sense, but as contrl points out, the suggested translation in this exercise is not literal (parallel). The literal translation would be "He brought drink," which, while technically correct in English, is an archaic form that is seldom used now. Instead, they translated it to "He brought something to drink," which is the modern English usage and equivalent in meaning and feeling, but not strictly "parallel."

September 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/apawari

my point is simple - the fact that the languages aren't perfectly parallel means that you need to think about how you're translating it into english. this requires thinking, at least partly, in english. the opposite of what contrl said

September 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/contrl

You're right, translating them in a perfectly parallel way makes no sense. That's why you're having trouble in trying to understand them on an identical context. So you're defeating your own argument, you see. And the premise that you need to "at least partly, think in English" is fundamentally flawed. You're trying to learn French and French language structure, not re-learn English using French words. If you want to make excuses, it's your right to do so but understand that you're plainly wrong in this regard.

September 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

I think I understand what you're saying, apawari. Many French learners make the mistake of trying to learn French as a set of vocabulary governed by grammar rules which can be equated to their counterparts in English. What we're saying is that you can't do that, you have to think of it as a self-referential construct which is coincidentally parallel in some ways. Now, it sounds like you get this and what you're saying makes perfect sense; to translate between the two languages, you have to understand, and be able to think in, both. You're right, that's not controversial. But our point is that one of the frustrations that people express here is that the translations sometimes do not make sense in English, but that is because, in cases where the languages are not parallel, the bias is nearly always given to the way the thought is expressed in French. If that means it's awkward in English, then it's allowed to be awkward in English, because the point is to learn how it's expressed in French, when it is thought of first in French. Can that sometimes make it more difficult for those who cannot yet think in French? Yes. But being able to think in French is a milestone that one must achieve in order to gain fluency. You can never be fluent thinking in English and translating to French in your head (or hearing French and translating it to English in your head). So, although Duo never explicitly says so (and maybe it should), but in the background is the concept that you should be practicing thinking in French first, not English first. That's all we're saying.

September 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/apawari

if someone asks you to translate from french to english it requires an understanding of both languages. i can't see how that's a controversial view.

September 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MichaelLon489149

Yes! I remember when a student asked my 1rst high school French teacher if she thought in English or French when speaking. She said she was thinking in French!

June 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

That's really where you have to be to be conversationally fluent. It's virtually impossible to translate in your head from French to English, form a response in English and translate it into French in real time. To hold a conversation, you have to be able to process it all in French. It doesn't have to be perfect. Just consider how badly people mangle English and you can still understand them.

June 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Qiset1

It makes sense as part of the question "I wonder what he had brought to drink." That would be "Je me demande ce qu'il avait apporté à boire" right?

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Wanda655505

I would have thought you needed "quelque chose" to add "something" to the sentence. Non?

September 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

This sentence is somewhat idiomatic in that "quelque chose" is implied in "à boire".

October 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/nicholas_ashley

For certain verbs (such as: apporter, donner, acheter, preparer) you can simplify the construct:

conjugated verb + quelque chose + à + infinitive

to

conjugated verb + à + infinitive

examples

il me donne à manger - he gives me something to eat

elle me donne à penser - she gives me something to think about

j'achète à manger - I am buying something to eat

je prépare à manger- I am preparing something to eat

February 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Wanda655505

Thank you nicholas. I did not know that. :o)

September 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

Contrl got it right, you can't think of it in English and try to translate it word-for-word; it doesn't make sense that way. But in English, it IS perfectly correct to say "he brought drinks" or "he brought a drink." In French, the "something" is implied in "à boire" or "à manger" without specifying what or how much, so "something to drink" is the closest English translation; there simply is no exact translation.

August 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
Mod
  • 1655

Exactly so, Darrel. The goal is for the so-called "best answer" to be in idiomatic English, i.e., not only correct but natural sounding in English. Frequently, the literal translation will also be accepted even though it may sound awkward and not be at all natural English. It is a constant struggle.

September 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Xanderificus

Note that, a year later, "He had brought a drink" is not accepted.

January 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

I think we probably went over this above, but in this context « à boire » is uncountable. It translates to "drinks" or "something to drink." Therefore, you can't say "He had brought a drink," because that implies one drink and the French sentence doesn't indicate how many drinks he brought. It could have been one or it could have been several.

