"The population walked to the large square."

Translation:La population a marché vers la grande place.

April 8, 2018

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Why is "La population a marché à la grande place" not accepted? The English sentence doesn't say 'towards the large square' so shouldn't 'à' be accepted?


The preposition is wrong. "Marcher vers" is the proper way to translate "to walk to + destination".


Is that just for 'walking to'? I remember 'going to the restaurant' being 'au' restaurant so presumably it isn't all verbs, is it? What about running to, flying to etc?


Yes, other movement verbs can be used with "vers": partir, sortir, courir, se précipiter, rouler, galoper, trotter...

"Vers" does not belong to the verb; it indicates the end direction.


Right. Okay. So how do you know whether to use vers or à? I can see that, if it is directional, you would use it when in English we would use towards. But in this case, I see this sentence as destinational rather than directional. I guess it's just going to be one of those things I'm constantly getting wrong.


That's how I would view the English to and towards. 'To' denotes an end destination and 'towards' an overall direction. Since the word 'to' was used in the English sentence, I took it to mean that the square was the end destination.


"Aller à/vers" and "to go to/towards" match perfectly, but "marcher" (nor the other verbs I listed above) cannot use "à". Let's say that not all movement verbs are constructed the same way.

For lack of "à" with these verbs, you will use "jusqu'à" to mean "to" before the final destination.


"Vers" is vaguer than "à".

  • Je vais à Paris: Paris is my end-destination.
  • Je vais vers Paris: Paris is the overall direction but I may stop before.


This and following explanations very helpful. Thank you, Sitesurf.


What does "population" mean in this sentence in English? I am only used to see the word "population" is associated with the number of people. I didn't know the population can be used as a tangible subject.


It's not well-said in English, but is a direct back-translation from the French they want us to use. I can imagine an English sentence like "The entire population of the village walked towards the main square."

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