"Depuis qu'ils ont eu un enfant, ils ne sont plus pareils."

Translation:Since they had a child, they have not been the same.

March 28, 2018

This discussion is locked.


Why not "Since they had a child, they are no longer the same"?


In English, the dependent clause after "since"should be in "simple past" and the main clause should be either in "present perfect" or "present perfect continuous". For example, "I've written five essays since the semester started in Sept ", or "She has been reading the same book since I last saw her". Hope that helps.


Could you translate your example sentences into french and give some general guidance on how the verbs tenses in the main clause and the dependent clause should be translated with a sentence using depuis que. I am at a real loss to understand this even after reading through the discussions in this unit. I hope someone can help


Never mind. 6 months later I get it.

  • 2045

I did the same as you and was rejected by duo. Then I remember that we must use passé composé form to conjugate with dupuis, said somewhere in duo system.


The first part of the sentence is passé composé but the second part is present tense (in French), is that right? The English translation is past tense for both parts. I see the above comment about depuis que affecting the tenses but also note another example is "Elle n'a rien dit depuis que son père est parti" (She has not said anything since her father left) which is is past tense in both parts of French and both parts of English. Assuming you can understand my confusion(!), can anyone explain?


Actually, the tenses in English are simple past (an event happened) + present perfect (the results continue today, have/has + past participle).

In your example, the English fits perfectly with that. Event: her father left. Result: she has not said anything.

In French it is slightly different here because the emphasis (in French) is that she said nothing rather than she is no longer talking. Event: son père est parti. Result: elle n'a rien dit. Instead you could write this sentence as she no longer speaks and then it would follow the same pattern.
"Depuis que son père est parti, elle ne parle plus." Since her father left, she has not spoken. Slightly different meaning in French, but virtually the same in English.


After many edits :

Thanks for the reply. Can I check my understanding of that :

elle n'a rien dit depuis que son père est parti (she has not said anything [present perfect] since her father left [simple past] )

Depuis que son père est parti elle ne parle plus. (since her father left [simple past] she has not spoken [present perfect]).

Bringing it back to the permanently changed parents of this translation, the format is 'simple past' [had child] + 'present perfect' [have.. been].

Finally, the reason 'elle n'a dit..' [present perfect] has past participle, but 'elle ne parle plus' [present perfect] does not, is because the former is before 'depuis que' and the latter is after.

Is that right?


The order of the sentence doesn't matter, whether "elle n'a rien dit" or "son père est parti"comes first in French in conjunction with "depuis que."

As to your second question down below regarding the lack of the past participle in French, that is how I understand it, but I am going to consult with our French expert (and native speaker) to verify. I want to be 100% certain. She happens to be on vacation at the moment, so it may be some time before I can revisit this question.

You ask good questions!


Thank you, on both counts. Appreciated.

Regarding the order of the sentence not mattering, perhaps I'm not explaining my misunderstanding, or failing that, I just don't understand the reply.

What I'm trying to get at is why, 'elle n'a dit..' [present perfect] has the past participle, but, if you re-order the sentence, even though the tense is the same in English, you lose the past participle when it becomes, 'elle ne parle plus' [present perfect].

Many thanks


@Lukeknight12 I hope you still get a chance to see this and I apologize for taking so long to respond to you. I just realized that I hadn't answered your question while going through old emails from Duolingo.

Here is the answer I received from Sitesurf:

With the usual lack of context here, « Elle n’a rien dit depuis que son père est parti » and « Elle ne dit rien depuis que son père est parti » mean the same thing (*).

Usually, we translate the present perfect part with a present tense but sometimes, the compound past (that Lukenight13 calls “past participle”) can work just as well. This is one of those cases. The difference in this sentence is that the passé compose stresses the multiple opportunities to speak she has missed since then, and the present tense suggests a kind of overall “block of silence” covering the whole length of time. But the situation today is the same in this story.

This does not work with all verbs.

  • “Elle n’a pas prononcé une parole depuis que son père est parti” (She has not uttered a word since her father left) does not work in the present tense because “prononcer une parole” is a very precise description for “ne rien dire”.

  • “Elle est muette depuis que son père est parti » would not work in passé composé, because « elle a été muette » would mean that she probably spoke from time to time between periods of silence.

(*) Another idea: I would use the passé composé if I wanted to mean “elle n’a rien dit à propos du depart de son père”, whereas “elle ne dit rien” really means “she has been mute ever since then”.

I hope that clarifies things for you!



Also, your point about "Depuis que son père est parti elle ne parle plus" is that it translates almost identically in English but the lack of past participle means in French (to French eyes) there's a little more emphasis of the ongoing nature of it. Is that right?