January 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

And on further reflection, it is even correct in English to use "drink" in the same way it is used in this exercise. Merriam-Webster gives the example "Food and drink will be provided." And although it is rarely said this way anymore, it would still be correct to say "He brought drink to the party."

August 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/avastr

After further research, it sounds like this is a regional difference. Drink can be used as an uncountable noun in the UK.

May 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/contrl

I've noticed this!

November 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/avastr

He brought drinks to the party. «drink» is incorrect there.

«Food and drink» is a fixed phrase. (Though you can also say «food and drinks»)

May 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

I disagree; "food and drink" is not a fixed phrase. Although archaic, it is just an example of how the word "drink" was once commonly used. Unless you're at a Renaissance Festival, you're unlikely to hear "drink" used this way anymore, it is still technically correct.

May 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

I never said "drink" was standard English. In fact, I said it is archaic and unlikely to be heard outside of a Renaissance Festival. "Thee" and "thou" are also archaic, but they're still English and, if used properly, would still be understood by most modern English speakers (especially those familiar with the King James Bible). It's one thing to say that they're "fossils" or "archaic," but it's something else to say that they're incorrect. "Perdition catch my soul, but I do love thee" (Othello) is just as "correct" now as when it was written, but it would be considered archaic because no-one uses "thee" and most people would have to look up "perdition."

May 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

And, by the way, I actually do know of a restaurant, whose name escapes me, who use the tag line "Purveyors of fine food and drink."

May 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/avastr

Drink is a fossilized word. It is no longer used except in the fixed phrase «food and drink»

There are many other examples in English. For example, «just deserts».

If you think otherwise, I challenge you to find people who say «drink and food» and consider that standard English

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_word https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Set_phrase

May 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MagPit

This English translation should not be accepted. What had he brought to drink? It's a meaningless statement.

January 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

This is thoroughly (and repeatedly) explained in the thread above. The French phrase "à boire" implies "something to drink." So, what had he brought to drink? Who knows, but he brought "something" to drink. The statement is not meaningless.

January 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/MagPit

DarrelDent I was referring to the first entry Muzorewi1984 saying that his answer "He had brought to drink" was accepted. I find this a meaningless statement in English thus an incorrect translation

January 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

Ohhhhh. Sorry about that!

January 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Schatzie14

Duo tought me French: it should be "Il avait apporté " quelque chose" à boire or am I wrong???

July 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

I believe you will find that this is thoroughly explained right here on this discussion page.

July 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Thi74181

I answer the exact same thing "He had brought to drink" and my answer is incorrect because Duolingo wants "He had brought SOMETHING to drink". Why?

May 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

Because "à boire" is idiomatic in this context and translates as "something to drink." The "something" is implied. "À manger" works the same way.

May 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Thi74181

No, what I am asking is why Duolingo accepted Muzorewi1984 "He had brought to drink" but not mine and our answers are identical. I understand from your previous answer about "something" being implied.

May 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

That I can't answer. Technically, "he had brought to drink" is incorrect English (it would have to be "he had brought drink," which is an archaic, but correct, usage), so it should never have been accepted. Maybe someone reported it and Duo removed it from the list of accepted answers. I'm afraid Duo is often a "black box" when it comes to knowing why something is accepted or not.

May 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/sporter

Where's the 'something'. Is this a mistake - or is the 'something' part of apporté. Like if you don't specify a specific thing then it is implied that something is brought.

March 13, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Laetitia_Lalila

'Something' is part of 'à boire' :). Better said, the 'something' is implied in informal speech, it's a linguistic shortcut; and if you listen to a lot of native french people speaking, it will start to sound very natural to you too. Similarly, you would say for example "Il avait apporté à manger".

French people in day to day language tend to skip words sometimes, or shorten them; take for example "je sais pas", frequently used in spoken french, or words like "accro", "ado", "coloc", "manip" etc.

Hope this helps!

July 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/slycelote

What do these four words mean?

September 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

Which four words? I don't understand your question.

September 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

I think slycelote is referring to "accro" (junkie), "ado" (teen), "coloc" (roommate), and "manip" (which I think is an experiment)

September 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

Oh! Thanks. Sometimes I forget that you don't learn those things in school.

