"Tu regardais la télévision."

Translation:You were watching television.

April 25, 2014

125 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/garHu

Why is "You watched the television" an incorrect answer here?

April 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

you watched television = tu as / vous avez regardé la télévision

April 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregHullender

Then consider this monologue:

"You have a big test tomorrow, but did you study at all today? No! You watched television."

Or this one:

"You didn't play sports as a kid. You watched television."

I think (and tell me if I'm wrong) that in both contexts "You watched television" needs to be translated as Tu regardais la télévision. Furthermore, in English it would mean something slightly different to say "You were watching television" in either context. (In the first one, it implies that he's not watching TV at the moment, but it also suggests he watched TV non-stop during the day. In the second one, it strongly implies that he has given up watching TV.)

Because Duolingo doesn't give context for sentences, I think you should always accept both the English simple past tense and the continuous past as valid translations for the imparfait.

August 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"Tu as une interrogation importante demain, mais as-tu travaillé aujourd'hui ? Non, tu as regardé la télévision."

"Tu ne faisais pas de sport étant enfant. Tu regardais la télévision."

A you can see, your examples do not fit in the same category.

as-tu travaillé aujourd'hui = have you worked today (so far) or did you work today (at some point during the day)

tu regardais la télévision =

  • you used to watch television / you would watch television (both: habit)

  • you watched television (past general truth when context allows)

  • without context: you were watching television (past on-going action) or story-telling.

August 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Macrologie

But isn't that precisely the point? That "You watched television" is a perfectly acceptable English translation because the phrase works in both contexts? I understand Duolinguo trying to distinguish imparfait from passé composé, but they're not always distinguished in English and requiring absurdly obtuse syntax to convey a difference will only harm a newcomer's understanding of the language.

February 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

But that is the whole point of the lesson. As you say ..they are not always distinguished in English...... You are correct. English speakers prefer the past tense over the imperfect to point of using it almost exclusively in ordinary conversation rather than use what they regard as strange, convoluted imperfect. Many English speakers don't even understand the difference in meaning between simple past and imperfect when they hear it.

But French speakers do use the imperfect. A lot. And it has a different meaning than simple past. Which is why they use it. The difference in meaning is intended. They find English speakers blanket use of simple past even when they are referring to a continuous action that has yet to be completed, as strange and convoluted.

Duo is teaching French as it used by French speakers. That means English speakers are going to see a lot of instances where the translation seems ...well.....foreign.

On the French to English side of this course, I can imagine native French speakers saying they should not have to translate English past tense into French past tense because it is confusing at first for newcomers to the English language.

Think about your reaction to a student in a section teaching English past tense complaining about having to use the past tense in his native language just to show he understands how those crazy English speakers use it. Because when he becomes sufficiently fluent in English that he can talk to people in English, he has no intention to use the simple past since it is just too confusing for him, so why bother learning it?

March 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/darkavenue

English also differentiates two ways of using past tense.

For example: Your father tells you to come downstairs. When you get there he asks, "what were you doing?" You wouldn't say "I watched television." Even though technically the act of watching would be in the past. (since you're no longer watching tv at that moment) You would have to reply "I was watching television".

May 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

@darkavenue You are talking about the difference between past progressive ("was/were watching") for an ongoing action, whether it was completed or not, and past perfect ("watched") for a competed action, whether it was ongoing or not.

Since your question was asked in past progressive, a past progressive answer was required. If you change the question to past perfect: "What did you do?" then a past perfect answer is required: "I watched TV" (or "I broke the vase", etc.)

May 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnnetteKelly

Even when I don't totally understand the differentiation in my English only brain, I have faith that in continuing to study there will be a new understanding. I thank you for all your skill building explanations.

May 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregHullender

How would you translate "You watched television for three hours before the phone rang." Or "You watched television as a child?"

August 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Tu regardais (imparfait for a lasting past action) la télévision depuis 3 heures avant que le téléphone ne sonne (subjunctive prompted by "avant que" and in present because past subjunctive is little used: avant que le téléphone ne sonnât).

Alternative: tu regardais (vous regardiez) la télévision depuis 3 heures quand le téléphone a sonné (passé composé for a punctual action in the past).

