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  5. "Il va sûrement venir."

"Il va sûrement venir."

Translation:He is surely going to come.

March 24, 2013



In previous questions, 'sûrement' was translated as 'certainly'. Now, here, it is 'probably'. These are certainly (not probably :) ) very different concepts. Can the French word 'sûrement' really be used for both 'certainly' and 'probably'?


Because "probably" translates to "probablement" in French (4 syllables), to make it quicker we broadened a little bit the meaning of "sûrement". Depending on how much emphasis we put in the word, the degree of certainty can vary quite a lot and definitely embraces some situations where you would rather use "probably".


All this confusion to save one syllable? Goodness. You chaps are lazier than we are. :)


Actually, it's to save 2 syllables! In French, sûrement would be pronounced "SUR-MENT".


Oh, well. That's perfectly OK then. Two whole syllables saved. AND you confused the #$%^ out of the English, which is always a bonus. :)


Well, in English we sometimes use "surely" when there is a degree of uncertainty. "Surely you can't be serious." "Surely no one would be that stupid."


For Austin

Interesting point. This sounds very parental - a classic loaded question. There is uncertainty, but you know up front what the 'right' answer is. Lots more communication going on than just probability.

I have noticed when watching 7de Laan, the local subtitled Afrikaans soap, that 'seker' (is jy seker? are you certain/sure?) is often used to mean 'probably' .... I wonder if there aren't more examples of this in other languages.

Guys? Any other offers?



Yes, someone please explain this!


Agreed! Need help here.


That's what she said ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°).


"He is going to certainly come." is not a correct translation?


Hi, Shavonne.

He is certainly going to come. (Position of 'certainly'.)

In the UK, we would probably say 'definitely' rather than 'certainly'. No good reason - it's just what we would say. :)

PS A: Is he going to come? B: Yep. A: Definitely? B: Absolutely. ... and I still haven't used 'certainly'. :)


Sounds unnatural in English; place the adverb before the first (non-auxiliary) verb. "He is certainly going to come".


Thats what i said. Apparently it is a british v american use of english. Should certainly be marked correct!


I'm not sure why this was down voted. You are correct.


That means that he will certainly come. It means that he will come, and he will be certain as he does it.


One admittedly specific case where this could work would be if there was a second action that WASN'T certain. You can use this form to contrast the two. This is mostly used in spoken English, since it needs an certain tone of voice to make sense.

Example: "He is going to certainly come, though whether he will stay, we don't know."

That said, if you're a non-native speaker then you're better off sticking with "He is certainly going to come", as that always makes sense. This is a nuanced example that is used on rare occasions.


Split infinitive construct is technically incorrect or at least informal. Your example should still be, "He is certainly going to come, though whether..." or, "He certainly is going to come, though whether..."

If someone was going to come while being certain, it should be, "He is going to come certainly."


In this context, the split-infinitive construction is awkward, no question. But in general, splitting an infinitive is not wrong—that's an old English teacher's myth (derived from the fact that in many non-English languages, infinitives are single words and thus can't be split the way they can in English)—right up there with its supposedly being wrong to end a sentence with a preposition. Changing such constructions to reflect better phrasing is great, but doing so mechanistically just to fix a supposed error is overstepping.


He's going to come surely was accepted. He's going to come for sure not accepted. That must be a mistake...?


I would report it


Yes, I noticed the same problem in 2 sentences... In the other one "for sure" is accepted as well as surely and in the other the opposite.


That's what she said


Le Petit Robert dictionary defines surement (in part) as 'De facon tres probable'. But 'very probable' and 'probable' are different by degree. I think DL is on thin ice here.


I had enough trouble with the naked waitress. And now this!


It told me "He's definitely going to come" is wrong.


Yeah this really doesn't make a lot of sense. That is the most natural way of expressing this idea to me as a native US English speaker anyway.


Same here. I put "He will definitely come" which is exactly the same as their answer except they use certainly instead of definitely. There's no reason they shouldn't be interchangeable translations.


this statement made me giggle. I need to get my mind out of the gutter


"He is going to surely come" is incorrect but I don't understand why.


You are splitting the infinitive and you are not placing the adverb in the right place; as alphabeta mentions in another comment, the adverb comes before the verb.

Better: He is surely going to come.


If only splitting the infinitive was actually a real problem in English...


Splitting the infinitive is fine in modern usage - it's only a problem for someone with a Victorian copy editor.


I notice I got down-voted for this, and my only response is to quote (i think) Raymond Chandler's reply to a literary critic:

"When I split an infinitive I'm going to goddam split it so it stays split"

This is a personal bug-bear of mine - split infinitives are NOT a grammatical error and, except for during a brief period of academic debate in the 19th century, never have been.


