1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "He knows women."

"He knows women."

Translation:Il connaît les femmes.

March 17, 2013

48 Comments


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

Would "Il sait les femmes" work here as well? I can't remember when to use connaitre and when to use savoir


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

"il sait les femmes" does not work here.

please refer to this page which may help you : http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/savoirconnaitre.htm


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

Great reference. For ease, I'll summarize. Savoir is to know how to do something, while connaitre is to know someone or to be familiar with something. Please do check the link, though, for a more complete reference.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/duet_21

Sure, but it seems (in English at least) that the unspoken understanding of the sentence is not simply that he knows some women, but that he understands how women are, as in he "gets" women or understands the 'subject' of women. If one were intending to provide this sort of context to the sentence, would savoir be accurate?


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

"Il en sait beaucoup sur les femmes" is possible. Yet "savoir" applies to "beaucoup" (= much).

""Il s'y connaît en femmes" is another idiomatic way of meaning that he has a thorough knowledge.

"connaître" remains the verb of choice with people and places.


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

Good link. Thanks


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

so if i am not an expert or even a good-read person on some philosophical let's say subject but i have heard and read a thing orr two can i use connait ?


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

Je connais deux ou trois choses en matière de philosophie (I know a couple of things)

Je connais la philosophie de Socrate (I studied it)

Je m'y connais en philosophie (idiom = I have a fair amount of knowledge).


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

Can you also use: Il connaît des femmes?


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

I think it would be appropriate if the sentence was complemented by something like:

il connaît des femmes qui se comportent comme des hommes

he knows women who behave like men.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Blancanp123

So is the differenve that femmes eith no pronoun is "all" the women, in general while des femmes is a part of the women populatio. While still npt brung specific lile les femmes?


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

Why is this not, "He knows the women"?


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

Because in this case, it is about "women in general": in English, no article but in French, definite article.


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

Then, how would you translate, he knows the particular women?


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

Il connaît les femmes de son village = he knows the women of his village.

in English, you use "the" when the object is defined - here by "of his village" = specific women, not women in general.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Blancanp123

Then why isn't it des femmes? Isn't it necesery to put an artcle of some type?


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

"Des femmes" would be "some/a few women" in English.

"Il connaît les femmes" can mean either "he knows the women" if they are specific or "he knows women in general/as a category" because "le, la, les" are also used for generalities and categories.


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

Why is there a funny hat on "i"? It doesn't exist in 1st or 2nd person


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

This funny hat is called a circumflex accent. Generally it reminds the fact that in old French, there was an -s that has since disappeared.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MickeyJ68

Just curious as to how the word with a circumflex accent would have sounded. Would the 's' have come before the circumflex or after, or either?


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

I believe it would be after the accented letter. An "e" with an acute accent also often (but not always) indicates where an "s" used to be: e.g. étudiant (student), étude (study), etc.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MickeyJ68

Thanks for your reply CJ


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

With people and places, please use "connaître".


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

I can see that "He knows a lot of women" would use « connaître », but what about the sense of "He is good with women"? "He really knows women." Would you still use « connaître » or would « savoir » be appropriate?


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

"Il s'y connaît en femmes" = he is an expert, he has lots of experience.


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

This is bad example to translate from english because without context it can mean several different things and the choice of the "correct" french translation is completely arbitrary.


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

In your opinion, what can this English sentence mean, other than what the French translation says?


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

I almost put, "Il connaît la femme..." as in he knows all about women. Would this have worked?


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

It would mean that "la femme" is a generality or concept (like "la philosophie"). Very little probable in my view, unless you add other elements of language like: "il connaît la femme contemporaine"


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

That was the idea...He knows all about women...her wiles and her ways.


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

That means "He knows the woman" (singular).


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

Not quite. The French definite article serves at times to define a generalization, where "la femme" becomes the category...all women everywhere.


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

I agree with what Sitesurf said. "He knows the contemporary woman" works as a generality but not "He knows the woman".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chriswalli8

But why 'les' and not 'des' ?


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

"Il connaît des femmes" would be the plural of "il connaît une femme".

In English, "he knows a woman" in singular would turn to "he knows some/a few/several women".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chriswalli8

Thanks for the very prompt reply . But wouldn't 'he knows fruit' be il connait des fruits? As in je mange des fruits/ If I say je mange les fruits that's very particular fruit, but as I understand it you can't say je mange fruits, although in English you say I eat fruit. Similarly with I know women, why is that je connais les femmes and not je connais des femmes. Surely je connais les femmes is I know the women?


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

If you know fruit (or any matter like astronomy...), you have knowledge in the category or matter as a whole.

Categories are introduced by a definite article to mean "fruit" or "astronomy" in general.

  • je connais les fruits = I know fruit
  • je connais l'astronomie = I know astronomy

The same applies with "like/love":

  • j'aime les oranges = I like oranges
  • j'aime la viande = I like meat

On the other hand, whenever you eat (a piece of fruit), you only eat one unit or several units or a portion of an uncountable thing.

  • je mange un fruit, je mange des oranges (indefinite, singular or plural) = I eat a/one piece of fruit, I eat oranges
  • je mange de la viande (partitive) = I eat (some) meat.

The French definite articles are used for generalities/categories and also for specific things:

  • j'aime/je mange l'orange que tu m'as donnée = I like/eat the orange you gave me
  • je connais les femmes dans cette pièce = I know the women in this room.

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Blancanp123

Why isnt it des femmes?


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

Des is a partitive article...It would be understood "he knows some (a few) women," not "he knows about women." This whole thread is very instructive.


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

Strictly speaking (and as explained on the threads and Tips and Notes), "des" is not partitive, since partitive articles are reserved for uncountable things, which are singular mass nouns.

"Des" is the plural indefinite article that English does not have. "Des" is the plural of "un" or "une" and it is required to mean "more than one".


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

My native French teacher says that either here can be used, Connait can only be followed by a noun so in this case that is "correct" but my understanding from here is that in THIS insance sait can also be used.


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

I am not sure what your teacher was asked for, but "connaître" is the verb for people and places so you just can't use "savoir" here.


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

Isn't the English translstion 'He know the women'? He knows women would need to be translated 'Il connaît des femmes.'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jenny603091

Why is it les femmes and not des femmes? Isnt that he knows the women?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Antony532861

There are too many new words being introduced in this lesson much help available to refer which one to use when... Does anyone have these words in tabular format or any website that has this available? fait/faisons/faites aid/aides/aidons peut/peux/pouvez apprend/apprenons/ etc. etc.

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.