"They buy pasta? Which?"

Translation:Ils achètent des pâtes ? Lesquelles ?

March 30, 2018

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what's wrong with: achètent-ils des pâtes? Lesquelles?


Using inversion here changes the sense of the original "question" which is posed almost rhetorically. Like something you might say after someone has told you that they buy pasta. A questioning response of surprise.

Your inversion alters the meaning to a fully fledged question - "do they buy pasta?" / "are they buying pasta?".

I feel the nuance is different.


I think I understand now, thank you for your detailed explanation!


but surely Lesquelles is which ones. Which is lequel or laquelle?


I suspect this is one of those tricky questions using looser translation because "pasta" is singular in english and plural in French. Similar to pants and pantalon; plural in english yet singular in French.


Pasta can be plural in English. "Which pasta do you buy?" "I buy linguini, spirals, and shells."


Why is "Quelles?" not allowed?


Quel / Quels / Quelle and Quelles are interrogative adjectives which have the following characteristics:

  1. Used in place of an article not with one
  2. Placed directly in front of a noun
  3. Must agree with the noun in gender and number
  4. Are identical to French exclamative adjectives (eg Quel dommage !)
    and, the one that relates to your question
  5. Quel + noun = lequel (an interrogative pronoun).

Or, in this instance, quelles + pâtes (noun) = lesquelles.


the english seems wrong. perhaps it should be which pasta did they buy?.......... please comment


It would be "quelles pates ont ils acheté"


Which pasta did they buy? would be "quelles pates ont ils acheté"

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