Hi. Thanks for getting back to me.

I do think I now understand but my word this has been fiendish. This post, specifically from Peter435682 unlocked it for me https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/26817684

That's not to say you weren't clear but my brain was stuck on a hurdle some way back from the point you were addressing! Now that I understand the point about the tense matching the 'depuis que' event (ie, is that event ongoing, if yes then use present tense in French, if not, don't) I can follow it. Many thanks. PS I'm replying to this rather than your latest because the format is so indented it's just a column of single letters at this point!


Glad it's clear now! :-)


I am in the same boat as you with this one.


Exactly my issue as well


''since they have had a child they are no longer the same'' rejected.

don't understand why. meaning is clear. tense the same. the notion that the tense of a past act must migrate to a continuing present state seems bizarre.


It is very bizarre- but according to GeorgeofTruth, depuis in french is used with the present tense to indicate that an action that started in the past is still happening in the present - but I am at a complete loss as to understand this.


Events that start in the past but continue to the present in English use the present perfect tense (have/has + past participle). In French it is different, and depuis que is used in conjunction with the indicative or present tense. Some examples in French here.


OK, I get the lesson that English puts the main clause in a "depuis que" sentence in the past, whereas French puts it in the present (mostly, apparently, see exception below, that confuses me also). But when "ne...plus" appears, suddenly we don't translate it? I would appreciate an explanation from an expert. There have been many awkward translations into English that are defended as more literal and therefore more acceptable. "No longer" is far from the most awkward of these.


The tricky part here is that "no longer" doesn't work with the present perfect tense. To force it would create something like, "they have no longer been the same," which sounds dreadful in English, and is simply not correct. In this case, though "ne...plus" usually translates to "no longer," it just doesn't fit the English.


"No longer..." fits American English, that's not a problem. It is the tenses used when depuis and depuis que are in a sentence, which I thought I understood, have now caused me confusion because of so many incoherent (sorry) explanations here. Is there a native speaker that can explain this rule by keeping it simple for the simple minded like me?


No one is the same after becoming a parent!


This is so confusing.


What in particular is confusing you?


Please don't block simple typing errors. These phones have small keyboards!!!!!


Unfortunately, the computer isn't always (often?) smart enough to distinguish between a simple typing error and a mistake. This is the advantage of a human teacher who can tell what you meant to write.

  • 2045

what wrong with "since they had a child, they have no longer been the same " please?


An English speaker wouldn't say that. It would be more like ", they are no longer the same" or ", they haven't been the same". To say "they aren't the same" specifies a state change (probably permanent). To say "they have no longer been the same" leaves me a bit confused. Perhaps it would have been said in the past, but I don't think it's a common way of speaking today.

The French sentence I got had "ne sont plus", so "no longer" seems correct, but DL said "haven't been the same".

I don't see the "haven't ... been" in French the text, so I'm guessing that has to come from the first phrase past tense. It's strange.


"Since they have had a child" was rejected. In English this is the present perfect tense which is used when a past event has an effect on the present. It is a better translation than using the simple past tense.


They had the child in the past. That part does not continue to the present, but was a one-time event. The part that continues to the future is part where "they have not been the same."


Since they had a child, they haven't been the same any more rejected. What is plus doing here then?


'they're no longer the same' is a perfectly good translation for the second part of the sentence


Since when is an infant not an acceptable translation for un enfant?


An infant is un bébé in French.


"Since they had a child they ware no longer the same." Why is that incorrect?


This starts in the the past but continues to the present so we use the present perfect continuous tense in English "have not been".


To Duo or any moderator... English translation: Since they had a child ( past tense) they have not been the same present perfect... something that happened in the past and is continuing into the present. possible and correct..in English using present perfect.in this case Duo is totally correct with the English translation...…. however.... because something that happed in the past( past tense in English) can also be understood to be influential in the present tense... meaning the result of the past tense has now become present tense. so the translation here... since they had a child, they no longer are the same...… using present tense in English would grammatically be a correct translation as well.... and therefore should not be marked wrong in the Duo exercise.


Why did this sentence use plus? Is it not pas to mean have not been? I'm quite confused why this sentence uses plus but don't have the meaning of any longer.


difficult to know when to follow obscure English grammar rules or try to translate a cleanly as possible and make sense. Thus," Since they had a child, they are no longer the same" seems to violate some, to me at least, obscure English rule, but translates and makes sense.


since they have had a child, they are no longer the same - can someone please suggest why this was marked wrongly?


Why cannot we say "since they have had a child"... Same meaning and follows the French phrase.

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