I put "they had a face like a smacked arse" and, to my amazement, it was not accepted.
It is idiomatic like "to get out of bed on the wrong side" is an English idiom.
"avoir sa tête des mauvais jours" means "to have an off day". I agree that the English translation is a bit left of field.
“They woke up on the wrong side of the bed” is not accepted. I'm a 40 year old Canadian native English speaker and I've never heard "they have their bad-news faces on." Is this an expression in British English?
No, it is a French idiomatic expression which, I believe, should not be translated literally as it is meaningless in English. Your answer should be accepted as should "they are having an off day". Please report it.
I wouldn't say it's meaningless. It does mean someone is having an off-day. I've heard people (here in the UK) comment about the expression on someone's face when that person is having a bad day. "He's got his miserable face on today," is something I hear from time to time. It's just unusual for a statement like that to be applied to multiple people.
it is correct: the french expression is the same as they woke up on the wrong side of the bed. In Dutch: met het verkeerde been it bed stappen (same as in English). You are very right.
Rubbish! Not a phrase any native English speaker would use, it is meaningless. I agree with Brendon601304 and Ripcurlgirl
As a native English speaker I have to agree - in the last sixty years I don't think I have ever heard this expression
I have had this expression a few times before. I recognize that it is literally "bad-days head" but you have to find an English expression that fits. The "bad news face" thing seems strange so I just assumed it was an English English thing and just memorized it. Finally I clicked on discussion to see what others think, and to my surprise the English English people think it's weird too.
So I researched it a bit. First, the image search. That turned up many pictures of cats. What was I thinking? Of course there would be many pictures of cats. No help there. Then I added "famille" to the search. Still lots of cats.
Then I started cruising language sites. Memrise calls it the equivalent of a "bad hair day." I'm not sure that I can buy into that. Google translate gives it a "head of bad days." Thanks, Google.
Finally I just searched for the string in quotes and read some french articles with the phrase in it. Some were about football players after the loss of a match. Some were about people who just learned something terrible. Seems to me that the common thread was that they all had a rather gloomy expression. So, I'd make it "they're looking glum" or dark or depressed or something like that.
I'll stick with bad-news face for the purpose of getting past the exercise on duolingo but if I read or hear this phrase in real like I'll understand it as gloomy or upset.
This irritates the hell out of me. The translation is nonsense for a native English speaker, so why use it? I thought one of the points of learning a language was to be able to use idiom correctly, rather than try to translate literally (although tête doesn't translate literally to face, as has previously been pointed out.) So this should be amended to reflect an answer an English speaker would actually use.
Still on here... I commented 5 months ago and its still here - get this in the optional 'Idioms' Unit maybe?
This needs to be changed to "They are having a bad day", "They have a head on them today (perhaps only an Irish-English expression), or "They woke up on the wrong side of the bed today". Reported.
That is a good question. I've seen it before in a few contexts where the adjective + noun combo is so common place that it has become essentially a compound noun. One site gives the example of "des jeunes gens," which you can find all over with a search.
In this expression "la tête des mauvais jours"--I also found the similar "la mine des mauvais jours"--"des" seems to be standard. In other contexts, I see frequent usage of "de mauvais jours."
That rule is for "de" as a partitive, as opposed to "de" meaning "of/from". Here's an example I found: "J'ai acheté de nouvelles bottes." (partitive) vs. "Je suis jalouse des nouvelles bottes que tu as achetées." (meaning "of")
Where I'm from (western Canada), "bad hair day" literally means that a person's hair isn't cooperating with them today. (Looking limp or greasy, parts sticking up, etc.) It never means that they're just generally having a bad day.
hmm, can anyone explain, clearly this is some sort of idiom in French? I am also confused by tête being translated into face, and where do we get the word on from in this sentence?
The English translations don't exactly roll of the tongue and most of the time make no sense what so ever.
Wrong: a bad hair day is exactly that: ask any woman. It's a day when your hair won't take the shape you want and looks terrible. (Can be caused by bed head, hat hair, anything that makes your hair stick up or flatten out in the wrong places.) It has nothing to do with having a bad day; though I suppose it could be a contributing factor.
Really? Where are you from?
Here in England, a bad hair day is a day when you can't make your hair do what you want it to. It certainly wouldn't be used to describe someone who looks like they are going to impart bad news, which is what I think this French sentence means.
This sentence is not good for a "Write this in English/French" exercise.
