"Elle ne me regardait pas."

Translation:She was not looking at me.

April 15, 2014

53 Comments


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

I had this correct but I was wondering if one can say, "She did not look at me."

April 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1753

There is a reason the speaker chose to use imperfect rather than Passé composé. Two years ago, sentences in these two tenses were for the most part translated the same way with no apparent rhyme or reason. But there is a difference.

  • Passé composé refers to an action in the past which was completed. It represents a snapshot of the completed action. Il a marché dans la rue = he walked down the street.
  • Imperfect Past tense refers to an action which was taking place without regard to when it began or when it finished; time is irrelevant; only the action is ongoing. It is like a moving picture of an action that was taking place in the past. Il marchait dans la rue = he was walking down the street.
  • Imperfect has other uses, too, but the difference described above should help to clear up any confusion about our decision regarding which tense to use.

For an extremely thorough explanation of the difference between Passé Composé and Imparfait, fasten your seat belt and go to: https://languagecenter.cla.umn.edu/lc/FrenchSite1022/FirstVERBS.html

June 9, 2016

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

Hmmm.. did I get it right that it depends on the context? Since there is no context here, shouldn't we be allowed to translate both ways? Thanks!

May 28, 2017

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

No, because context is not required since this has to do with the conjugation - the tense of the verb. In this case, the tense informs you of the context, to an extent.

September 22, 2017

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

In fact the verb tense doesn't provide enough information to restrict the translation to a single tense option. It's more just a policy issue on the part of the French group as to how they want to teach learners and what points they want to try to convey within the limitations of the Duolingo platform.

The French tense can indeed be translated to a number of different English constructions — i.e. "was not looking at", "did not look at", "did not use to look at", "would not look at" (and there may be more, but these are enough to make the point) — and then there's also the verb "watch". Which of those would be correct in a given scenario would depend on the precise meaning, which would come in part from the external context, not solely from the sentence itself, which is only part of the story.

If verb tenses had one-to-one correspondence between the two languages, this discussion wouldn't arise.

September 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marie282520

Why not, "She would not look at me."

April 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CherylFont1

So many different ways to translate " Elle ne me regardait pas". - So many different ways to get it wrong. This unit is killing me.

February 3, 2019

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

"She would not look at me." = Elle ne me regarderait pas

September 25, 2018

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

That's one way to translate it but it depends on the context. When we're talking about a past habitual action, we can use "would" but it isn't considered conditional, and it translates to the imparfait, not the conditionnel.

September 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KarenSpark5

That has to be the most helpful link ever posted! I will probably still get this wrong for a long time but that article was ever so informative!

December 31, 2018

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

You could translate it that way, but in a context where the sentence was describing a habitual action occurring in the past: "I walked by her every morning in the hallway. She did not look at me."

May 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1753

Having said all of that, yes it could be "she did not look at me".

June 14, 2018

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

Bonjour n6zs, I was marked incorrect for writing " She did not watch me".

I believe that "Regarder" translates as "To Watch" in some cases, as in "to watch the TV".

Is it absolutely incorrect to use it that way in this sentence? If it is incorrect , how WOULD one say "She watched/is watching me?"

Merci beaucoup!

:]

January 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KarenSpark5

You can use 'regarder' to mean 'to watch'. The problem is with the tense you used. The French sentence is written in Imparfait, which is used for past continous and habitual past, not the simple past.

'She did not watch me' suggests a single event that has been completed. That would have been written in passé composé - 'Elle ne m'a pas regardé'. 'She is watching me' is present tense - 'Elle me regarde'.

January 4, 2019

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

Thanks for that Karen.

I just had this sentence again and Duo accepted "She was not watching me" as a correct answer :]

January 4, 2019

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

what is wrong with "she didn't see me". Really.

September 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/samer.sati

1- She didn't see me (Past Simple)

(Meaning: She was passing by in the car park, but didn't stop to say help. She didn't see me/ look at me)

2- She was not looking at me/ She didn't use to look at me/ She wouldn't look at me.

(Meaning: We used to go to the same school and take similar classes, but she would not look at me. Now, she's applying for a job in the company and claims that we were best friends. She didn't even use to look at me!)

I hope the nuances in meanings are explained properly now. I have to say that DuoLingo's translation is not helping here either!

April 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Spirus123

Regarder is to look,not to see. To see is voir. If you don't see the difference,just have a look )))) at any English dictionary.

September 24, 2015

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

This is what i typed. I think that the reason is that regarde is watching and not seeing. Subtle, yet important difference.

November 9, 2014

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

Couldn't you say, "she wouldn't watch me"? It was marked incorrect.

August 28, 2018

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

Yes, depending on the context. You could try reporting it, but you might want to read the rest of the discussion first.

August 28, 2018

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

Thank you

August 28, 2018

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

I typed "She didn't look at me" and got marked wrong. Does "was" come from "-ait" in "regardait"?

November 10, 2015

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

Yes, that's where you get your "was [...]ing". However, your sentence isn't wrong. It just requires a particular context (habitual past). Apparently at this point they've only programmed this question to accept a continuous aspect.

