"Doctor, how is he doing?"

Translation:Docteur, comment va-t-il ?

January 14, 2018

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Is the "t" in va-t-il just there to separate the vowels?


Yes. It has no meaning at all.

With the third person singular (il, elle, or on) and a verb that ends in a vowel, we add t- between the verb and the subject pronoun for euphony, or a more harmonious sound.


What about for plural? Like nous, vous, or ils/elles? Is it "-t" as well?


No as the preceding avoir conjugate ends with a consonant.
Docteur, comment allons-nous ?
Docteur, comment vont-ils / elles ?

And, unless you are just being polite to the doctor, you wouldn't use Docteur, comment allez-vous ?


Yep! It's because of euphony, where every aspect of french (contractions, liaisons, elision...) All adds up to avoid two consequtive vowel sounds! Duolingo has some notes about it on their desktop lessons (i think mostly in basics 2?). Hope that helps!


I don't get it either


It’s actually a vestigial nod to the Latin root.


When do you use Doctor and/or Medecin ?


A médecin is a medical doctor, that is to say someone who at the end of University studies and residency in a hospital can practice medicine as a general practitioner or specialise in a particular field which involves greater study and registry with a professional in that field.

On the other hand, you can undertake a PhD research doctorate (my son has almost finished his) and become a Doctor in Engineering, Law, Letters, etc .... it's a title awarded for a contribution to the field of study, summed up in a lengthy dissertation which, in most countries, needs to be defended by the candidate (though this does not apply in Australia).

"Médecin" is a profession, like an engineer, lawyer or architect ...

When you go to see a medical doctor you would say "Bonjour Docteur" using their title, but, in conversation, you would say "J'ai rendez-vous chez le médecin demain" when referring to a doctor's appointment.


Merci beaucoup pour l'éxplication.


Just wished to point out that you must defend your thesis in Australia too.


To complete Ripcurlgirl's answer, be aware that in France, you only address people as "Doctor X" when they're are medical doctors. This is not the case in Germany or in Italy where teachers or lawyers who have PhDs in other disciplines are often called "doctors". So if you hear about "Docteur Dupond" in France, you're sure that he/she is "médecin"


That's very interesting because my son has spent more than 10 years at University in a double undergraduate degree and a PhD (literally a Doctor of Philosophy) in the field of Photovoltaic & Solar energy Engineering. The research has been very intense and, more than often, gruelling with him working 12-14 hours or more a day, so he will fully deserve the title once it is is conferred.

PhD researchers in France are ripped off if their contribution isn't recognised!


Same is true in the U.S. I, too, have a PhD. When I'm speaking within the confines of my profession (computational biology), I prefer to be addressed as Doctor. Otherwise, I prefer Mr or only my first name


Actually, you can be called Docteur in France. But being called Docteur for a non-medical doctor, outside of academia, sounds extremely pedantic when you say it, and extremely arrogant when you ask to be called like that.


It is a form of address generally used in certain instances. You would definitely use it in c.v.s and in academic papers. At conferences and official functions you would be introduced using the title.


Merci beaucoup pour l'éxplication.


can someone explain to me why "comment est-ce qu'il va" is incorrect?


I tried something similar, "Comment est-ce il va?" Still wrong.


va alone translates to "is going" (or, in the case of asking after someone's well-being, "is doing"). So it is grammatically incorrect to add in the word est - "is".

Even if your sentence was grammatically correct, you cannot follow a conjugated verb (here est ) by another conjugated verb (va).


Comment est-ce qu’il va? should work.


Why is it wrong to say "Docteur, comment fait-il?"


Fait isn’t used to inquire on one’s health.


The last time I got this sentence [ less than 3 minutes ago] the "correct" answer given by Duo used "Médecin" not "Docteur". I have just been marked wrong for writing " Médecin, comment va-t-il".....really? Please could I have some clarification Duo?

Reported 14/2/18


Same exact problem. Medecin was correct the first time, incorrect the second time. Bugged question I think


Médecin is the profession not the title, therefore you wouldn't address a person as "médecin."


Happened to me as well. I reported the hover hints


Proper hint added. This is tricky, because in English we use doctor both as a title and form of address, and for the person that we visit in a clinic. So "doctor" in English can mean "docteur" or "médecin" depending on how the word is used.


Monsieur le docteur, excusez-moi...mais a-t-on bien perdu la politesse?


Could "Doctor, comment se porte-t-il ?" also work in this instance?


se porte-t-il is generally used following the reference to the person you are enquiring about.

Comment votre mari se porte t-il ? → "How's your husband doing?"
Et votre père, comment se porte-t-il ? → "And your father, how is he ?"

To say Docteur, comment se porte-t-il ? sounds like you are asking how the doctor is doing.


I was considering "Doctor, how is he doing?" as part of a continuing narrative between the first person and the doctor on the condition of a third known (male) person. And this person being the one that is being referenced in the question. I would then expect the doctor to perhaps respond with "Il semblait très bien se porter.", or to that respect, then maybe elaborate on his condition. This is why I was thinking "comment se porte-t-il ?" as a possible translation.


So, I understand the "comment va-t-il" inversion question structure, but why is "Docteur, comment il va ?" incorrect? Couldn't that be an intonation-based question structure?


No, "comment il va" does not work in written French and is considered incorrect. Sometimes you may hear it in oral (causal) French though.


Thank you, but I thought in general, the intonation-based question structure was more of a spoken French structure, and not (the more formal) written French. So I'm still a little confused. Duo often accepts the intonation question as an answer. Is it now changing policy and moving to formal written French? Or is it just a matter of the "comment" usage and I just have to remember that? Or something else? :)


This situation is a little different. The comment makes the inversion required.

Ordinarily yes, you can ask a question with intonation and that is perfectly correct, written or orally, but not here.

Here is a useful link on questions with comment, où, combien, pourquoi... http://laits.utexas.edu/tex/gr/int7.html Good luck!


That's great, thank you.


Why should "Docteur, il va comment ?" be incorrect?

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