"Elle rangeait nos jouets dans le placard."

Translation:She used to put our toys in the cupboard.

April 21, 2018

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Even if 'ranger' = put away, the other meaning "to tidy" should also be accepted. Reported.


One does not say "she tidied our toys in the cupboard".


But one might say "She was tidying our toys in the cupboard"


It is relatively normal to tidy things into something. 'She used to tidy our toys into the cupboard' means that she used to tidy our toys by putting them into the cupboard.


Thanks for sharing this BrE version. Added.


ranger == tidy up, arrange, NOT put

She used to tidy up our toys in the cupboard. She used to arrange our toys in the cupboard.

I see no way this means "she used to PUT our toys in the cupboard."


I was surprised as well. Larousse has "to put away" as a definition. See the below, 2nd bullet in the first entry.



Note that when you have an indirect object, e.g. "the cupboard", we usually drop "away" in "to put [something] away".

  • She used to put our toys away
  • She used to put our toys in the cupboard
  • She used to put our toys away in the cupboard (rarely used)


I have a Larousse paperback dictionary and "to put away" isn't in that. If it weren't for a lot of cross-training materials from various sources we would not learn many of the things I've been seeing on DL.


The small dictionaries are not exhaustive resources. "To put away" is a valid interpretation of "ranger".


It is the second entry in the Collins Robert dictionary too.


The hints sometimes reflect tangential connections to English expressions. The term "put" does not capture the sense of "ranger", but rather "to put away". I.e., ask yourself what is the action of "ranger". Picture the person doing it. What are they doing exactly? They are gathering things up and putting them away where they belong. Many francophones mistakenly connect the single English word "put" with "ranger" but that is a significant mistake.


Why is "She would arrange our toys in the cupboard." an incorrect way of translating this?


My understanding is that "would" implies the French conditional tense (either conditional present or past, depending upon context).



It came across to me as a habitual action, not a one time event, something the imparfait is used for; see https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/imperfect/. There is also this example earlier in the lesson; https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/27765092/I-would-often-tidy-up-my-room. That is why I was prompted to use "would" in my translation.


There is ambiguity in the use of "would" so we might say "used to" if we want to express a habitual/repeated action in the past. Be aware that the confusion with the conditional "would" is purely an English language error, not a French one. The common uses of the imperfect tense are:

  • Expressing a habitual or repeated action in the past (if warranted by context), e.g., nous allions √† la plage tous les jours = we used to go to the beach every day.
  • Expressing an action in progress in the past, e.g., il √©crivait une lettre = he was writing a letter.
  • Expressing a state of being in the past, e.g., elle avait dix-sept ans = she was 17.

For a brilliant explanation of the use of the imperfect tense, please visit this link: https://languagecenter.cla.umn.edu/lc/FrenchSite1022/FirstVERBS.html


Excellent and concise explanation! Merci beaucoup. I have added it to my notes.


Interesting.... very interesting.

Certainly a habitual action and the imparfait. I wonder if the difference is that in the other sentence souvent/often is also in the mix. I.e., does having a 'frequency' adverb allow one to use either the imparfait or conditional (edit) for an English sentence with the word "would" (/edit).

You might catch a contributor's eye more quickly by posting in the French forum. If you do, and get a response, I'd appreciate it if you follow up here.

Great catch. Cool question.


The action of "ranger" is not simply one of arranging, but the action of picking/gathering things up and putting them where they belong.


and what's about "cupboard "? isn't this place for putting the dishes?


She kept our toys in the cupboard. Why is this wrong as a translation?


The action of "ranger" is the action of collecting the toys (from the floor) and putting them away.

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She used to stow our toys in the cupboard.


Do "elle rangeait..." and "elles rangeaient..." sound the same? How can I tell in an audio exercise?

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