August 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jdgamble555

Q: What did you used to do? You watched television?

Q: What did I do at night? A: You watched television.

In these situations, the imperfect translation would be used. Imperfect tenses in general translate to the english simple past (not passé simple) or the past progressive here. Since there is no context or key words like une fois, le soir, or tout à coup, the simple past is a possiblility here.

February 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jonahm4

Why not you are watching television

April 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1750

"Tu regardes la télévision" (present tense) may be translated as "you are watching television" whereas "tu regardais la télévision" (past imperfect) = you were watching television.

March 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lisaskier

It seems to be that in this section of the course Duo accepts both the '-ing" and the "-ed" conjugation of verbs for some sentences, but in other sentences only the "-ing" version is marked correct.

I am really struggling to understand why this is so.

I did read in a different thread that the course moderators failed to come to a unanimous agreement on the translation of the Past Imperfect, would this be the explanation or is there an important rule I have missed?

Gosh, this really is a difficult tense to conquer!!!!

August 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

The past progressive (-ing) is acceptable to translate any French verb in the past imperfect, provided it is not a stative verb in English, in which case, a past simple (-ed) will be used to describe a past state, feeling or sensory experience, with no implication of a length of time:

  • je regardais la TV = I was watching TV
  • j'avais quinze ans = I was fifteen
  • j'étais amoureux = I was in love
  • je voyais le train rouler = I saw the train running (back: "j'ai vu...")
  • j'aimais les fraises = I loved strawberries (back: "j'ai aimé...")
August 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lisaskier

Wow, thanks for the speedy response Sitesurf! :]

I think "regarder" is the verb that most usually trips me up, does this fall into the stative verb group?

I can't really discern the difference between "I was watching" and "I watched" , although clearly there must be one!

August 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marie282520

Can you let us in on the other correct answers so we can learn them? I've been working on this exercise for a whole day because it quits loading, won't register or move on, gets stuck. it's hard to load the discussions. I sometimes read news on several sites before it loads Sometimes I can't get it to load at all. So I don't want to go nuts, I just want to learn this stuff. Reading the news is making me crazy also. So can we have the right answers? It seems to me over and over that the right answers change and I must not be getting some trick or else it is just random in some way and I need to forget trying. I appreciate you help but somehow all my questions for several months have gone unanswered because someone (not me) changed the settings. Now I get 30 or so notifications since I changed it back. NOT answers to my questions but just all content on a page. It's just not really manageable to have all that come at me all day either and try to find out if a duo email is related to my questions.
I don't think you have much to do with it but I do think the site is out of control at the moment. My computer is too hot to handle after a day and I just want to make it clear that this is not working. Peopel say that if they take a break while it stablilizes, they lose all their points and it does give a sense of accomplishment. I suppose that is not the goal if they are studying us. but we are humans.

April 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nick229163

But Sitesurf, if the context was You watched the television every afternoon after school then that would be imperfect tense and a good English translation of it.

April 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

With no other elements of language pointing to a habit or on-going process, the past simple "watched" expresses a one-time, past and complete action and it is the translation to/from "tu as regardé" in PC.

April 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/korsikka

I asked today my french teacher. She told it's wrong here. The translation "you watched the TV" is right. "Tu as regarde la television" translates as " you were watching the TV". I believe her as she is both a native speaker and an experienced teacher

January 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1750

You may have misunderstood. The Passé composé (tu as regardé la télévision) would be either 1) you watched television or 2) you have watched television. The first is more natural. The Imparfait (tu regardais la télévision) means either 1) you were watching television, 2) you used to watch television. There are other possibilities, but these are the most likely. For a thorough explanation of the difference between Passé composé and Imparfait, open this link in your browser. https://languagecenter.cla.umn.edu/lc/FrenchSite1022/FirstVERBS.html

April 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

Sitesurf is the expert here. She is a native French speaker and her English is excellent too. I would advise reading all of her comments on this page for an understanding of how one tense can translate into many tenses. In many cases the French and English tenses are not equivalents of each other.

January 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/korsikka

I used particularly that example and shared my experience with the feedback received. It's up to an individual how to perceive the information

January 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

Did you ask you teacher if it can have more than one meaning or be translated into more than one tense? Often when we translate, we think of a valid sentence and then stop searching but there can be other valid translations that we miss. Your teacher may have just given you the only sentence she had thought of at the time.

