"Il faut de l'huile et un oignon blanc."

Translation:Oil and a white onion are needed.

April 13, 2018

This discussion is locked.

  • 1989

Could this be, "One needs oil and a white onion" ?


That should be accepted. I read somewhere that il faut is used a lot with recipes and cooking. So if you are talking about a recipe you could use you need, one needs, we need, or you could use an impersonal construction - something is needed. This is a page I found on vocab and grammar for cooking - http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/french/mafrance/html/cooking/grammar.shtml


I tried, it was marked wrong. :(


Is there a reason 'It needs oil and a white onion' is not an accurate translation?


The "il" in "il faut" is a dummy subject and "il faut" plus a noun is translated as "x (the noun) is necessary", so you can't translate "il" as "it" in this situation. See other answers in this thread for more info.


Where did you find that info, thx


That is true but if an English speaker were trying to express that about a recipe she would use the "it needs" construction.


Can someone please translate into french. He needs some oil and a white onion?


Il a besoin d'huile et d'oignon blanc


why it accepts "we need oil and a ..."? where did "we" comes from?


"il faut" is an impersonal expression that translates as "it is necessary" or when it is followed by a noun it translates as "x (the noun) is needed". However in English we usually don't say that something is needed, we would usually say "you need x" or "we need x" or "one needs x" depending on the context. As an example if you are explaining a recipe you could say "for this recipe we/you need (or one needs) oil and a white onion", or "for this recipe oil and a white onion are needed".


Why is an indirect pronoun--one--is not acceptable? 'One needs' seems both a literal trans of the phrase (it's used in other exercises for identical constructions, in any case) and equally good English


that should be accepted, but you may have had another error in your answer.


I also wrote, "One needs oil and a white onion." How is this incorrect and why should "We need ---.", (DL's correction) be any better? And by the way, DL's top suggestion for Il faut was, "One needs".

Please explain or please correct. Merci !


I said "he needs oil and a white onion." It's marked wrong. I reported it, 4/29/2018


Your proposed translation is not correct: the 'il' in this sentence is a meaningless dummy pronoun (a bit like the 'it' in 'it is raining' or 'it is necessary'), which is required by the verb falloir, which doesn't have an actual subject.

A good way to think of this 'il faut" is as an approximate equivalent of 'it is necessary':

Il faut que j'achète du pain -> It is necessary that I buy bread -> I need to buy bread

Il faut de l'huile -> It is necessary oil -> Oil is necessary -> We need oil

(il faut does not explicit to whom it is necessary, so it is usually assumed to be 'we', but impersonnal translations like "Oil and butter are needed/required" should also be accepted)

If you want to explicitly mark the subject in the sentence, you can do it by adding the corresponding indirect object pronoun between il and faut:

Il nous faut de l'huile = We need oil (nous is explicitely mentionned)

It also works with other pronouns, for instance "Il me faut de l'huile" = "I need oil"...

Basically, what you need to know is that the 'il' in this sentence does not mean he, it is a dummy subject that you need to put in (it would be incorrect without it, just like in English where "Is raining" is incorrect), and the actual subject of the sentence is missing, but can be safely assumed to be 'we'.


Since "il nous faut" is "we need", and "il me faut" is "I need," how would you say "he needs?"


To change the pronoun, you need to replace 'nous' with the corresponding indirect object pronoun:

Il me faut - I need
Il te faut - you (singular) need
Il lui faut - he/she needs
Il nous faut - We need
Il vous faut - you (plural or formal) need
Il leur faut - they need


Oh yea, I gave this answer "It needs oil and a white onion." and was corrected to "I need oil and a white onion.", I thought the "il" in "il faut" did not refer to a person. In my mind and from my experience in can't be "I" or "he" or "you", rather "one" or "it", it even says this in the Tips and Notes!


here is the link to the Tips and Notes for this unit: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/Verbs%3A-Present-1/tips-and-notes. I put "it needs salt" into reverso as cooking is a common situation where you might say "it needs something" and the example translations in reverso were mostly "il a besoin du sel". there was also "il lui faut . . . . du sel" (which uses the pronoun "lui" for "it"), and "Ça manque peut-être un peu de sel".


