"Il me faut une nouvelle étagère."

Translation:I need a new shelf.

March 31, 2018

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I'm confused as to where the need/have part of this sentence comes in. or the interaction thereof I suppose?

As I understand it, totally in a vacuum. This sentence means "One (Me) needs to new shelf." Generally I've understood this to be applicable generally to verbs, never seen it applied to a noun. I guess it's different because the article "une" is used?


"Il faut" is more versatile than you think. Whatever its object (verb or noun) is deemed a necessity.

  • Il faut parler. = It is necessary to talk. = Talking is needed.
  • Il faut un couteau. = It is necessary to have a knife. = A knife is needed.

If the object is a noun, you may think of adding an "avoir" in there for clarity, but this is not necessary. We sort of do the same in English as "I need" and "I need to have" are generally the same.


And how do we distinguish between "need (to have/do/?)" and "necessity (to)" ? Is it purely through context?


Yes, context and common sense may guide you to the best English meaning.


How to distinguish between a single shelf and a bookcase?


A single shelf is "une étagère" and a bookcase is "une bibliothèque".


http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/%C3%A9tag%C3%A8re/31182 I thought "étagère" could be a shelf or a set of shelves.

http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/biblioth%C3%A8que/8989 So, "bibliothèque can be a library or a bookcase. I just knew the first definition before.

A bit of overlap perhaps? I guess the one I have that has two sides and five shelves I usually call "une étagère." The one in my room that has a back as well as sides and shelves and doors in front, would that one be une bibliothèque?


"Une étagère" is a single board fixed to a wall. You can put anything you want on it.

It is also a rack, consisting of several "étagères" tied together. Manufacturers call it "une étagère", but people often say "des étagères".

"Une bibliothèque" contains books and usually consists of several "étagères". It is, therefore, the name of a piece of furniture which can be self-standing or fixed to a wall.

On principle, "une bibliothèque" does not have doors. In the 70s, people had one of their living room walls totally covered with a set of shelves, with or without doors in front, some space for the TV and stereo, and several drawers, and the whole set was called "un living".

A room containing a lot of shelved books is "une bibliothèque", even a private one in a big house or mansion.


J’avais des doutes que les portes transformaient le meuble en question, mais les tablettes sont faites exprès pour des petits livres et j’aime bien qu’il a moins de poussière sur mes livres là. Mais, ce n’est pas assez grand. Il n’y a que trois tablettes ou étagères.

Merci beaucoup encore une fois ! C’est la phrase la plus utile que j’aie eue de Duolingo. J’ai des livres dans tous mes placards. Il me faut vraiment une nouvelle étagère, ou deux ou trois ! Une bibliothèque sera encore meilleure, mais ma maison n’est pas assez grande pour cela.

L’étagère du salon faisait partie d’un living fait par nous même ça fait longs temps, mais aujourd’hui on n’utilise plus la section du coin pour la télévision. La télévision que j’ai maintenant est sur le mur. C’était fait simplement avec rien en arrière ni en avant, mais c’est fait de chêne et c’ est très grande. Il me faut un escabeau pour attraper les livres en haut.

Thank you again and again, for your corrections, below. I can’t believe I forgot the adjective agreement for tablettes, so I went ahead and changed that one, but I leave the others so other people can learn from my errors. « nous-mêmes » and « serait » were ones that I knew, but changed at the last minute. Always go with your first instinct. I was going to put « fait en chêne » but I knew it wasn’t quite right so I looked it up and they had a lot of « fait de... » so I changed it and here the right way was to forget about « fait » altogether.
« C’est en chêne ». I am sure my parents and my husband have said it enough times and I still didn’t quite get it. So, we really do need to practice writing and speaking to solidify everything.

I definitely need to work on my verb tenses some more. « Il y a longtemps » is another expression that I have heard, but that I failed to remember when I was writing. I believe my French was better when I was straight out of college then now. My husband is sure that it is because I “waste time learning other languages”, but I think it has more to do with the fact that I have not been reading and writing enough in French and I have taught him English so well for his job that he rarely speaks in French to me anymore. That is it, I am only talking to him in French now! Merci plus que jamais !


Good to hear some of our sentences are useful! ;-)

J'avais des doutes sur le fait que les portes puissent transformer... mais les tablettes sont faites exprès pour les petits livres... j'aime bien qu'il y ait moins de poussière sur mes livres (no "là" needed).
Une bibliothèque serait encore mieux, mais...
... fait par nous-mêmes il y a longtemps...
... c'est en chêne et c'est très grand.


Why is “me“ used there??


Because it’s me who needs a new shelf: il me faut = I need


Another way to think of this construction “il me faut...” is that it is kind of like “it is necessary for me to have...” They use their indirect object form “me” which can mean “to me” or “for me” depending on our translation, but it is just more common in English to use the more direct “I need....”


Is "je besoin une nouvelle étagère" also acceptable?


J'ai besoin d'une nouvelle étagère.

You would use the construction avoir + besoin + de. "Besoin" is a noun.


Hi, I think your sentence would have to start with "j'ai besoin d'une.."


Off-topic: how could I say "he makes me a new shelf"? "Il fait me une nouvelle étagère"?


Object pronouns go before the verb: il me fait une nouvelle étagère.

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