The French sentence you gave has two different translations into English:

  • « Tu as regardé la télévision » (passé composé)
  • "You have watched the televsion" (literal translation, present perfect)
  • "You watched the television" (simple past)

It does not mean "You were watching the television" because that is a continuous tense.

January 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Yes, this is what teachers and books say, but in reality, the imperfect is used for both states and actions and it does not need another event to interrupt the state or action.

What teachers and books do not always explain is that the difference there is in English between stative and dynamic verbs does not apply to French verbs.

  • When I was little, I loved Christmas = quand j'étais petit(e), j'adorais Noël / j'ai adoré Noël.

"loved" is stative and you would not use "was loving".

If you translate "loved" to "j'aimais", it means that during your whole childhood you loved Christmas.

If you translate "loved" to "j'ai aimé", it means that at least once in your childhood, you loved Christmas.

January 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Skywatcher

What's really going on here is a change in mood in English. You did the same thing in your English explanation, using the passive voice correctly once and once less correctly. As a native speaker, I would have said:

"Your teacher may have given (passive) you the only sentence she thought of (active) at the time."

Her thought should be expressed in the perfect past, as it actually happened.

But, English has no general imperfective, and when a habitual action of the past is described, then we say "would have," so the real problem here is Duolingo's lack of context, not a lack of understanding of nuance. I wasn't doing the particular section on past imperfect when I ran into this, just used the "strengthen" button, so I had no idea what nuance, if any, was in play.

EDIT: It's been fixed. "You were watching TV" is now accepted as correct.

September 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

"You watched" is perfect (we know the action is completed). "You were watching" is imperfect (we haven't been given information as to whether the action is completed or not).

In the explanation you quote it says "The imparfait is also used..." Sometimes, habitual action in the past can be expressed as though it's the simple past, however, it requires extra context to be understood that way.

  • "You have watched TV" - "You watched TV today"
  • "You had watched TV" - "You watched TV before going to bed"
  • "You used to watch TV" - "You watched TV every day as a child"
  • "You would watch TV" - "You watched TV before dinner every night"
  • "You were watching TV" - "You watched TV before brushing your teeth tonight"

I think you'd agree that these meanings are not interchangeable. Translating everything as just "You watched TV" doesn't demonstrate that you understand the differences in the French grammar.

January 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Skywatcher

It's been fixed. "You were watching TV" is now correct.

September 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Frank_X

I think it is a correct translation into English. Were we translating from English to French, it might be a different story. The problem seems to be trying to covey a nuance of one language that has no direct analog in the other.

February 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1750

Much has been corrected during the past several years. Not the least of which is the confusion between Passé composé and Imparfait. For an excellent explanation of these differences, open this page in your browser: https://languagecenter.cla.umn.edu/lc/FrenchSite1022/FirstVERBS.html

November 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jliusiwei

FYI, "la télévision" in French is frequently abbreviated as "la télé," "l'ordinateur" as "l'ordi," and "le réfrigérateur" as "le frigo" or even sometimes "le frigidaire." I wonder why DuoLingo does not teach these more commonly used variants.

July 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maceachern

why did it give me the answer of "you'd watch television."?

March 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Developers are currently looking into this that I reported as a bug. Recently, the system has started to propose as correct a number of English contractions for "is", "has", "had" and "would", a number of which are irrelevant.

So, Northernguy is right, in this case, "would" was contracted, to express a habit in the past.

April 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

Contracting I would to I'd is rare in written form and looks strange or even wrong. But, it and other seemingly strange contractions are fairly common in spoken English. It's just that most people don't really hear them as such because they sound natural, almost like slurring a little.

Unless you are deliberately trying to reproduce the speech style of someone, I would say that it is incorrect to use those contractions in written form because they confuse the reader unnecessarily. On the other hand Duo has to consider how the language is spoken when dealing with translations. Tough choices for Duo, made all the more difficult by the need to assign resources appropriately.

Someone posted in the Duo discussion pages that some Duo examples already have thousands of permutations. I wouldn't be surprised if they are using programs to automate construction of some of those alternatives.

