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  5. "You have to be a man."


"You have to be a man."

March 24, 2013



I am pasting what was given as the correct answer to this question.

Correct solution:

<pre>Tu dois être un homme. </pre>

As you can see, that is different from the correct translation that this page gives at the top. I came to this comments page by clicking on the comments link right by the answer I quoted for this question.

Rather than Il faut or Tu dois I wrote something else entirely which was judged incorrect.

I wrote:

Tu as ...... être ....... un homme

You have .. to be .... a man.

I'm not sure what is wrong with my answer especially when compared to the other supposedly correct answers.

If I say it is necessary to be a man the next question is ....to do what?...

If I say You have to be a man without any context, it is an exhortation to adopt a complex set of values and behaviors. You have to -can- mean the same thing as it is necessary but it can also mean much more. The two terms can not be interchanged every time you see them. The French may be correct here but the English isn't.

Neither il faut nor tu dois have been introduced by Duo before this question but tu as être has been accepted previously. There is nothing wrong with Duo introducing new words and phrases but this is a poorly done example. Two separate answers are given, each one as the only correct answer which differ again from previous Duo usage.


A few comments if I may: (pls correct my English whenever I'm wrong).

"il faut être un homme" can be a statement, as part of a speech, about (supposed) manly values: bravery, strength, etc.or more simply a man vs an animal, or a man vs a woman...

In any event, it is a way to not name someone in particular, voluntarily or not, because "tu dois être un homme, nous devons être des hommes, il doit être un homme..." are all perfectly correct, but not so frequently used, because the formula "il faut..." is more convenient and versatile.

Now, the rest of the speech can make a difference in the translation into English:

  • If you are lecturing your 18 y.o. son for being weak, chances are that you will use "you" and it will become an exhortation for sure.
  • If you are telling a story which does not involve your counterpart(s) personally, you will tend to be less focused and use "we", or "it needs...". That will be an expression of your judgment on a given situation.
  • If you are talking about a masculine third party, absent at the time you speak, you may use "he" or "she" if that person is a woman.

What think?


Surely this is a mistake. "Il faut être un homme." begins with "he", not "you". Please tell me how this works.


No mistake. "il faut" means "it is necessary to", and "il" is not "he" but an impersonal "il".

From French to English, "il faut être un homme", can be translated by "I have, you have, he has, we have..." according to context.


Thanks very much.


This is what i was given Vous devez être un homme.


it could be an unspecified 'you', right? as in 'on doit...être un homme'

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