Sitesurf, is "d'ici quatre heures" ambiguous as to whether it means "by four o'clock" or "within four hours", and is it possible to disambiguate with "d'ici à quatre heures" for the o'clock time?
For the duration, we say "d'ici quatre heures" (without "à"), or change it to "dans un délai de quatre heures". If there's any risk clock time be mistaken for a duration, we can stress the "à" or we can say "d'ici à quatre heures du matin/de l'après-midi".
Thanks Sitesurf. To clarify further, without "à", can it technically only refer to duration, or can it also properly be used to refer to the clock time?
(I would have assumed the former, but I noticed it suggested elsewhere that it could have either meaning, so I've come to the trusted expert.)
Sometimes, I need to be careful with the way some of my compatriots speak our language. I wish I could tell you "à" is needed to announce clock time, but I know some don't bother. So the bad news is that you can expect a degree of ambiguity and should be prepared to ask "dans les quatre prochaines heures ?" or "du matin ou de l'après-midi ?" or similar clarification.
Yup, I know. Just wanted to check that it was similar to "en 4 heures" and "à 4 heures d'ici" (is this last one correct? à?)
Mods cannot change lingots into anything concrete (gold or chocolate...), unfortunately.
But any sign that learners appreciate our work is most welcome! ;-)
- vous y serez en quatre heures = it will take you four hours to get there
- vous y serez d'ici quatre heures = you will be there within four hours
- vous y serez dans quatre heures = you will be there in four hours
- Marseille est à quatre heures d'ici/de Paris en TGV = Marseilles is 4 hours from here/Paris in high speed train
Wonderful recap, thanks! I'm not sure if moderators have any benefits from lingots, but I have no other means to express my gratitude. :)
As I learned French time, "quatre heures" would only be 4 a.m. and never 4 p.m. The latter would be "seize heures" or "quatre heures de l'après-midi".
We use the 12-hour system whenever it is obvious. So we actually say "4 heures" to mean 4pm if there is no risk of misunderstanding.
I entered "You will be there at four o'clock." which was also accepted.
In this case, is it required to use "y", or would "Vous serez là" be acceptable as well?
Can one say "Vous serez là à quatre heures." or would that be incorrect?
"Vous serez là à quatre heures" means "you will be here at 4 o'clock".
To mean "there", you either use "vous y serez" or "vous serez là-bas".
Aha, that makes sense, so if I wanted to say "You will be there for four hours.", I could say "Vous serez là-bas pendant quatre heures." or " Vous y serez pendant quatre heures."?
"Vous y serez / Vous serez là-bas pour quatre heures", is ambiguous because it can mean "by 4 o'clock" or "during a period of four hours".
Considering the meaning of "for four hours" as "during a period of time of four hours", you may have to change the verb to: "Vous y resterez/Vous resterez là-bas pendant quatre heures".
I see, the defect in what I wanted to say was in the original English statement "You will be there for four hours." when I meant "You will stay there for four hours.", Thank you Sitesurf, you are an angel--even if you cover your face!
would not accept 4 - when we talk of time we always use the number and also it is not obvious that it is 4 PM - much of Europe uses the 24 hr clock