April 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

You would watch television.

March 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1750

It is not correct though it is intended as a transliteration of slurred speech. Someone thought it would be a good idea to contract words like is/has/had/would even when it is best not to do so. This "feature" is now firmly embedded in Duolingo's code and staff is loathe to remove it.

November 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MDP_81

I think this time Duolingo is right. Think of a situation where you'd ask someone "tu ragardais la télévision ?". You would not ask "you watched the TV?", would you? Therefore, i think that "You were watching TV ? is the right answer

August 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KaitteKat

I was told by a Quebec native French speaker that they use ecouter and not regarder to describe watching TV. Is this just a regional thing (ie ecouter in Quebec and regarder in France)?

December 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Tv being both audio and video, both are half-wrong anyway. However, in France, " nous regardons la télé".

December 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hudsoc370

Yes, I also found this in Nova Scotia among native French speakers there, that ecouter was the proper verb for "watching" TV.

January 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sr.luddie

why is "lookiing at television" wrong and "watching televison" correct?

September 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregHullender

You mean the TV was broken, so you were looking at it sadly?

September 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JayneWarner

Perhaps its because its more American based. but I would say looking at television rather than watching. It needs the option of both though.

January 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/map4ss

i don't understand why" you were looking at television" would not be accepted.

January 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

It would mean that you are looking at the TV set, not the show itself.

January 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1750

Yes the verb "regarder" may be either "to look at" or "to watch" and in the context of television, it is more idiomatic English to "watch" TV than to "look at" TV. So the dictionary will get you in the ballpark; now make it natural English. There may be regional variations for native English speakers.

March 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jealou5y

The suggestion I just got was "you'd watch television". You would? That is future, no?

April 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

'd can be the contraction of "had (watched)" (pluperfect) or "would (watch)" (conditional present).

But with the verb in its basic form "watch", it can only be "would".

"You would watch" television can have 2 interpretartions:

  • either a conditional: "you would watch television if you were at home"
  • or to express a habit in the past: "you would watch television everyday at 8pm."

In this section - "Past Imperfect" - "you would watch" is about a habit in the past.

Yet, the best translation for "tu regardais la télévision", with no other context is probably: "you were watching television"

April 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/onawa1821

Thanks for explaining how "you would watch" is a habit in the past. I had assumed that it was a conditional sentence and an incorrect translation. I also want to thank you for your patience in explaining the intricacies of our own language.

Dispite getting straight A's in English Grammar every year, I have to do a lot of extra studying in my own language to be able to understand how to translate it into another language.

Although I do look up a lot of things on my own, it is invaluable that I can just click on this link and read a very clear and precise explanation from somebody who understands this much more than I do.

Thank you sitesurf, and thanks to everyone else who is helping make this journey into learning a language so much easier.

August 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

I just put "You watched the television", which I still believe is correct despite being marked wrong. It corrected me to "You'd watch the television" which means "You would watch the television". A better correction (if you're going to use that form) would be "You'd watched the television" - "You had watched the television". I have seen your comment about reporting this to the developers.

January 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

When your translation has an error, the system suggests another translation that does not correct your error but seems to come 'out of the blue', as if randomly picked among the various acceptable translations we have listed there.

In any event, the best translation used a continuous past: "you were watching", and secondarily "you used to watch".

Note that whenever a French sentence has a dynamic/action verb in imperfect, the Best En translation will always be one of those two.

The reason is that a past simple would back translate to a "passé composé", which is not what the initial French sentence has and means.

January 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

Duo does not pick an acceptable translation out of the blue although it often seems like that. It tries to keep as many correct words as possible that you typed in, in the same order. It then tries to match the remaining words by the closest spelling, which often results in sentences that seem strange (sometimes even ungrammatical or unnatural) compared to what was originally entered. Duo's idea of what a close word is doesn't match ours because it's difficult to teach a computer about natural language. Duo's just following its rules which aren't (yet) perfect.

January 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

100% agreed! :-)

January 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshDursle

Is the present tense of regarder pronounced the same as what ever tense it is in this question? Is everything worked out through context?

