1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "They had quite a lot of thin…

"They had quite a lot of things to say."

Translation:Ils avaient pas mal de choses à dire.

April 1, 2013



"Ils ont eu assez beaucoup de choses à dire" - Why isn't this accepted?


"quite a lot" does not translate directly.

In reality that just means "many", with a bit of understatement...

In French: "pas mal de..." (with understatement) or "plein de..." (familiar, usual = plenty of)


"pas mal de choses"?? you got to be kidding me... "pas mal" in most of cases means "not bad" and it's rarely uses in sentences, usually alone - "comment ça va? - Pas mal". Maybe it could has a meaning "quite a good" but never "quite a lot"....


It is a fixed phrase: "pas mal de..." means "quite a lot of..." and "pas grand chose" means "not much"


really? huh, i didn't know that, thanks. But now, i'm confused even more!) i always thought that "mal" means "bad" en English, for example "mal chose = bad thing, mal chance = bad luck etc". It seems a little bit strange that "pas mal" means "not bad" (at least in my native language) but "pas mal de" means "quite a lot of". Anyway, thanks again for info, i'll remember it.) As they say in our country - "live and learn"... have a nice day!


"Ils avaient beaucoup de choses à dire" is OK too.


Yes it is correct indeed, although the understatement I mentioned before does not show here.


With auxiliary "avoir" the past participle is invariable except if the direct object is placed before the verb:

  • "les enfants que nous avons eus": "enfants" is the direct object (through "que") and placed before the verb, so "eus" is masculine plural.

  • "ils ont eu des choses à dire": "choses" is the direct object and placed after the verb, so "eu" remains invariable.


Wow, thanks a lot. I hope at some point I know all these rules...


What exactly does 'eu' say? It's the first time I've seen it in a sentence. Can anyone explain?


Eu is past participle of avoir used in the simple past tense, this is the imperfect tense section


"Eu" is past participle of avoir used in the compound past/passé composé.

Simple past would be "ils/elles eurent pas mal de choses à dire"


whoops, I mean to say composed past tense (passé composé) and its derivatives... thanks


ils avaient assez beaucoup de choses à dire...is the "assez" unnecessary, even though "beaucoup de" means "a lot of". Am I supposed to just ignore the "quite" here?


What about "Ils avaient assez de choses à dire"?

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