"Is the cheese good or bad?"
Translation:Le fromage, est-il bon ou mauvais ?
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I still don't understand. Why isn't "Est-ce que le fromage est bon ou mauvais?" acceptable?
I guess because this is not a yes-or-no question. "Est-ce que le fromage est bon?" or "Est-ce que le fromage est mauvais?" would both be acceptable, because these are yes-or-no questions.
The "est-ce que" structure at the beginning means something like "is it that...?" which introduces a question to which only a yes or no answer is acceptable.
"Est-ce que le fromage est bon, ou mauvais" should definitely be accepted (edit : added the coma).
To me, I don't feel like it has anything to do with yes/no questions.
Both questions in French or English suggest two options for the answer : good/bad, and the translation seems natural to me.
Then please consult with these pages about the use of "est-ce que":
The sentence "Est-ce que le fromage est bon ou mauvais?" asks about the theoretical possibility of a cheese to be either good or bad, so the answer to this question is either yes (correct answer) or no (incorrect answer - unless you like or dislike all types of cheese).
But if you want to ask whether a specific cheese on the table is good or bad then this is not the right way to ask.
The right way is this: "Le fromage est-il bon ou mauvais?"
I read your links, I see what you meant about yes/no questions.
'Is the cheese good or bad?' ==> It's good (YES) or it's bad (NO), if you really want to compare it with a yes/no question.
But yeah, "Le fromage est-il bon ou mauvais ?" sounds a little more natural. Because now that I think about it, I would rather ask "Est-ce que le fromage est bon ?" for a yes/no.
Then, "Est-ce que le fromage est bon, ou mauvais ?" will make it.
You read the use of "est-ce que" where they told you that it is used to introduce yes-no questions, and you still do not see the difference?
What is your mother tongue? Mine is Hungarian and we have two very different sentence structures to ask one way or the other.
The English question "Is the cheese good or bad?" can be interpreted in two ways.
- Is that specific cheese on the table that I am referring to right now good or bad?
- Does a cheese in general have the attribute of beeing good or bad? Can a cheese in general be characterized by the adjectives "good" or "bad"?
These are not the same questions.
The use of "est-ce que" at the beginning of the sentence refers to the second case:
"Is it that the cheese good or bad?" "Yes, the cheese (in general) is either good or bad."
While in the first case we want to ask: "Is the cheese (that one, on the table) good or bad?"
I understood why you meant yes/no questions. But initialy I did not see the point with yes/no questions.
My mother tongue is French. Unfortunately I don't have notions in Hungarian, but it does not seem that clear in French or English.
Do you agree that here, the sense 2 is really unlikely? This is likely the first option and someone will answer 'yes the cheese is good'.
Which is why indeed "Est-ce que le fromage est bon, ou mauvais ?" works for option 1, while "Est-ce que le fromage est bon ou mauvais ?" for option 2, but still there are not a lot of contexts where such a question could emerge haha.
I agree, but I also want to add that when I met this exercise it did not even come across my mind to use "est-ce que", becasue in this case it is not the sentence "Le fromage est bon ou mauvais" that we want to make a question of, because this is a true statement, just like "I am a boy or a girl".
But if you say that you often hear French people using "est-ce que" in such cases I am ready to accept it. But, in this case, I do not understand why the editors wrote that it is used for yes/no questions.
No, I think you are right and you have a very high level of understanding the French language.
I took the exercice without thinking of the theme or anything, that's why I wrote "est-ce que".
But definitely the best translation seems to be "Le fromage est-il bon ou mauvais ?" or "Le fromage, est-il bon ou mauvais ?" as stated here.
You have the good use of "Est-ce que", and "Est-ce que le fromage est bon ou mauvais ?" as I originally wrote does not feel that correct if I focus on it, but "Est-ce que le fromage est bon, ou mauvais ?" works for sure. (Edit: still, that wouldn't shock me if I saw it without the coma haha, would need the opinion of other natives to confirm).
But you can also have "Est-ce que le fromage est bon, mauvais, sucré, salé... ?" which is not a yes/no question and is correct. But you are right when you say that "est-ce que" has to deal with yes/no.
I am testing out of this level, so they should be allowing all acceptable translations. Since they have been pushing us to use a statement as a question, I don't see why they are now requiring this awkward French phrase. It makes no sense and is another example of their inconsistencies.