September 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

@DarrelDent - While we're on the subject - I can see what "ado" and "coloc" and "manip" are short for, but I can't quite work out "accro". Where does it come from? Accroché? Or am I just back-translating from English?

September 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

@DianaM I think it's short for "accroché," meaning "hooked."

September 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

Thanks.

September 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

De rien!

September 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

Out of curiosity, would "Il avait apporté quelque chose à boire." be wrong, or weird, or just another way of saying the same thing?

April 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Laetitia_Lalila

It's not wrong or weird, it's a more literary and gramaticaly correct version. Duo should accept them both as translations for "He had brought something to drink".

April 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

I wouldn't say it's literary...it seems fairly natural to my ears, if less casual than the sentence at the top of the page.

April 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/danieth

In British English I would say "he had brought drink". "Drinks" implies there were separate units, like bottles, but I'm imagining a "cubi de rosé' ;) (So I think "drink" should be accepted)

July 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

That sounds a little quaint to North American ears, but certainly should be accepted.

July 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/kokiri85

I feel like that's different though, because then "drink" becomes an actual noun and there is no drinking verb. There's an "à" before boire, and I'm by no means a native French speaker but I feel like that implies... intention? That boire is still a verb, anyway.

June 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

I kind of agree with you. It's a very subtle distinction, though. In English, it's the difference between "He brought a drink" and "He brought something to drink," where "à boire" would be the latter. The difference in meaning between the two sentences is so small that, if this were purely a translation exercise, it would truly be nit-picking to point it out. But the point here is the grammar, and grammatically there is enough of a difference to accept only the form that specifically matches. "He brought a drink" would be "Il avait apporté une boisson."

June 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AllanManch

Yeah, I answered the same and got zilched. I'm reporting. And as for it being different? Say WHAT??? The French is missing the description of the object, being SOMETHING to drink. "Drink" as a noun = "something to drink"! Duh!

December 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/gemsmum

I have been reading the arguments on this thread with interest and a touch of bemusement. When I am talking to my French neighbours and they gabble away nineteen to the dozen (note to self: look up how to say that in French) throwing in the odd word of patois for good measure, I don't always understand every word they say, however my brain processes it as a whole and I understand their meaning and respond accordingly. DL is actually harder, because we have to 'physically' translate the sentences (or phrases, sometimes without context) and although the brain understands the meaning I sometimes get a mental block and I have to try to think of a natural way to express it in English. This doesn't mean that I am translating into English from French, just that I am looking for the best way to express it. I opted for 'something to drink' in this exercise, because I couldn't think of any other way I personally would say it, although I think just 'drink' is also ok. Just my opinion.

November 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/premier_langue

I agree that they needed a word. DL added "something". I wrote "it" but that was not accepted.

September 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

"He had brought it to drink"? No, that doesn't work. If you peruse the conversation on this page, you'll see that in this sentence, "à boire" is an expression that means "something to drink". DL didn't just randomly add "something", that is just part of a simple translation of the sentence. You can also say "à manger," by the way, with the similar meaning.

September 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Dc039

I wrote "he had brought a drink" and was told it should be "drinks", but I don't understand which part of the sentence indicates the plural.

May 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Randonneur3

Perhaps he had provided drinks.

May 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ronjudd

so he had brought a drink.

April 13, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/K_T

Not necessarily. He could have brought many drinks, or chocolate to be melted in order to drink it! Your translation would probably be accurate in most circumstances, but is technically not a direct translation.

June 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/BenYoung84

It sounds like in French the word something is always implied. If that's the case then it should be the only valid translation. I was correct for "he had brought to drink" but clearly in French it would never mean that, and in English it doesn't make sense as a complete sentence, you'd need to embellish such as 'the juice that he had brought to drink' but this isn't consistent with the French interpretation.

March 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/owl420028

This is a sentence fragment in English.

September 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

No, it isn't. The literal translation is "He brought drink" which, although archaic, is a perfectly correct sentence in English. Somewhere else in this thread I cite a specific example from the Merriam-Webster dictionary. But the literal translation isn't the best translation. The best translation is "He brought something to drink" because "something" is implied in the French.

September 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/PotatoSanta

If the something is implied here than could I also say brought 'it' to drink?

December 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

I believe that would be « Il l'avait apporté à boite. »

December 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/poobunnies

what?

March 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Huggleburger

What's the difference between french preterit and imparfait tenses?

