"Tu nettoyais la cuisine."

Translation:You were cleaning the kitchen.

April 5, 2018

This discussion is locked.


The correction to my "you cleaned the kitchen" said the answer was "You'd clean the kitchen." This would be "you would clean the kitchen" instead of a simple past tense. Also, what is wrong with "you cleaned" as opposed to "you were cleaning"

  • "you cleaned" is simple past which matches passé composé which is present perfect in English
  • "you were cleaning" is past imperfect, which matches the French tense

"You would clean the kitchen" is also a valid translation as it describes an action in the past without a defined end point, in this case a past habitual action.

French and English tenses do not match neatly, with most tenses matching two in the other language.


I have the same question


You cleaned the kitchen, would also be correct. All depends on context, which is not given. Consider this context: One person says, What did you do all those years? Then gives the reply, You cleaned the kitchen.


Yes, that's correct, but a valid back-translation is "Tu as nettoyé la cuisine" which is not interchangeable with the original "Tu nettoyais la cuisine". The translations have to work both ways.

"You were cleaning the kitchen" and "You used to clean the kitchen" are the best translations for this.


Eh? Just because one possible back-translation does not match the original sentence obviously doesn't mean it's wrong. That would be ridiculous. By that logic it is wrong to translate Je suis grand as "I am tall" because "I am tall" can be back-translated as Je suis grande.

"You cleaned" is a perfectly valid translation of both Tu as nettoyé and Tu nettoyais.


It might work for you as an advanced French speaker. But a beginner like me still needs a more formulaic translation of this difficult tense. But thanks for explaining it!


"You were cleaning up the kitchen" should totally be accepted.

  • clean up = tidy
  • clean = remove dirtiness


You cleaned the kitchen rejected.


There's a whole thread about that a little higher up.


Why not 'you used to clean the kitchen '? How can it be differentiated?


That answer is accepted now. 16oct2019


❤❤❤❤❤❤ language.


How do you distinguish when the french verb is translated as simple past and when as past imperfect? Can you suggest a reference where I can read abut ths in a little more depth?

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