August 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregHullender

No, I think they all four sound different:

Tu regardes
Vous regardez
Tu regardais
Vous regardiez

The first ends with the 'd'. The second with 'eh' like Extra. The third with 'ay' like day. The last with 'yay' like "yay we won!" Or, at least, I think that's close.

August 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

Whenever you have these kinds of questions you can try copying whatever words are puzzling you into the Google Translate box, click the speaker icon in the right hand lower corner and listen to the play back. Regardes and regardais sound very different. Regardais does sound closer to regarder but still a little different.

August 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

Google Translate pronounces regardais much differently. If this wasn't a lesson on imperfect, I would never have noticed that it was anything other than present.

Which is closer to common usage?

May 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregHullender

Do you think so? I hear a very clear difference between them. Tu regardes ends at the 'd' but tu regardais has an extra vowel at the end of it. The "eh" sound in "extra." Don't you hear it?

August 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

GregHullender

I do hear the difference. That is my point. However when I listened to Duo when I had examples to hand where Duo was using both of them, I didn't hear much difference between them as Duo said them.

August 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregHullender

Oh. I was patting myself on the back yesterday because I did hear the difference with Duo--and on the first listen, not on slow. Of course that's after doing these lessons dozens of times . . .

August 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

It is not a matter of common usage but a matter of when your story happens/happened.

May 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

But surely tu regardais and tu regardes are pronounced differently to some degree. Duo pronounces them almost the same.

May 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KellyKellyKD

I thought I understood the articles le, la, les and du, de la, des and then was given this sentence. Although Duo accepts You were watching the television. My understanding was, with the exception of the verbs aimer, adorer, etc., you cannot drop "the" in the English translation. And in most cases, would need to use du, de la, des.. It would seem in this sentence (with la télé) you were actually looking at the television set (not necessarily the television shows}. There was another example earlier "Il sentait le chocolat", that translates in English to: He was smelling the chocolate. But you may not translate to: He was smelling chocolate (chocolate in general, as opposed to smelling vanilla or caramel, etc). Would that be "Il sentait du chocolat (or de la vanille or du caramel" ? Thanks. Maybe I need to take a break!!

June 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf
  • Watch television (show) = regarder la télévision
  • Watch the television (set) = regarder le téléviseur / le poste de télévision

If the English sentence has "the", you keep it in French.

If the French sentence has "the" it will be either a generality (no article in English) or a specified noun ("the" is necessary).

"Il sentait le chocolat" can mean:

  • he was smelling the chocolate = he was in the process of using his smelling sense (his nose) on a specific chocolate
  • he smelt of chocolate = his own odor was that of chocolate
  • he smelt chocolate = there was an odor of chocolate in the room

"il sentait du chocolat" means "he was smelling some chocolate" = unspecific chocolate, which does not mean chocolate in general but "an undetermined quantity of a mass thing".

June 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KellyKellyKD

Thanks so much.. That's interesting because in the example that gave: "Il sentait le chocolate" to translate - I typed: "He smelled chocolate" and it was marked wrong. I know nothing is perfect, plus there are many nuances with languages, so I appreciate your time to explain!

June 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MargaretCromb

why not 'you were looking at the television'

November 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

Big Brother looks at you as walk down the street.

Big Brother watches you as you walk down the street.

The idea the Big Brother is watching you rather than just looking at you presents a different image.

November 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nils377765

What's the difference between "You'd " and "You did" ?

March 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1750

Using contractions with "did", "had", "would" cause considerable confusion and annoyance. If you want to be accurate, it's best to avoid them in writing.

March 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

There are very definite rules for contractions. Only one of "had" or "would" (and sometime "did") will be understood for any given " 'd ".

  • He'd like an ice cream - can only be "would"
  • He'd been sick - can only be "had"
  • I can't think of an example using "did", because "did" is usually stressed, and emphasised words can't be contracted
March 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1750

Of course, the problem is that when you program the computer to allow « 'd » for any of those, it cannot tell them apart. This is the same reason why, for a sentence like "il a une nouvelle voiture", Duo will, in a spirit of great diversity, accept "he's a new car". Some learners may be a little unsteady about the whole "is/has" thing and assume that the « 's » is a contraction of "is" and then become annoyed when Duo corrects them saying, not "he is" but "he's". I.e., the programmer is very good at programming, but not so good at grammar. Most English speakers see that « 's » as a contraction of "is". The "rule", if you can call it that, is that you may contract "has" when it is used as an auxiliary verb in a compound tense, but not when it the main verb meaning "possess". Because there are so many different ways that « 'd » and « 's » may be interpreted, it is best to avoid them here except when they are absolutely required (such as when showing possession). Out on the street, you can do what you want. We would like to assume that people taking the French-for-English speakers course have a solid understanding of English. Unfortunately, that is often not the case.

