"I was left to write a letter."

Translation:Il me restait à écrire une lettre.

April 4, 2018

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Can't understand why it is Il me restait and not Je me reste ??


Sorry restait. Still not accepted


I think the latter means more like I was resting.


This doesn't mean "I was resting to write a letter", it means "A letter was left/remained for me to write". "Il reste" means "to be left over", and uses a dummy pronoun, something like "It remained for me to write a letter".


Écrire means to write so why is à needed? It would seem to translate to 'I was left to to write a letter'.


Écrire means write, as in 'to write' (infinite form) and not as in 'I write' (present form). So the à is indeed needed in this particular French sentence.


First singular person does not exist in the verbe "se rester"?


It's not first person because "je" is not in the sentence. It's third person matching with "il". "me" is an object pronoun, not a subject pronoun.

"je restais" exists and means "I stayed" or "I was staying". As far as I can tell, there is no such verb as "se rester" (reflexive), it's just "rester". There is, however, "se reposer" which means "to rest". Maybe you were thinking of that?


Thank you very much for the explanation. It helped me a lot to understand the drafting of the proposal.

But the first thought that you have to translate the English sentence "I was left to write a letter" in Franch is not the "Il me restait à écrire une lettre. "

I translated into French "Je restais à écrire une lettre." and did not accept it. Perhaps I would have to translate "Je suis resté à écrire une lettre"

Finally, after all the above I wrote, I understood that the problem is in the drafting of the English proposal rather than the French one.

There is an idiom in the English expression "I was left to write...." which is translated "Il me restait à écrire..." because in the englise sentence there isn't the object pronoun "me".

Thank you very much for your time!


"I was left to write" is not an idiom, it is ungrammatical, nonsensical English for this meaning. Don't try to understand it because it's wrong. The French sentence means:

  • I had a letter left to write
  • I had a letter left over to write
  • I had a letter remaining to write

The only way the English sentence can make sense is with an extra word and a different meaning:

  • I was left behind to write a letter
  • I was left there to write a letter


The correct meaning of this sentence is "I had a letter left to write".

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