"They have on their bad news faces" should be acceptable. One must not end a sentence with "on" at all.
i said "They have on their bad news faces," out of respect for the tradition in English of not ending a sentence with a preposition unless absolutely necessary to the sense. I reported that my answer should have been accepted--and it should have, leaving aside the fact that it is not a phrase any native English speaker would ever use, let alone understand. "They look like they are having a bad day." is more idiomatically English.
At one time, schoolchildren were taught that a sentence should never end with a preposition. However, this is a rule from Latin grammar that was applied to English. While many aspects of Latin have made their way into the English language, this particular grammar rule is not suited for modern English usage.
There are times when trying to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition creates unnecessary and awkward phrasing. For example, Winston Churchill once allegedly exclaimed, "That is the sort of thing up with which I will not put!" to mock someone who criticised him for ending a sentence with a preposition.
Since the purpose of writing is to clearly communicate your thoughts and ideas, it's perfectly acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition if the alternative would create confusion or sound unnatural.
Personally, I think the given translation ending in a preposition sounds more natural.
(As an aside, it should be noted this rule of grammar still applies to Italian - eg "He's very easy to talk to"→ "E' facile parlare con lui." )
They have their bad-news faces on.
To have something on: The word on in this phrase is not a preposition, but an adjective. The old argument about the appropriateness of ending a sentence with a preposition is completely out of scope here.
In English there are many words that look the same but are different parts of speech.
The TV is on the shelf. (preposition)
The TV is on. (adjective)
The TV program is coming on. (adverb)
I am going up the stairs. (preposition)
I am going up. (adverb)
I am up. (adjective)
In general, a preposition comes with an object. Two examples of ending a sentence with a preposition:
What are you looking at? (The object is what)
"At" was the preposition I ended the sentence with. (The object is the preposition)
I know about the Churchill chestnut, and I referred to the "tradition"of not ending with a proposition. As an 83 year old former English professor, I do not need a grammar lesson. my essential point was that the whole sentence in its English translation was essentially meaningless. I ask again, are there no native English speakers among the moderators, or is this essentially a program designed for and by the French to teach English, rather than French to the English.
There are several native English speakers among the moderators. This does not alter the fact that it is perfectly fine to end an English sentence with a preposition.
Hi Judith, so I was thinking of the recent automotive plant shutdown in Canada, and I think there were also some in the US. So I can easily imagine the management calling the workers in for a meeting, and when the managers come to the stage, or front of the room, someone might be overhead to remark, yikes, this is not going to be good, they have their bad news faces on. But I also agree that your sentence should be accepted as well.
Sometimes the condescending attitude toward English and English speakers on Duolingo riles me so much I want to quit. I keep going for two reasons. (1. I am a bit obsessive-compulsive ands (2. Duolingo, in spite of the danger to my heart and blood pressure, actually works. I watch a lot of French-Language movies on Netflix (with English subtitles of course) but find I am understanding more and more of the French. But I still think that insisting on our translating what are clearly idioms literally is stupid. and being marked wrong simply for tucking a preposition inside a sentence instead of ending with it was patently unjust.
Come on DL get yourself some native English speaking translators - this translation is total rubbish in English.
this translation is just plain stupid. I can't figure out why it's been allowed to keep going for 18months!
Everyone on here seems to think that this meant 'they look like they are having a bad day'. I assumed it either meant 'they look like they are about to impart bad news' or 'they look like they just heard bad news'. Unfortunately, the question itself has been marked down, which means the moderators can't see the discussion so they can't clarify which it is.
I actually got it right on this one, but I had to google my answer before clicking "check".
I couldn't for the life of me understand this sentence.
I love that I've basically had to memorize a nonsense English phrase in order to pass this lesson. If any French-speaking person ever says this to me in English, I'll know they use Duolingo!
"They have bad news on their faces." This was marked wrong, and while not ideal, at least English. Their English translation sounds like a sloppily Americanized short form of, "They have bad news written all over their faces." See the well-established idiom: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/written-all-over-sb-s-face . . .
This is a horrible idiom that does not exist anywhere that I have heard English - even following Duo's hints resulted in a refusal...
Pathetic, and notice they shove it in at the end of the lesson so everyone can get it wrong and lose the combo bonus.
Bonus points you get for a run of right answers in a lesson, with a maximum of five points. If you get them all right you get five. If you get the last question wrong, any streak you've achieved earlier in the lesson does not count.