March 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

Sometimes it sounds really clunky and unnatural to not use a contraction! I do get mildly annoyed to constantly be told that "does not" is another translation of "doesn't". It is possible to program it to recognise each contraction by the following word, e.g. "has" will be followed by a past participle (although "He's exhausted" (adj) and "He's exhausted my patience" (pp) make it tricky!). I agree that the current limitations of the software are not helpful to English learners, but one shouldn't do this course if one is a complete beginner in English. Although there is a lot of discussion about different English variants which is appropriate, people shouldn't expect to be taught English here, that's what the English courses are for.

March 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

you'd = you had ...you'd already done that.

you'd = you would ....you'd have done that if you had the time.

March 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

I'm not aware of any English variant where "you'd" can mean "you did". The only options are as northernguy said.

The "h" in "had" is a weak sound and can easily be lost. "you had" -> "you 'ad" -> "you'd".

The "w" in "would" can be difficult to distinguish from the end of "you" (almost "youw"). "you would" -> "you-would" -> "you-oud" -> "you'd".

This process doesn't work with "did" as "d" is a strong sound and can't be confused with the end of "you".

March 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gaynor754493

I answered Did you watch television. Duolingo marked it wrong stating would you watch television?? Im very confused

June 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Have you read the Tips and Notes in the lesson?

The French imperfect can convey several situations for dynamic/action verbs:

  • tu regardais la télévision = this is what you were doing = you were watching television
  • tu regardais la télévision = that was a habit of yours = you used to watch television OR you would watch television (+ notion of past habit, like "every evening") OR you watched television (+ notion of habit, like "every evening").

"Did you watch television?" points to a past and complete action, that would use a passé composé in French = as-tu / avez-vous regardé la télévision ?"

June 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

But this phrase is a sentence, not a question. Unless it is accepting the inflection-only version. « Tu regardais la télévision ? »

"What would you do in the evenings when you lived overseas? Would you watch television?" Otherwise, by itself "Would you watch television?" is a strange question. "Well, I would if you paid me!"

June 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Exactly right, the sentence here is not a question anyway, but the thinking behind the use of past tenses, in French and in English is similar.

Besides, it's true that "would" is essentially conditional, but it can also be the past tense of "will" (re. "could", same pattern) and be used to express habits in the past, with a suitable context, of course. Not frequent, but grammatically correct, as far as I know...

June 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cameosis

the »correct« response is in fact incorrect. »you'd watch« ... lol

June 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

It is correct, with a suitable context: "in those days, you would watch television every evening"; which would mean the same thing as "... you used to watch television...".

June 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cameosis

except there is no context, so it is arbitrary, and thus incorrect. the »correct« response must be self-explanatory. otherwise, i could justify pretty much anything within a context that i picked to support a given point of view.

June 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

I don't really understand what your point is. This unit is meant to teach you the French Imperfect in its different applications. Its translation to a continuous past tense is one of them, the expression of a past habit is another one. The lack of context allows for various interpretations that are accepted by the system.

If you enter an incorrect answer, the system offers you alternatives and generally, the algorithm picks the phrasing that is the closest to your translation.

Since I don't know what you entered, I cannot be more specific.

June 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StephenDep

This one had nothing to do with regardais translating to watched it translated the tu into a you'd. How does regardais change tu into you would (you'd)?

August 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"tu regardais la télévision" can be understood either as an ongoing action at some point in the past = you were watching television, or as a habit/repeated action in the past, = you used to watch television OR you would watch television.

August 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

Imperfect second person singular in English....you would + verb.

English speakers routinely turn the imperfect into the past tense (and thereby drop the would) . French speakers routinely turn the past tense into the imperfect.