It in fact says under "Impersonal Expressions";

Il faut manger. — "It" is necessary to eat. / One must eat. Il faut choisir. — "It" is necessary to choose. / One must choose.

Then it says "Il faut can also be used transitively with a noun to indicate that 'it' is needed.".


Thanks Daniel - I have edited my comment. the "it" in "it is needed" refers to the noun/s after "il faut" (in the sentence in this exercise that would be oil and a white onion), and that is not the same as the "it" in "it needs" (what you had in your original post).


Duolingo still corrected my original answer to "I need oil and a white onion.", now if I was given this sentence and asked to translate it into French I would immediately translate it as "Il me faut de l'huile et un oignon blanc.", but since the example uses only "Il faut" followed by two nouns my initial translation follows the form It needs 'noun #1' and 'noun #2' which comes out as "It needs oil and a white onion." and I am still baffled as to why this was not an acceptable answer.


"Il me faut de l'huile et un oignon blanc." makes the most sense to me as well for "I need oil and a white onion".

In this exercise duo was looking for the english translation for "Il faut de l'huile et un oignon blanc." and my guess is that because direct object pronouns don't get introduced until Pronouns 1, the answer duo is really looking for is the "x is needed" form to introduce and reinforce the idiomatic usage of falloir. As we don't generally say "x is needed" in English we get into that whole grey area of how we would say this in English and the issue of needing more context. If you were making a salad and said in English " it needs oil and a white onion", maybe a native French speaker would say "Il faut de l'huile et un oignon blanc." - you could always check with Sitesurf if you come across something she is commenting on on another thread.


How would someone know upon reading this to translate with "we"?


the "il" in "il faut" is a dummy subject, it doesn't translate as "he" - see other answers in the thread for more info, or the information under Impersonal Expressions in the Tips and Notes here: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/Verbs%3A-Present-1/tips-and-notes.


My maman would say this about a missing ingredient when cooking. In English one would say "it needs oil and a white onion."


I said "One needs oil and a white onion." Such a deep proverb. X'D


I'm with you guys. I read this as "He needs..." not sure why it's "We need..." when it starts with Il.


the "il" in "il faut" is a dummy subject, it doesn't translate as "he" - see other answers in the thread for more info, or the information under Impersonal Expressions in the Tips and Notes here: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/Verbs%3A-Present-1/tips-and-notes.


I thought that "Il me faut" translates to "I need".


Just to add to the discussion, "Oil and a white onion are required." was accepted.

To me, that sounds a little bit better as a translation into English.


It accepted my " there is a need for oil and a white onion"


Il should be one needs some oil and a white onion. It is the same as the correction


I thought il faut was they


After 5 years learning this language I still can't see difference between one needs /we / Il in this format .can anyone steer me to a place that explains it I am ready to quit!


They did not say blanc in the recordings! It marked me wrong because I did not put "blanc", but they did not say it.


"il faut de" is also "one needs" and is interchangeable with the answer. It is not implied that a recipe is being read or consulted.


I answered "It needs oil and a white onion."

In my view this is also the correct back translation.

I take exception to the suggestion that "It" can not be the subject and the translation must be passive voice.


I think "it needs..." is acceptable, because this sentence lacks context and ultimately we don't know what the subject is.

But it's not because of the il however; it has the same function as the it in "it rains" ("il pleut" in French), it's only there because every verb requires a grammatical subject in these languages, but it doesn't refer back to anything.


My big exception is to conversion of a direct statement in active voice 'Il faut de' into an indirect, passive voice translation. Perhaps it's just my editorial preference -- I would bleed read ink on an employee's report that used passive voice -- as it tends to obscure cause and effect.

I know that assuming context is fraught in duo-land, but I think we know that 'it' refers to a culinary topic -- a dish or a recipe.

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