Just to make myself perfectly clear:
"Est-ce que" is a grammatical structure that makes a question out of the sentence that comes after it by offering us the choice to decide whether it is true or not.
So "Est-ce que le fromage est bon ou mauvais?" is a the "questionized" verison of the statement "Le fromage est bon ou mauvais." This is a general statement about the "philosophy" of cheese which means that a cheese (in a logical sense) is either good or bad and there is no third possibility.
Are we sure that this is what we want to ask about? No, we want to know whether a specific cheese we are referring to is good or bad. So we ask:
"Le fromage est-il bon ou mauvais?"
Daniel hi. I just read your post and since you are so much passionate about understanding how French works. I feel obliged to give you my insight on the point at stake.
"Est-ce que le fromage est bon ou mauvais?" is not a yes or no question, I agree. But the reason for that has nothing to do with "est-ce que" but with the fact that you have to choose one of two options contradictory in terms.
Even you use the other way of asking questions: "Le fromage est-il bon ou mauvais?", it is still not a yes or no question. In both cases, the answer has to be: "Il est bon" or "Il est mauvais". You just cannot answer "yes" or "no". Thus both are not "yes" or "no" questions.
In one of your posts, you wrote: "I do not understand why the editors wrote it has to be used with yes/no questions". I checked the website you were referring to: https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/est-ce-que/. Actually the editor is speaking of examples that she gives as "yes or no" questions just above her remark. It is not about the "est-ce que" construction. Hence maybe the confusion.
Because here you just have one proposition and not two that you want to link. the true question is "est-il bon ou mauvais?" but if you just say that without the context, we can't know what you are talking about so you add "le fromage," just to know what you are talking about ant not really to construct a complex sentence. "qu'il" is used when you want to merge two sentences : "Le fromage est bon" + "Il a fait le fromage" = "Le fromage qu'il a fait est bon". Or with opposite point of view, with "qu'il" you can extract two different sentences from a complex one. Here it's not the case "Le fromage" alone is not a sentence so you don't use "que".
In reality this form is not used a lot because it's not fluent :
Les chats, ils aiment les souris
Les aliens, existent-ils?
It's not really nice to hear... Moreover you can change them into more fluent and really more used sentences :
Les chats aiment les souris
Est-ce que les aliens existent?
So the best sentence here is "est ce que le fromage est bon ou mauvais" and if I want to be really precise a french person would just say "est ce que le fromage est bon?" (because it's obvious that if it not good, it is bad so we don't feel the need to precise "ou mauvais")
My reply is a little late, but hopefully it might help someone.
"Est-ce que le fromage est bon ou mauvais ?" feels good to me @GabeDC. And still, some might say it is not 100% correct (see the huge debate above if needed, but keep in mind that to me it's correct French and everyone will understand you).
@ToWiK, "Est-ce que le fromage bon ou mauvais ?" is not correct though, "est-ce que" is just a question form, but you will always need a verb with it, that's why you need the second "est".
I think "est-ce que le fromage est bon ou mauvais?" would be understood but also why it isn't correct. In English the sentence, "Is it that the cheese is good or bad? " would similarly be understood while also being incorrect. The implied sentence is "Is it that the cheese is good, or (is it that the cheese is) bad?" is what makes the sentence understandable but also a completely different sentence than the correct (and simpler) form "The cheese, is it good or bad?"
Not only "est-ce que le fromage est bon ou mauvais?" would be understood but it is perfectly correct and a very common interrogative form (native French speaker here). I think you see more nuances than there are actually. It is one of the two possible translations of the proposed English sentence "Is the cheese good or bad?", the first one (because it is the most literal, most elegant and the one that flows better) being 'le fromage est-il bon ou mauvais?" Duo's preferred translation is not adequate. It would be if the English form was what you wrote: "the cheese, is it good or bad?".
Yes but just keep in mind that "the cheese, is it good or bad?" is spoken English just as the "le fromage, est-il bon ou mauvais?" is spoken French. For the sake of consistency and accuracy Duo's French translation of the English sentence should have been: "Le fromage est-il bon ou mauvais?" or "Est-ce que le fromage est bon ou mauvais?". It does not really matter as long as learners are aware that the preferred translation is spoken French and a bit awkward even in speech.
Est-ce que le fromage est bon ou mauvais? is good french and should be marked correct!! Having read all the previous messages I can see the reasons why it could be marked incorrect but really both translations are correct and should be accepted as we don't know the context in which the question is being asked!