August 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lexer1

"you were watching tv" and "you would watch tv" were apparently alternative correct solutions. But the meanings are quite different surely? The first is talking of a specific occassion, and the second of a general tendency. Apologies if i have missed a similar comment

October 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

The French (aptly named) imperfect is difficult to grasp because it has several inherent meanings, which each require other elements of language when you translate any verb to English, especially if you use a past simple tense.

This is particularly true if you consider that the "stative/dynamic" distinction does not match in French either.

October 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

They are both correct. French tenses and English tenses don't correspond exactly. « regardais » is used for habitual or continuous action in the past. As such, both "You were watching TV" and "You would watch TV" work. We often qualify the second sentence for it to be less ambiguous in English: "When you got home from work, you would watch TV".

October 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bettyjwilson

When you tell me my answer, "you watched TV" is wrong and say the correct answer is, "you'd watch TV... I just don' believe that. It doesn't mean the same thing. Maybe...you would have watched TV, but you didn't pay the cable bill. I challenge this and think you have made a mistake or need to teach a meaningful lesson with a full explanation.

February 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"tu regardais la télévision" has another very common meaning: "you were watching TV".
In English, a past continuous may need other elements of language, like another one time event happening to interrupt the watching (... when your brother came in) , but in French, you don't need anything else to express a past and continuous action with an imperfect.

By the way, there are lots of explanations in the Tips and Notes and on every sentence discussion thread.

February 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

« regardais » is the 1st or 2nd person singular imparfait (imperfect). It expresses an action in the past that may or may not be complete, i.e. its completed status is unknown. "You watched TV" is the simple past. It correlates to the present perfect "You have watched TV", unless a lot of extra context is added to it. A perfect tense indicates that an action is completed.

"You'd watch TV" is the same as "You would watch TV". Without a conditional, it refers to a time in the past: "When you were a child, you would watch TV". We don't know if you've stopped watching TV, as an adult you could still do. This is why the imperfect is used.

Duolingo needs you to distinguish between "You would watch TV", "You had watched TV", "You have watched TV", etc. as they all correspond to different French tenses. If you use "You watched TV" for all of them, how does the software know you're thinking about the right tense? You could be mixing up imparfait with passé composé and it would incorrectly mark you right, which would be doing you, as a learner, a disservice.

February 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KamillaSig1

It's telling me to translate this as "You'd watch television" which I understand as "You would watch television" not "You did watch television" - but I am neither a native English nor French speaker

February 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJ.Dennis

It's a rarely used but correct form: "You would watch television". "Every day after school you would watch television". You could also say "You used to watch television".

It's not "You did watch television" because in this sentence "did" (the past tense of "to do") is being used for emphasis, so it can't be abbreviated. Using "did" also makes it present perfect (describing a completed action) and the French sentence is imparfait, indicating a continuous or habitual action in the past. "You were watching television".

February 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/reichdalmeida1

With normal speed it sound as: Je regardais (...)

June 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/contravert

I also put "You watched television" and I'm still not entirely clear after reading through this thread why that is wrong but I'll take it. My problem is that the suggested correct answer that came up was "You'd watch the television" which is a contraction for "You would watch the television". Not the same meaning at all as "You were watching television."

June 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Please read again, because explanations on the various interpretations of a French imperfect are given several times here.

June 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NoahS2003

This is not past conditional, why does it say the correct answer is "You'd watch the television"?

July 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

The conditional verbal form "you would watch" can express a past habit, like "you used to watch", and both are correct translations for a French imperfect.

July 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KingD-.-

I'm a native English Speaker but I'm confused as to what the past imperfect tense (this exercise) is. Could anyone explain? Also could this sentence be translated as 'You used to watch TV'?

August 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Please read the Tips&Notes in the lesson on the web version.

Yes, "you used to watch TV" is correct and accepted.

August 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sueenretraite

I used "you watched tv" as an answer, deemed wrong and was offered as correct "You'd watch tv" - I can't see how this can possibly be right. Surely "You'd" is a contraction of "you would"?

November 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_myr_

"Tu sentais le chocolat" = "You were smelling [the] chocolate", "You would smell [the] chocolate", "You used to smell [the] chocolate". "You smelled [the] chocolate" = "Tu as senti le chocolate".