Absolutely. Some of the most memorable speeches, literature, etc, have been so because of the inspired use of split infinitives. Everyday articles and books can be transformed by beautifully crafted split infinitives :-)


For Sally and PH:

Many, many moons ago, an 11-year old asked one of my fellow teachers where 'Bolligose' was.

Did he mean Betelgeuse?

No, he meant Bolligose - as in -

to Bolligose - where no man has gone before.




Thank you, it's nice to hear another voice in the wilderness.

"It's 5 year mission: boldly to go where no man has gone before" just sounds wrong.


I used the word definately instead of surely, which "surely" is better than probably


Definately isn't a word.


It should be spelled "definitely".


Ok. This program can be sometimes odd...


"He is going to come, for sure" was rejected. Can anyone explain why?


(American English speaker) I think "for sure" is somewhat colloquial.


I put "he is surely going to come" and it was marked correct. Then, however, Duo gave me another correct solution as "He is probably going to come.", which means something entirely different. Is this really the case that this french statement can be translated in very different ways in English?


One of the definitions offered by Dictionary.com for surely:

(in emphatic utterances that are not necessarily sustained by fact) assuredly: Surely you are mistaken.

When surely is used this way there is a tinge of uncertainty. It is less than certainly because it is unsupported by fact, but more than maybe. When the speaker says certainly he is saying he has very good reasons to support his belief. When he says surely he is saying that he has great confidence in his statement. Surely is the more subjective of the two terms. There is a slight difference, for which reason Duo will accept probably even though that is less positive than surely in its import.

In English, surely is different but not entirely different from probably. Surely is similar to but not identical to certainly.

F.W.I.W. Larousse treats sûrement as meaning certainly and does not seem to favor Duo's use of probably as a likely definition. Larousse doesn't mention probably at all. Neither do a couple of other less authoritative French/English dictionaries.

You are correct to be concerned about the definitions Duo attributes to sûrement but on less solid ground with respect to the English usage.


Extremey well thought out response @northernguy. Your points highlight the delicate nature of language, and the subtleties of translation. I think the crux of it is that context is key.


Thx. Of course, in ordinary conversation little attention would be given to the subtle nuances of sûrement just like English speakers don't dwell on the precise use of surely, probably and certainly.


Suûement means surely, not probably! Probably is probablement.


what is the difference with my response which was incorrect and yours which was right? I said, he is going to certainly come. and your answer, he is going to come certainly.


(American English speaker) I think the best word order here would be "he is certainly going to come"


what's the use of "va"? why not just Il sûrement venir?


Va puts the sentence into the future tense - he surely IS GOING to come. In fact, I'm not sure it would make sense without it, as venir is the infinitive, and you would need to conjugate it.

If you left out "va" you would need to write it as "il vient surement" - "he surely is coming".

You could argue that this doesn't substantially change the meaning of the sentence.


For sure, no but surely ok??


"surely" suggests uncertainty. "Surely he will come" expresses hope,expectation, but not certainty, although the distinction does not always seem clear. Is that also the case with "surement"?


What is wrong with the translation "He will come for sure." If " He will come surly" is given as correct answer????


Hi, Heidi

I see no problem with 'for sure'. It's casual usage - not usually written, or used in formal situations, but it's OK. Go for it. (<- also casual)

PS When you wrote 'surly', did you have a particular man in mind? (You know it means grumpy, bad-tempered, right?)

Have a sunshine day. :)


Brought a gentle giggle into my day!


I wrote, "he is sure to come" meaning he is definitely coming. Would this be acceptable?


Why not definitely ?


"Il va surement venir." ..."Il est en retard! Bon nuit!"


Boy, the adverb section is a bit racy for my tastes ...


Why can't it be "He will definitely come"?


what is wrong with he is sure to come?


I wrote "He is definitely coming". Isn't that another way of saying this phrase?


But nobody came...


This is very american English I think - in UK we'd say he'll definitely come...same translation?


I am serious...and don't call me Shirly.


we can't say 'definitely'?


And don't call me Shirley.


"He is sure to come" was not accepted


He will surely come.not correct


I cannot progress if I dont't get my English right. I translated it as "he is coming for sure." and it was incorrect. Also Probably is a 50-50 chance of him coming but certainly/surely sounds promising that he is coming.


That's what she said


Has anyone else noticed that you can say the words in any order? It is only sound pattern matching to the individual word sounds, not the order. It also scores a pass if it matches some number less than 100%.


Surely and definitely seem to be same


But it sounded like "souvent"!

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