1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Il est au travail en ce mome…

"Il est au travail en ce moment."

Translation:He is at work at the moment.

March 25, 2013

50 Comments


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

Apparently "He is at work at present" doesn't cut the mustard.


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

I think 'he is working at present' is correct - which is pretty close to your answer...

Neither 'correct solution' is an idiomatic English phrase. In English one would say: "he is working at present."

One would never say: 'presently'.

Nor would one say: 'momentarily'. And 'at the moment' is possible only in a very narrow range of contexts.


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

I am a native speaker of English who has lived in New Orleans and London, and currently live in San Diego. I would use 'presently' and 'momentarily' without hesitation.


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

"Presently", ought to work; "momentarily", not too sure. The latter means "briefly"; or "in a bit/pretty soon". So the sense "he is at work momentarily" would convey is that he is at work but only for a short while.

"He is presently at work", on the other hand, does mean "he is at work at this moment" and would, indeed, be a correct translation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Inked.Bookworm

In this context, presently would work but momentarily would not. Momentarily is used to mean "very soon" or "any second now" as in "he will be at work momentarily" - it refers to the very near future rather than the present.


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

Just wanted to add that "momentarily" does also mean "for a short time", as in "She was distracted momentarily when she noticed him in the audience, but managed to cover it up well by weaving the awkward pause into her act."

Anyway, that is another reason it would not work here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larry844459

I agree that "presently" or "at the moment" are correct and certainly in a formal setting they are appropriate. It is more natural (that is, less stiff) to say, "He's at work right now."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joel-Iowan

if they would've placed 'dans' or 'à' instead of 'en' i wouldve translated it the same way, 'He is at work at the moment'. However, if I was given the english sentence to put it in french, I would have no idea what would go there... Any tips? :(


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

I assume you have to learn and memorize that "en ce moment" is the way the French say it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xuyang1233321

I notice that you put"en ce moment" and "a ce moment-la" so is "a ce moment"also correct?


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

"en ce moment" means "at the present time" while "à ce moment-là" means "at that very time".

"à ce moment" would not really mean one or the other (consider it as incorrect).


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

Why 'au' and not just 'a'? (with the accent, bien entendu).


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

remember that "au" is the contraction of "à-le", which tells you that an article is needed after "à"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/li.sa

So "dans ce moment" would be incorrect?


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

yes, only "en ce moment"


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

Perhaps another situation where http://french.about.com/library/prepositions/bl_prep_en_vs_dans.htm may give a little hint, if not exact reference to this situation.


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

I said "he is working at this moment" and was marked correct. Does it sound right to say that?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Muzorewi1984

I wrote "he is at work at that moment" and it was marked wrong. I wasn't aware that "ce" could be translated as "the". Or am i being a pillock here?

And how would you translate "he is at work at that moment"?


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

"that" would better work with a past verb:

"he was at work at that moment" = il était au travail à ce moment-là


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Muzorewi1984

I see what you're saying. But I was thinking of a historic present context. Eg if I was explaining a novel [or a film etc] to a friend and I said "It's about a man whose wife is murdered at his home and he doesn't know about it". And my friend says "Why doesn't he know about it?" And I reply "he is at work at that moment [in the story]"

I thought French used historic present in a similar way, but I could be wrong. I wouldn't dare try to translate the above, anyhow!


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

Yes, historic present does exist and I have noticed in Translations on Duolingo that English speakers tend to systematically translate it in past tenses... However, in the particular perspective you propose, you could say (in real life, not on Duolingo): "il est au travail à ce moment-là".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Muzorewi1984

Yes, that makes sense, thanks.


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

Sitesurf, I wrote "He is at the job at this moment" and was marked wrong. Pourquoi?


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

Nous n'y avions pas pensé ! Je l'ajoute (We had not thought of it! je l'ajoute). Merci.

Edit: We had not thought of it! I add it)


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

Sitesurf, you do make me smile. :c)

I am so used to how you so kindly translate what you write in French to English so people like me can continue to learn. So I couldn't help smiling when I noticed you forgot to translate "je l'ajoute" when you translated "nous n'y avions pas pensé". I figured it out all right ("I add it") but it did give me a chuckle because such a slip was bound to happen. The way you so effortlessly switch between the two languages without losing your grounding I am surprised you don't mix the languages up more often!

Thanks for adding it. :c)


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

Actually, I have started to do that silly mix quite often... Forgive me please!


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

Hey, it just means you're human. I am not very comfortable around gods so I don't mind you slipping once in a while. :c)


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

I believe "He is on the job at present." Should be accepted. I associate this usage more with jobs like construction or where there is an external job site. But it can be used more generally. It was also used on NYPD Blue to mean on duty as a police officer.

I am native speaker of English who has lived in New Orleans, London, and San Diego.


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

I translated it as:`He is at work at this time and was marked wrong. Well, le moment can be translated as time!


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

I wrote He is at work in this moment and it was wrong. My English is in trouble.


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

Translating prepositions is hard because they are not consistently used from one language to the next.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/heidid91

Apparently, "he is at his job" is not equivalent to "he is at work". Argh.


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

Il est au travail en cet moment. pourquoi pas????!!!!!


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

You only use cet if the next word is masculine and starts with a vowel.

ce moment

cet animal


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gundumphier_91

he is actually at work?


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

"actually" does not mean "actuellement"

actually = in fact, in reality

actuellement = now, at this time, currently


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/laurendaven93

Could the statement also be constructed as "Il est au travail au ce moment" ?


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

No, because "au" is the contraction of "à+le" so you cannot add "ce" to "au".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jayman2505

Why can't this be "It is at work at the moment." The solution says it must be "he". How do you you say it as in some object (my phone for instance) is at work at the moment?


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

For objects, we won't use "au travail". "En fonctionnement" or "en service" or "en marche" can work for machines of various sorts.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Francisco488526

At work = at the office


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

Not necessarily. Construction workers, road sweepers, truck drivers, minors, pilots are never "at the office" when they are "at work". So you cannot translate au travail to "at the office" when it is so inaccurate a translation and excludes so many professions by assuming only office jobs are considered "work".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShaKeem026

Im curious on how "He is on the job at the moment" didn't work. Can someone help?


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

"On the job" is a phrase that means "working". So you basically just said "he is working" which is very different from "he is at work". If you were to back translate your proposal you would get il travail en ce moment.


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

And this would be a perfect occasion to say "il est en train de travailler en ce moment".


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

en, dans, a , au ....I guess I will say whatever comes to mind if I ever go to France and let them interpret or correct me. No way to learn all these nuances .


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

With that negative attitude that you will never learn, you are probably right. All I know is where there is a will, there is a way. Just as you mastered your first language, or other people are fluent in several languages, French can be mastered too. Initially you may just have to commit to memory phrases you encounter and accept that they are just that way. But in time, you will come to get a feel for what is right. Don't quit at the start of the journey.

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.