November 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/femfel

Instead of proving a point, show a clear answere what is the difference!

November 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DesVosges

I put "you watched television". Why is this wrong? The answer I got was "You'd watch television" which isn't correct English. ?? Deciding whether were watching is correct c/w watched would need more context wouldn't. For example how to translate "When I was young, I watched a lot of television". This seems to be imparfait not passe composé

December 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

For lack of other temporal details, like "when I was young", the English past simple expresses a past, one-time and complete action.

This meaning translates to the French passé composé: "we watched television = nous avons regardé la télévision.

If you add other elements like "when I was young", you make it explicit that the action was habitual or repeated.

This meaning translates to the French imparfait: "nous regardions la télévision".

If you add some other elements like "when the phone rang" (one-time event in past simple), you make it explicit that an action was in progress at the time another event occurred: "we were watching television" = nous regardions la télévision.

Now, you have understood that the French imperfect naturally expresses:

  • either past, repeated events and habits
  • or past, on-going events.

To back translate "nous regardions la télévision" to English without adding anything to the sentence, you should use:

  • for a habit/repeated action: we used to watch television
  • for an on-going action: we were watching television.

Also note that "when I was young, I would watch television a lot" is also correct to express a past habit.

December 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MariaIramendy

I agree with garHu and GregHullender. You watched television. I don't understand why it was not accepted.

December 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

You will if you read the multiple explanations already given.

December 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SWilliamsJD

Why is the slower audio not working? It has not worked for weeks and reporting the issue is like whistling in the wind.

December 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Which platform are you using (iOS or Android smartphone, tablet, PC)? Was it the male or female voice? Did you see the turtle and it did not work or wasn't there a turtle at all?

December 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndreyKatz

First: you watched TV must be perfectly acceptable. It has exactly the same meaning. The English speaker do not always use past continuous wherever French speakers use imparfait. It is not a good mapping. But what is really horrible, is that the computer offers me as a translation "You'd watch the TV.". Sorry, this is simply not English.

April 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

You are learning the various meanings of the French imperfect.

The sentence "tu regardais la télévision" can have 2 of these meanings:

  • a repeated action: you used to watch television.
  • an on-going action: you were watching television.

With other elements of language, "you watched television" can get these meanings:

  • usually, at 10pm, you watched television
  • the phone rang while you were watching television.

Without these elements of context, "you watched television" by itself refers to a one-time, past and complete action, which translates to "tu as regardé la télévision", in compound past.

Duolingo expects that your translations demonstrate your full understanding of the French sentences, not what you usually say.

By the way, the translation Duolingo suggested "You'd watch" is the result of an old (and not fixed yet) flaw in the algorithm, which allows and suggests "'d" as the contraction of "had" and "would" altogether, whichever the sentence. In this case, the suggestion should read "you would watch television" which is a correct interpretation of the French imperfect, describing a past habit.

April 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/carolsmith17484

Can one of you erudite gentlemen please explain to me the difference between " You were watching the television" ( my answer marked wrong) and duo's answer " You'd watched the television" (Duo's correction) . "You'd" is short for "you would" isn't it? i.e. "you would have watched the television". Was this really the answer Duo wanted?

June 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

This 'd is the contraction of "would". "Would" can be used to express a past habit or repeated event; however, there are usually other elements of context:

  • In the old days, you would watch television = you used to watched television = tu regardais/vous regardiez la télévision
June 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lisaskier

"You'd watch the TV" is the answer Duo gave me.

How is that different to "You watched the TV" ?

The difference is too subtle for me to see.

August 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelLas800273

My TV broke down The engineer was looking at it prior to effecting repair How do I say in French " He was looking at it "? Il regardait la television? -or what -? I was not paying him to watch it !

December 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

I would say "il regardait le téléviseur" (TV set).

December 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MariaIramendy

I don't understand why you watched tv is not acceoted. Help pls

December 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

With no other elements of language pointing to a habit or on-going process, the past simple "watched" expresses a one-time, past and complete action and it is the translation to/from "tu as regardé" in PC.

Only if you add something like "every day", can "watched" express a repeated event and correctly translate a French imperfect tense.

December 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gianfranco456721

My sentence was correct

January 11, 2019
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