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"Les commerçants savent vendre et acheter."

Translation:Storekeepers know how to sell and buy.

March 30, 2018

31 Comments


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

In English you might say "Shopkeepers know buying and selling". Where 'know' + gerund implies it is an art or a trade.

Also I don't know why, but "buy and sell" always sounds more natural to me than "sell and buy". I can't imagine a native speaker saying the latter. It is a bit like "knives and forks" — say "forks and knives" and it sounds odd.


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

"how to buy and sell" sounds more natural than using gerunds to me, but I definitely agree that the verbs ought to be ordered that way in English. I get that the French sentence has them that way round but, despite correctly reading both verbs, I just swapped them on autopilot in English it's so unnatural to me to write them in that order


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

I agree that "how + infinitive" seems more natural in this case. It made me think of other industries and how the two forms might sound different.

"Teach a man how to fish" could take half an hour, whereas "teach a man fishing" sounds like years of vocational training


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

Come and go is "go and come" in french and they mark it wrong if you say go and come when translating into English. Where is the consistancy?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2219

There is no "consistency" when it comes to the realization that French expressions are often reversed from what English speakers are used to. We are learning how the French say it here. "Buy and sell" is now accepted as a variant in this exercise.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Asimmons1941

Sorry to say, I just wrote the following and it was not accepted. "The merchants know how to buy and sell." Please check this and update the exercise.


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

No. In English we buy and sell. Just as we come and go (aller et venir). This needs fixing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tim384839

I agree, buy and sell is the common way we say this in English. Duolingo does a disservice to non-native speakers who will learn the phrase as "sell and buy" and immediately sound like a non-native speaker even if the phrase is grammatically correct. As a former native French teacher that I had a very long time ago would respond when something was grammatically correct but not the way the thought is commonly expressed, she would respond, "cela ne sonne pas bien pour les oreilles".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2219

If you ask the owl, "Why do you do this?", the owl will reply that it is to help you understand that the word order in French is the French way. If the English word order mimics the French, it sounds awkward. So what are we to do? To avoid absolute trickery, the "sell and buy" (literal translation) is shown as the primary answer to make sure you will be it right when translating from English to French. But the "buy and sell" variant will also be accepted in English.


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

The details of French are tough to nail down-- inexplicable articles where you might not expect, and entire words missing where you would expect- like the word HOW in this sentence. Why is it not there, in some form?

My translation 'The storekeepers know to sell and buy' was dinged as incorrect (though it is a legitimate sentence, so not sure how it would translate into French).


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

A newbie storekeeper may know to buy and sell but might not know how to?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2219

"Savoir" followed by an an infinitive means "know how to" + verb.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marc622892

DL doesn't seem to accept "traders" for "commerçants". Traders sounds better than storekeepers in UK English. Does a commerçant have to have a shop or could the word cover market traders?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2219

A "commerçant" is a shopkeeper, not a trader.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Simone319934

If you are going with a true English translation, it would be: The shopkeepers know how to buy and sell. It would just never be said that way. In past exercises, the translations have been to the manner in which it would be said.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2219

Working on it....one awkward sentence at a time. "Buy and sell" is accepted here but the primary English translation will still show "sell and buy" so as not to trip you up on the reverse translation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/louisemathias0

"Salesmen" really ought to be acceptable. It's in more common usage hthan "storekeepers"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ian327719

A salesman is a quite specific job/role and wouldn't typically involve purchasing or any other business or commercial activities. Shopkeepers would typically be self employed and responsible for all business tasks.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2219

A "salesman" is "un répresentant" (of a company) or "un vendeur" (in a store).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/H.E.P.

Thanks, that is what I wanted to know and looked up the discussion for.


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

"Vendre et acheter" should follow the same idiomatic translation sense as "aller et venir." In English, it's "buy and sell" and "come and go." The reverse order isn't grammatically wrong; it just looks and sounds clumsy.


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

Would I be incorrect to translate "commercants" as "merchants"? I also said"...selling and buying."


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

I repeatedly get this wrong because "buy and sell" is so imbedded in my mind. I look at it, see that it's "sell and buy," and then type "buy and sell."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ruziskey2283

“Buy and sell” is in the same boat as “come and go,” “black and white,” etc., so this should not be an acceptable translation, especially if youʼre going to be picky about “come and go.”


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jasper0508

Shouldn't it be buy and sell rather than sell and buy???


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/laurenN100

I find that looking it up on google helps a lot ... Like looing it up in English and in French and seeing how to spell it in both ways.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/keri690040

can someone verify me about translating commerçant as vendor? i knew what the word refers to, saw a shopkeeper in my mind, but could only think of "vendor" as the English word for a person who buys and sells... i think that phrase put me in mind of the marketplaces in the old cities with booths or other temporary shops, and in English i call them vendors.

i guess maybe I'm trying to pin down the context for commerçant and the limits/edges of meaning before other words are more correct

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