Translation:I came to tell you that I am going away.
verb "aller" is never used as a stand alone. Either you mention the place were you are going to, or you use a pronoun.
- j'y vais = I am going there (some place)
- je m'en vais = I am leaving.
Sitesurf, I am so grateful for your insightful and helpful comments. They have helped me with my understanding of French immeasurably. Thanks for being such a great member of the Duolingo community!
Then why was '......I am going there.' unacceptable? How can we know what 'en' means in any particular case?
Verb "aller" is versatile and used in a number of situations with adjuncts that make it have different meanings:
- I am going there = je vais là / je vais là-bas / j'y vais
- je m'en vais = I am going away / I quit / I am leaving
So how do you know that "en" is away? Couldn't "en" be there. Although I suppose that would be "la" - with an accent grave. Is it just implied that en is away? Could it be that I am going out?
the phrase "s'en aller" is idiomatic; it means "to go away", "to leave"
"y aller" means "to go there/someplace"
The way I've been taught is that "en" is a sort of contraction of "de" and a noun. So if "tu t'en vais", you are going "from something" as opposed to "to something" (y = a + place). Hence, leaving where you are at the moment.
tu t'en vas = you are leaving a place (de + place)
tu y vas = you are going to a place (à + place)
J'ai essayé de les utiliser. Maintenant, je pourrai comprendre beaucoup mieux.
thank you very much. j'ai été essayer les utiliser. Maintenant, je pourrais le comprendre beaucoup de mieux! Merci!
I found an explanation for this on another thread:
This is not the verb "aller" (to go) but rather "s'en aller", which means to go away / to leave
Here is a website that might help: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/objectpronouns.htm
The English would more naturally be "...that I am/I'm going away", unless a qualification is specified, "...that I go away/leave in the morning". Even then the "am going" form would be OK.
I agree! Just like aller doesn't stand along 'to go' doesn't usually either when in the 'I go' form. "...that I'm going away" would be much more common in this case and I think "...that I go away" would be considered incorrect by most native speakers.
It accepted "I came to tell you that I am going" so Duo agrees with you. This seems more natural to me than "... that I go away."
This phrase reminded me of a passage in St John's Gospel (14.28) "You have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you"- 1611 translation. "Vous avez entendu que je vous ai dit: je m'en vais, et je reviens vers vous" -Trad French. "You heard me say to you, "I am leaving, but I will comeback to you".- 1976 translation. ".....dit,"je m'en vais, mais je reviendrai vers vous."- 1971 Fr. I don't know what Fr translations were published in the 17th century.
The reason for the simple present in that quote, as far as I can tell, is that it's habitual. "(Whenever) I go away, I come back." . So yes, "I came to tell you that I leave" could mean "just to level with you, I'm the kind of commitment-phobe who is habitually leaving with no warning." But it doesn't work as a way of informing someone that you are leaving in the present moment or near future, as the present continuous would.
Mick Harvey translated it as I have come to tell you I'm going for the title of his english cover of the Gainsbourg song and then translated it more freely in the actual song as I have come to tell you it's goodbye.
While the latter is perhaps too free a translation for our purposes here I think the former is a better and more natural translation than the one duolingo is currently showing.
What I don't understand is that in "I have come to tell you I'm going", the number of syllables is not right (should be 10)
It's the second translation that he uses in the song; the first he just uses as a more literal translation of the title. But you're right, to match the rhythm of the song made for the original french it needs ten syllables and I left out a word above. It's actually I have come to tell you that it's goodbye.
I think it's a good cover and worth a listen, but I'm wary of inserting youtube links into general discussion on duolingo. So I'll put the link in your personal stream.
I am not French nor English, but isn't this some sort of a line from an old song?