December 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BenYoung84

None of the French tenses are referred to as "prétérit", at least not these days, but the French tense that corresponds to the English preterite is called the passé simple or passé historique. This tense isn't used in contemporary French except in literary contexts.

In simplistic terms, the imparfait corresponds to the English past progressive or habitual - e.g. Je mangeais (imparfait) => I was eating (past progressive) or I used to eat (past habitual). And the passé simple/historique corresponds to the English preterite - e.g. Je mangeai (passé simple) => I ate (preterite).

Given that the passé simple is rarely used, it has been replaced by the passé composé, which has the same form as the English present perfect. So the French passé composé now covers the English preterite and the English present perfect - these two situations cannot be easily differentiated in modern French - e.g. J'ai mangé (passé composé). => I ate (preterite) or I have eaten (present perfect).

December 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Huggleburger

So for the auxiliary verb in the past perfect, french uses the imparfait whereas english uses the preterite?

Il avait apporté à boire

He had brought something to drink. Or literally: He was having brought something to drink.

OR is the french preterite the same as the french imparfait?

December 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BenYoung84

Yes French uses the imparfait form of the auxiliary verb for the plus-que-parfait.(past perfect). The French imparfait is different from the passé simple, the passé simple version would be: Il eut apporté à boire, but this isn't used for the plus-que-parfait.

This is interesting because clearly there is no imparfait sense implied - He was having eaten or He used to have eaten doesn't make sense. I would guess that it's done this way because the imparfait forms have always been more common than the passé simple, the same thing is done in Spanish, actually.

December 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Huggleburger

Nice one. Thanks for the replies.

December 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BenYoung84

Joyeux Noël à vous.

December 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/tomas-francis

Does the French mean that he ('il') is the one that will do the drinking?

January 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CJ.Dennis

We don't know if he brought it just for himself or to share.

January 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/RoohanaKha

Is my answer so off? "he had brought a drink

March 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CJ.Dennis

Yes. It needs to be "He had brought something to drink".

  • « Il avait apporté à boire » - "He had brought something to drink"
  • « Il avait apporté une boisson » - "He had brought a drink"
March 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Deanyblitz

Google translates this sentence as "He had brought drinks."

April 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CJ.Dennis

Google Translate is often very bad. You need to trust real people, in particular the ones who designed this course.

April 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

To back up what CJ Dennis said, to see just how bad Google Translate can be, take a passage in English, use Google Translate to translate it into French and then use it to translate the French sentence into English. Unless it's a very simple sentence, you'll seldom get back exactly what you started with. That's not because Google Translate is poorly written, it's because translation is not just about finding equivalent words, it's also about getting the "feeling" right. The extreme case would be translating poetry. Computer translators are still a long way from being able to do that.

April 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BenYoung84

Sure but that's not a great example. There can be plenty of reasons why a reciprocal translation would be different even with a perfect translating mechanism, e.g. there may not be a 1:1 relationship between sentences in different languages.

April 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

Absolutely! That's why there's no such thing as a "perfect translating mechanism," at least not yet, and human translation is much more reliable.

April 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Chris973043

The female voice elided the T in avait with the A in apporté. Is that correct or should the two words be pronounced distinctly? Please and thank you.

January 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrelDent

I would pronounce the two words separately, but such things don't seem to be "hard and fast" in French.

February 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/revles

It is ok to say 'he had brought drink' (singular) as in 'food and drink'. Obviously 'something to drink' and 'drinks' are also correct

July 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkHolden8

"He had brought a drink" also correct.

October 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/smlbcy

Il en avait apporté à boire ?

February 25, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Karen541899

Surely it needs a quelque chose in there other wise it's meaningless.

March 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Schatzie14

We are not to add words in our translation Duo shouldn't either The word "something" is missing in French

July 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy

There are times when you add words when translating because of differences in how the words are used between languages. There are other times when you can't add words because the added words are not absolutely necessary but are just a reflection of how you might say it in your normal speech pattern. This is especially a problem for people who are convinced that their normal speech pattern is exactly how everyone says it all the time.

July 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

You are mistaken. Duo is giving a perfectly ordinary French sentence, and translating it into a perfectly ordinary English sentence. The fact that they do not map word-for-word to each other is just how language works.

July 19, 2015
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