May 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1753

Hey, CJ. You've probably got this nailed by now but given this thread, it's good to shed a little more light on the subject of the imperfect tense. It does not always mean it refers to a habitual action. It is often used in the sense of an action that is taking place, i.e., in progress, but in the past. It has to do with the point of view and how one might describe something. For example:

  • elle m'a regardé = she looked at me
  • elle me regardait = she was looking at me

For an excellent explanation of the difference between Passé composé and Imparfait, open this link in your browser: https://languagecenter.cla.umn.edu/lc/FrenchSite1022/FirstVERBS.html

November 18, 2017

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

Shoudn't "she wouldn't look at me" be a possible option too?

December 19, 2016

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

Certainly, but you'll want to read n6zs's remarks above for an inside perspective on the choice here.

The link he provides is good, too:

Sitesurf has some further commentary on these matters here:

This following comment on that page contains a rather extensive list of the possibilities (though it canvasses the verb constructions specifically for sentir, so it's possible that not everything can be transposed exactly onto regarder):

There's always a debate about what possibilities to allow and why. This lesson is a bit inconsistent judging by my last run-through, but as long as you yourself do your best to understand the reasoning and possibilities, you'll get along well, regardless of Duo's limitations.

December 19, 2016

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

Alright fair enough. Because I also put "she would not look at me", which should be a correct answer but is not, and I've been hitting my head as to how else to express something like "everytime i talked to her in middle school, [she would not look at me]", other than using the imparfait/imperfect. It is still a habitual action/storytelling,etc. Just making sure i was on the right thought process.

August 11, 2017

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

Yes, you were/are right.

August 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Starbrand1

This could also be "Elles ne me regardaient pas"

There's no difference in pronunciation

June 13, 2017

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

I thought the same. Duo?

June 21, 2018

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

I wrote, "She used to not look at me." Why was it marked wrong?

June 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Konrad-Michal

"She didn't use to look at me" is correct and I wonder if "She used not to look at me" is correct as well, but not "She used to not look at me".

August 29, 2014

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

All of those are okay. Split infinitives are allowed in English. Style is another matter.

May 2, 2016

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

As Douglas Adams said: "… to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before …"

May 4, 2016

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

I must get around to reading that book...

May 4, 2016

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

:-) It's in chapter 15 on page 89 of the first book (original printing) and I'm surprised I found it that quickly!

May 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lisse5RR

Again, I have a problem with the given translations, this time the alternatives. "She did not look at me" is not imperfect but perfect tense.

February 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lukman.A

Yes, you're right. I think the translation would be

she did not look at me = elle n'a pas me regardé.

We use French's passé composé for English's simple past tense. I'm not a francophone but that's what I learned from a native French speaker.

cmiiw

March 6, 2015

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

It's tricky, though, because the French use the imperfect much more often than in English. There are a lot of cases in which translating the French imperfect directly to the English imperfect just sounds weird. For example in French you might say "Je regardais la tele hier soir.", which technically translates to "I was watching TV last night", but no English speaker would say that without a "when" statement attached to it. So it's a little awkward translating back and forth between the two.

March 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1753

What were you doing last night? Je regardais la télé = I was watching TV. It doesn't require an interrupting event to be translated in the past continuous. It is quite normal in both languages.

November 18, 2017

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

How does this sound any different from "Elle ne me regarder pas"? (assuming that's the correct way to say 'she isn't watching me').

September 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sean.mullen

The simple present (She isn't watching me) is «Elle ne me regarde pas», which sounds different because it ends on the /d/ sound and the final "e" is silent.

January 29, 2016

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

is there a difference in pronunciation “ elle ne me regarde pas “ and “elle ne me regardait pas” i am confuse. it sounds the same to me

November 16, 2015

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

They shouldn't sound the same. The -e in regarde is not pronounced. The -ait in regardait is like the "e" in "bed".

November 16, 2015

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

she did not look at me..............means the same i don't understand this at all

June 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1753

I just posted an explanation of this in a reply to birsar above. It should clear it up for you and there is also a link to a very thorough explanation on the University of Minnesota website.

June 9, 2016

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

thanks, now it makes sense

July 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KJptO1

So how do you say "she did not see me"?

July 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1753

The verb "regarder" means "to look at" or "to watch". The verb "voir" means "to see". She did not see me = Elle ne m'a vu (or) Elle ne m'a vue, depending on if the "me" is masculine of feminine. Remember that Passé Composé generally refers to actions that are complete, finished, done. Generally speaking, the imperfect tense refers to actions in the past without regard to whether they were finished or not, i.e., they are generally expressed as a continuing action. For example:

  • L'homme a marché dans la rue = The man walked down the street (the action was completed).
  • L'homme marchait dans la rue = The man was walking down the street.

These two verb tenses give the speaker a slightly different perspective of what happened. Please take a look at my note to birsar at the top of this page.

July 9, 2016

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

Why not "She would not look at me"? ex. "Elle ne me regardait pas, car elle se sentait trop gênée." "She would not look at me because she felt too embarrassed."

August 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JasonSnipe1

why she did not use to look at me not accepted? and how can we say that in French

December 25, 2018

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

"She did not use to look at me" is a valid translation of the given French.

July 23, 2019
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