Duolingo accepted the translation of "In a long time, surely" but offered the alternate translation of "probably." Is "sûrement" a word that conveys probability more than certainty? Is there another word that more adequately conveys certainty?
I won't speak about rules, but only my personnal use of the language. "Sûrement" and "Sans doute" (which litteraly translates into "Without a doubt") should carry a huge amount of certainty. BUT, generally, it is really common to say such words to express the uncertainty, like "Is he coming?" "Oui, sans doute" but in fact, there is a doubt. All I can advise you is to respect that Sûrement is stronger than Probablement (probably).
Hope it helps.
Just like how we say, "Surely he is coming." But it means we expect him to be coming but worry he may not be.
sans doute does not have a high degree of certainty in its present usage, if you want certainty you say sans aucun doute
Makes sense, but this still seems like an overly confusing translation on DL's part.
It's easy to blame DL when there are so many mistakes. But this is not one of them. The primary definition of "sûrement" is "most probably". When we look at the French word, we want its meaning to be what we think it must mean, but in fact, we ascribe a meaning that it doesn't have. Then we start playing with synonyms in English for the word we (mistakenly) associate with it. The whole range of words: surely, certainly, and even doubtless often don't convey anything like certainty.
As a former native English teacher, I cannot envisage a way in which the sentence: "In a long time, surely!" could possibly used in English.
We would normally say "A long time ago, surely!" or "Long ago, surely!" ... both of which were suggested by DL as possible valid translations.
I wrote "A long time ago, surely!" but was marked WRONG.
I was thinking the same thing - went with "For a long time" which was marked wrong. "Not in a long time, surely!" would maybe be a better example.
But the sense of the French sentence here is something that won't be happening for a long time in the future, I think. Not sure how best to put it in English but I think the recommended answer "In a long time" is meant to mean "[That's not going to happen] for a long time [yet], surely!". You can't reduce the English sentence in exactly the same way as the French sentence has been reduced, though; if you had to give an equally short sentence in natural English it would probably be "A long way away, surely!"
I could envisage "[That's] a long way away, surely/to be sure!" coming after a discussion of some future hypothetical, say for example after a whole paragraph detailing a world with no war, inequality or hunger. Or something like "That's a long way off, of course."
OK - in that case we would say in English "Not for a long time" or "A long time from now" or, as you suggest, "A long way off" (but that's tricky because it has to be understood temporally rather than spatially.)
Figuring this was the intended meaning, I wrote "after a long time" which is a more natural construction in English; it was not accepted.
To my not so educated ear/tongue that expression above means "it will happen,if you wait it long . (correct my english,pls,... hope you see my idea) ...Will Orca come to this bay? Or has it ever come here?- dans longtemps,sûrement. Am i right?
"In a while" could be 20 minutes or it could be a year; it all depends on context. Longtemps is specifically a "long time".
I don't understand the English translation (I'm native English). What does this actually mean?
Yes. Most probably is closer to certainty than probably and in the long run we're running out of time. It makes sense!
"In a long time"? Ce possiblement magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Anglais
Wondering whether "Eventually, certainly" shouldn't be accepted; it wasn't for me.
Duolingo did not provide the correct choices here. In no French/English dictionary is their a connotation of possibility only that of certainty. Duolingo needs to fix this immediately.
Don't be too hasty. The primary definition of "sûrement" is "most probably" according to the Oxford French Dictionary, a resource which I trust. I.e., even though it looks like it would be "surely" and we want to make that mean "absolutely", it does not mean that at all. It means "most probably".
What is the proper way to pronounce "sûr" and "sûrement"? Because I have NEVER gotten the speech part of anything containing those words correct.
We seriously need to find out what 'Dans lontemps' actually means :) Curious to hear an example of its usage in real life.
"A long time from now" would be a better English translation. "In [or "For"] a long time" most often refers to something that has not happened since a long time ago in the past, and so, using those words to refer to something that may happen in the future creates ambiguity.