"Il est difficile de terminer ce travail en une journée."

Translation:It is hard to finish that work in one day.

March 24, 2013



how do I know when to use 'difficile à' and 'difficile de'?

March 24, 2013


"difficile à" is used when there is no direct object: "ce travail est difficile à faire".

March 24, 2013


wouldn't "ce travail" be the direct object in this case? i.e.: "il est difficile à faire ce travail"

April 11, 2013


You're right, I was not clear enough.

Your sentence is correct if you add a comma after "faire", then "ce travail" is stressed, but still subject of "est": "il (=ce travail) est difficile à faire, ce travail"

Now if you use the impersonal formula "il est difficile de...", "il" is not replacing travail, since the end of the sentence has to be "... faire ce travail" ("travail" is object of "faire")

April 11, 2013


Guidelines for choosing à or de in the following construct:

adjective / noun + preposition + infinitive

Consider the following English sentence : It is difficult to eat.

This sentence is ambiguous since it could have a number of meanings, such as:

• the act of eating is difficult (because I have a sore throat)
• the lobster that I am eating is difficult to eat

In French this ambiguity is removed by using de and à.

Generally, when the subject is a dummy subject you need the preposition de and when the subject is concrete you need the preposition à


Il est important d'étudier. - It is important to study (the word it acts as a dummy subject)
il est bon d'exercer - it is good to exercise (the word it acts as a dummy subject)
Il est difficile de manger parce que j'ai mal à la gorge - it is difficult to eat because I have a sore throat
le homard est difficile à manger - the lobster is difficult to eat
votre essai était difficle à lire - your essay was difficult to read

Also note that you use the structure adjective / noun + de + infinitive for something that conveys an abstract concept. Abstract nouns refer to intangible things, like emotions, feelings, ideals, concepts and qualities. Nouns like freedom, justice, love, beauty are abstract nouns.


Elle est prête à partir - She is ready to leave
Je suis triste de partir. - I am sad to leave (sadness is an abstract concept) chacun est libre de choisir - everyone is free to choose
vous êtes libre de partir - you are free to leave

September 15, 2017


Thanks. Very useful ;)

February 20, 2018


What is wrong with: 'it is difficult to complete this work in one day' ?

March 21, 2014


I think it should be accepted. Perhaps it needs to be reported?

May 12, 2015


"en UN JOUR" is also possible in this case? (as opposed to "en une journée")

May 7, 2015


Yes, it is possible.

May 7, 2015


Thank you. Is there any difference that we should be aware of?

May 9, 2015


No difference here, since "une journée" would stress the duration and "un jour" would stress the count (one day).

May 12, 2015


Thanks. This helps me a lot.

May 14, 2015


Not sure I see the difference between "task," which I put and was marked wrong, and "work."

December 4, 2013


Agree, I think 'this work' sounds a bit odd.

October 26, 2018


how about "terminate this work in a day" ?

June 26, 2015


i was thinking about using the verb terminate because when i see the terminer i remember to terminate

September 17, 2015


Why is it "en une journee" for in one day and not "dans une journee"?

July 18, 2016


Not ' stop' this work?

May 23, 2014


stop = arrêter

November 21, 2016


Is there any difference in sound between "ce travail" and "se travail" in this sentence?

May 12, 2014


Yes, but "se travail" is impossible,. If it were "his work", the French would be "son travail" (possessive adjective and not reflexive personal pronoun).

May 12, 2014


Does anyone know why it's "en une journée?" Is that simply the preposition that is used with "journée," or is there a larger rule to know?

July 6, 2015


Shouldn't it be correct to write "quit this job"?

July 21, 2015


That has a different meaning and would be "quitter ce travail" - I take this to be about some sort of task, like reparing a car.

November 14, 2015


I think it's fair to translate "it is difficult to terminate this work in one day"

September 28, 2015


Why is it wrong to translate the sentence as "it is difficult to stop this work in one day" ?

December 21, 2015


"terminer" does not mean to stop, but to finish, to end or to complete.

December 21, 2015


Wouldn't 'finir' work better for this context?

January 3, 2016


Either are good and the original sentence was written in French with "terminer".

January 3, 2016


why cannot it be task instead of work?

June 12, 2016


task = une tâche

June 13, 2016


Thanks.I hadn't come across that word.

June 13, 2016


How does one know to translate ce as that versus this

July 18, 2017


When "ce" is followed by a noun, it is a demonstrative adjective, masculine and singular.

The French demonstrative adjectives are:

  • ce chien = masculine singular, before a word starting with a consonant sound = this/that dog
  • cet homme / cet arbre = masculine singular, before a word starting with a vowel sound = this/that man / tree
  • cette femme / cette eau = feminine singular = this/that woman / water
  • ces chiens / ces hommes / ces arbres, / ces femmes / ces eaux = all plural forms.
July 21, 2017


Sitesurf, can you explain why "il est..." is used here and not "c'est..."?

September 12, 2017


In proper French and definitely in writing, the impersonal construction is "il est + adjective + de/que", and not "c'est + adj + de/que".

The grammatical reason is that ce/c' is a real subject (this/that) and not an impersonal pronoun (like "il/it").

For example, "il est facile de mentir" (it is easy to lie) is correct, but "c'est facile de mentir" (this is easy to lie) would have 2 subjects: What is easy? "c'" and "de mentir.

In spoken French, the improper construction with "c'est" is however massively used, but since we have to teach you proper French, we are trying to apply the rules.

September 13, 2017


Sitesurf: Thank you for the excellent explanation, as always.

September 13, 2017
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