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  5. "She did not give me time to …

"She did not give me time to think."

Translation:Elle ne m'a pas donné le temps de réfléchir.

January 16, 2018



why is the "de" needed


It is part of the construct le temps de = "the time to"


Hi Kim. I'm here because I still make silly mistakes with de, du, pour, avec etc, because of the way we say it in English. I see you have started Catalan. If you like jazz, I recently discovered an amazingly talented group of young, and some not so young musicians from Barcelona. I think it all stems from a music school founded in the mid 2000's called Escola Municipale de Música de Sant Andreu. The leader is Joan Chamorro who generally plays bass. A lot of their songs are performed in Catalan and there are many interview videos online. Might be a good resource for you. Cheers from Mornington, Don.


and, temps is singular masculine?


Yes, it is a masculine singular noun.


Why is it "le temps" but not "de temps"?


As I stated above, it is part of the construct le temps de = "the time to".


"Elle ne me donnait pas le temps de réfléchir." Shouldn't this be correct?


The imperfect describes what was happening all around you (including to you) - the background. It also describes ongoing events, habits, and what used to be.

The passé composé describes what took place at that very moment: a specific event or a succession of specific events, the main story line.

The given sentence tells of a specific past action and, as we are given no further context to indicate that it is repeated or continuing, it is written using the passé composé.


The back translations for this sentence in imperfect would be:

  • She used to not give me time to think = repeated event/habit
  • She was not giving me time to think = on-going action (potentially interrupted)


Why isn't " Elle ne m'a pas donnéE le temps de réfléchir" if the speaker is a women?


It has no relation to the speaker ("me") or the subject ("elle") as "a donné " (& its negation "n'a pas donné ") is an avoir compound verb. As such, the past participle is invariable since it is followed by the direct object "le temps", therefore no agreement is required.

For more information see here.


to understand why it is donné and not donnée you need to be aware of the following two points

Point 1

when a verb in a compound tense is conjugated with avoir and the direct object is placed before the verb, the past participle must agree with the direct object


Je l'ai frappée - I have hit her.
Je les ai frappés - I have hit them

Point 2

constructs for using donner are

donner à quelqu’un - to give to someone.
donner quelque chose à quelqu'un - to give something to someone

and in both cases the person receiving something is an indirect object of the verb

Therefore, in the exercise, Point 1 does not apply as the indirect object me is placed before the verb


On the other hand consider this example

Je lui ai donné la pomme. Je le lui ai donnée - I gave the apple to her. I gave it to her
La pomme qu'elle m'a donnée

Here la pomme is the direct object and it is before the conjugated verb so the past participle must agree

Another example: J'ai acheté la voiture. Je l'ai achetée. - I bought the car. I bought it


Great explanation Nicholas but I think you made a mistake:

Je lui ai donné la pomme. Je le lui ai donnée - I gave the apple to her. I gave it to her

Shouldn't the part in italics read "Je la lui ai donnée" as it is the apple which is feminine.


Porquoi pas donnée?


Please read nicholas_ashley's excellent explanation above in this thread


Here me is the indirect object, ie it means ‘to me’. Can it always be used in this way? The reason I ask is that you cannot use le for ‘to him’, you must use lui.

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