"Vous ne réfléchissiez pas assez avant de jouer."

Translation:You did not use to think enough before playing.

April 6, 2018

This discussion is locked.


"You used to not think enough before playing"; terrible translation! "to not" is not a verb. "You did not think enough before playing" seems to be a reasonable answer.


It is certainly not natural English but at least you can understand that the French sentence is about a past repeated action.

"You did not think enough before playing" can be about a one-time event, which would back-translate to a passé composé: Tu n'as pas assez réfléchi avant de jouer.


'You used to not think enough before playing' is perfectly fine, natural English. This sentence is attracting comments from people whose desire to look grammatically 'correct' exceeds their actual knowledge of English grammar. (But 'used not to think' is also fine).


It is not perfectly fine, natural English! It is a split infinitive!


So, I think I should be able to say "I used not to think enough before playing" to avoid a split infinitive.


It's impossible to split an infinitive since infinitives are one word -- "to" is an adjunct for clarity, since Middle English had lost a lot of its inflections and it was no longer easy to tell the difference between verb forms. The rule against it started with the American "linguist" John Comly in 1803 as a matter of preference, so it's an arbitrary rule.


If it has been around since 1803, it's hardly arbitrary.


horrible, awkward English. I'm not certain that it is grammatically correct. I meant to report it but got distracted and forgot. I'll try to remember if I see it again.

"You do not think enough before playing" is probably the best translation for this, and it is how I would translate it were I translating a book or article from French to English. If one really wanted to keep the sense of the imperfect, then one could use "You were not thinking enough before you played" or, taking some poetic licence, "you were not in the habit of sufficient reflection before playtime" or something like that.

If I hired someone to translate "Vous ne réfléchissiez pas assez avant de jouer" and he wrote "You did not use to think enough before playing" I think I would never hire that person to translate anything again.


Indeed, the "best" translation you suggest is not acceptable because of the tense. The past imperfect tense has several, alternative translations depending on meaning, and your translation(s) in English must demonstrate that you have properly understood what the French sentence meant, as accurately as possible, and even if it is not the way you would say it in your daily life.

  • a past, on-going action or state: you were not thinking (accepted)
  • a past habit/repeated action or state: you used not to think; you did not use to think; you would not think (accepted).

We are well aware that some of those technically possible translations are awkward, but they remain faithful to the French meaning, and you could safely pick "you were not thinking", although the meaning is much more probably that of a repeated past action.




It's hardly picky not to accept an answer in the present tense when the original is in the past tense.


I will split an infinitive if it makes the sentence easier to say or easier to understand, but "You used not to think enough before playing" was marked wrong and "You used to not think enough before playing was marked right.


I think this should be "used to" not "use to"

[deactivated user]

    It's either "used to" or "did not use to" per the following: As reported by the NOAD in a note about the usage of used:

    There is sometimes confusion over whether to use the form used to or use to, which has arisen largely because the pronunciation is the same in both cases. Except in negatives and questions, the correct form is used to: we used to go to the movies all the time (not we use to go to the movies). However, in negatives and questions using the auxiliary verb do, the correct form is use to, because the form of the verb required is the infinitive: I didn't use to like mushrooms (not I didn't used to like mushrooms).


    yes you are right! -- thank you. I sure hope it was a typo rather than what I actually planned to write.


    more natural, "you didn't use to think enough before playing " ...?

    I can't imagine a coach saying "you used not to think enough before playing" unless it was a very erudite person doing coaching as a hobby


    An ugly construction in English. I put "you used not to think enough before playing" which was "corrected" to "you used to not think enough". No, Duo, that is even worse!


    Akward construction should be deleted from program


    What is wrong with this sentence? "You used not to think enough before playing" I'll tell you it's EXACTLY the same as the sentence that is right, except that APPARENTLY it's wrong


    The problem here people is that you are all using the word "used" as in "You used not think enough before playing". Duo is not using the word "used" here, it is using the word "USE" which in my book is just pain bad english. The above sentence should be " You did not used to think enough before playing" (or suitable variations thereof)


    Duolingo is actually correct here. After the auxiliary did, in both interrogative and negative statements, the standard is "use to". E.g., "Did I use to do that?", "You did not use to do that." "Used to" is when it stands alone with no auxiliary.


    "You used not to think enough before playing" or "you used to not think enough before playing"? I personally favour the former but unsurprisingly Duo does not so I am wrong or is there just not enough flexibility in the system?


    The English offered as correct here is clunky and innacurate. No one qould actually say this.


    In the "drop down" "would" is often listed as an appropriate translation. How is using "would" in "imparfait" exercises different from "conditional" verb tenses. Confusing the two!


    "Would" is not only the conditional auxiliary. It can be used for past habits, usually with related elements of language like "in the old days", "when I was little"...


    The translation accompanying this sentence reads: "You used to not think enough ....". Is it American English? What about:" You didn't used to ..." or "You usedn't to ....??


    This is an awful sentence in English - not helpful at all.


    In the English language the word "use" is not used in this situation. The correct word is "used".


    That is incorrect. When 'did' or 'did not' is in the sentence, the correct usage is 'use' as the past tense is already covered by 'did'.


    The word "use" and "used" are interchanged throughout this section without any rhyme or reason. This whole section is flawed and needs re-writing.


    Duo's use of these phrases is correct. Sometimes you are supposed to use 'used' and sometimes you are supposed to use 'use'. The fact that you have flagged this particular sentence as incorrect suggests that you don't understand the usage yourself.

    Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.