"Tout le monde s'est tu quand le prisonnier est arrivé."
Translation:Everybody went silent when the prisoner arrived.
"Everyone was quiet when the prisoner arrived" reported, 2018-05-02
It is possible that the contributors are disallowing the "was quiet/silent" structure because there is no time duration suggested in the French.
My previous sentence was «Les petits garçons se sont tus depuis une heure» where "The little boys have kept quiet for an hour" was accepted.
I look forward to the explanation. This stuff is brain candy!
"Everyone was quiet when the prisoner arrived." was still incorrect on Oct 31, 2018. It seems to me that "was quiet" would call for the imperfect. Using "went quiet" I guess is passé composé?
I don't see a word that means "went" but I could see a "devenir" in this sentence.
"Everyone was quiet" is not what the verb means! « Se taire » means literally "to silence/quiet oneself", or "to make oneself quiet." Using the past perfective in « tout le monde s'est tu ... » means that when the prisoner arrived, everyone silenced themselves, or they went quiet, fell quiet, shut up, stopped talking, and so on. It does not mean that everyone was silent before the arrival, which is what "was quiet" suggests.
It doesn't mean "silent" because it's not an adjective. The infinitive is "se taire", from "taire", which is transitive and means "to quieten, to shut up, to silence." The reflexive form "se taire" literally means "to quieten/shut up/silence oneself", so the past perfective "Tout le monde s'est tu..." means that everybody silenced themselves or made themselves quiet.
Everyone was quiet when the prisoner arrived
This is wrong? Is 'was quiet' being construed as past imperfect maybe? I'd just like to understand why.
A better translation for "Everyone was quiet..." is « Tout le monde était silencieux... ». This is because "everyone was quiet" implies that they had already been quiet at the time the prisoner arrived. But « tout le monde s'est tu... » means that they suddenly fell silent, making themselves quiet at the moment of arrival.
Actually, we know exactly what is meant by this sentence. « Tout le monde s'est tu quand ... » can only mean that everybody fell silent (lit., "silenced themselves") at the moment the prisoner arrived. One way to say that they were silent before the prisoner arrived would be to say « Tout le monde était silencieux quand ... », using the imperfective.
In English, "everyone was quiet when the prisoner arrived" should be accepted. There is, a causal aspect of the verb "was" because it is related to "when the prisoner arrived"... viz, for example, "everyone was stunned when the bomb went off." It is clear that "was stunned" is a result of the bomb... the same is true for "was quiet/silent" and "when the prisoner arrived."
If you are simply speaking about what one might say in English, there is no argument there. But here, the verb is "se taire" (to keep quiet, to fall silent). It is not a stative verb; it is an action. So the English translation should use the action equivalent, i.e., everybody fell silent. It is inclusive of the idea that they were apparently not silent before, but when the prisoner came in, they fell silent.