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  5. "Le gâteau est très fin."

"Le gâteau est très fin."

Translation:The cake is very fine.

April 5, 2013


  • 1179

how to tell whether 'fin' used as 'thin' or 'fine'?


"Fin" rarely means "fine". Most of the time it means thin. I know there's an expression in english with "a fine line" if I'm correct, but in most cases, "thin" is the better choice.


I am not sure I totally agree with you. "le gâteau est très fin" can refer to its refined taste or quality.

If it were "very thin", it would probably not be called a "gâteau" anyway (une galette ? un biscuit ?), but it is another story...


Yes of course. But I did not mention that since the use of this sentence is quite rare (depending what type of food you're eating). The aim of my answer was more to discriminate what Fidaaf asked : do we use "fine" for "thin" or "fine". When we talk about "Fine wine" I think "raffiné" could be an appropriate translation.

Then again, although I do agree that cakes are rarely "thin" per se, I've seen stranger sentences on duolingo ...


so the real questions is... if you translate this as "the cake is very fine"... should it be accepted because it wasnt for me.


I still believe that it is worth a report, because "thin" and "fine" should be accepted in my opinion.


I also think that "refined" should be accepted.


It accepted that answer from me. However, I don't understand the meaning


In the translation to English, can we say "The cake is very fine" as opposed to a "thick slice" of cake?


The normal way to express this would be 'thin slice'. This sentence doesn't sound very natural, but to me implies either texture (not gritty) or possibly quality ('a fine cake' = 'a good cake', but 'fine' in that sense can't generally be qualified with 'very').


Ok, thanks


I am trying to visualize a thin gâteau, I have no idea how that concept would work! So, 'fine quality' does seem to fit this better. Please note Duo that in the UK we are quite likely to use the circumflex, with our crêpes, gâteau etc.

  • 2029

The expression "très fin" is used to remark that something is of very good quality, i.e., top-quality, excellent quality, very fine (quality). It can also refer to the fineness of the ingredients but as an expression "xxxx est très fin" means that the item is of very good quality.


Perhaps "fine" is meant as in a fine wire, which is also a thin wire


Could a native French speaker comment on the Duobot's pronounciation of "in"? I've never heard it pronounced this way, and when I look for online examples (like on forvo) the only kind of French I hear pronounce "in" this way is Swiss French. This is always the Duobot's "in": in "lapin", "fin", "destin", etc. Have I led a sheltered French-accent-life? :)


I'm frequently finding this as well. I'm expecting french "..in" to be pronounced something like a nasalised version of the english word "an". Instead, the Duobot seems to make very little distinction between "..in" and "...on". Consequently a word like "fin" sounds like "fon". Any native French speakers care to comment?


There are 4 nasal sounds in French: un, in, on, an/en/em.

Each of them has a specific sound that you need to get accustomed to.

Try something like "lundi matin, longtemps" on forvo.com or acapela-group or even Google translate and try to hear all of them separately.


Great example! By the way, if you put a period after each word then Google gives a slight pause between each. Now if I can only work out the rrrrr sound. ;)


Thanks, Sitesurf, I was hoping you'd weigh in!

I just tried this, and Google and Forvo still have the "in" in "matin" or "fin" as I would expect it. It is different from the Duobot voice. Do they all sound the same to you? What am I missing?


I don't think it's you. I think the robot has a speech impediment. :)

I hope that Duolingo is paying Sitesurf in something more than Lingots too.


You are paying me with lingots (that I don't use) and nice messages, and I am paying myself with satisfaction of being helpful...


In some varieties of French "in" does indeed get pronounced similar to "an" and "en" gets pronounced similar to what you are expecting for "in". Also, some varieties will pronounce the vowels at end of words that are normally considered mute, adding a syllable and making it sound more like other European languages.


Yeah that's what I put. "Delicate" or "light" is what I'd say for a "fine" cake.


That makes more sense than fine. Will Duolingo accept "delicate"?


Yes, "delicate" is accepted to translate "très fin".


in English, "very" and "really" can mean the same thing so I think "the cake is really thin/fine" should also be accepted.


In French "très" and "vraiment" are close as well. But if Duolingo uses "very", you have to translate to "très" and "really" to "vraiment"


Is "tellement" accepted by Duolingo?


No, because "tellement fin" is the translation for "so fine".


Seems oxymoronic to say a cake is thin, if anything, it is likely to cause one to be fat (lol). I agree with Sitesurf that une galette is more apt.

  • 2029

Remember that "très fin" is an expression used to say that something is of top quality.


Now, I understand that it could mean the quality of the cake, thanks.

however, why did it mark me wrong on 'the biscuit is very thin'...well thinking about it now, that may not be grammatically correct in English though....


Nothing wrong with the grammar, simply that a cake can never be a biscuit (and vice versa).


Well, Duolingo says gateau can be referred to as biscuit? Gone through the comments and have a better understanding. Thanks


Aye, going to say Duolingo is wrong on this one, to be honest. Cannot think of any situation where that would be correct. US biscuit is "petit pain" and the rest of the world is "biscuit", from French itself.


fin as an adjective following the noun can also mean fine or high quality Larousse dictionary gives the example of haricots verts fins meaning high quality green beans

  • 2029

Yes, I think we are all jumping on the idea that the cake is "thin". But "très fin" means that it is of very good quality, especially when used in this context.


won't the usual phrase for the cake is very thin be le gateau est tres mince? (Forgive the( lack )of accents)

  • 2029

Yes, "mince" would mean it is "thin".


How do you know whether it is fin, fins, fine, or fines?

  • le gâteau est fin - masculine singular
  • la tarte est fine - feminine singular
  • les gâteaux sont fins - masculine plural
  • les tartes sont fines - feminine plural


could fin also be used for thin people or animals?

  • 1332

"The cake is very thin" was the required translation on the mobile app for me just now. Thank heavens for all of your comments or I would never have understood what the heck Duo was trying to say! You are all tres fin and I thank you.


Not an English native, but Duo's translation "The cake is very fine" doesn't sound very idiomatic to me. I would say a better translation would be "It's a very fine cake", but it was marked wrong. Can any English native speaker confirm this? Thanks!


I think thin, high quality cake whatever that is since cake can be cake...I would say that coffee however could deserve this discussion more than cake...but maybe it has its own range of ways to elevate the cost? Belgium chocolate tho that I tasted once was ground (conched) fine and smooth and it was really amazing. There is more to that than conching. But sourcing matters more to me. I think the discussion of "fine" goes along these lines. Whatever makes people want the brand and to find out where to buy more. As for cakes, I really do not know other than butter makes it better and more fattening.


We would never say something is " very fine" in English unless we meant it was very thin and delicate.


This may be on purpose, but who says "very fine" in everyday speech?

  • 36

The voice seems to cut out in the end around fin, which makes it harder to understand. Is that intentional?


That is not how you pronounce "fin" IMO


This is the first time I have seen the word "fin". The definitions given were "thin" or "top-quality", so I answered "The cake is very top-quality." My answer was not accepted, and the correct answer--The cake is very refined--used a definition that was not listed. How am I supposed to know that refined is a definition if it is not listed.


Double layer it then.


why can't I say top-notch? is it considered to be a slang?


When would I ever say "the cake is very fine"? - I struggle to find a moment and I bake a lot of cakes. "A fine cake" perhaps.


Fine or not ,very fine sounds "very unright"


In this context, tres fin means more "very delicious" than " very thin" !


How does she pronounce FIN? it sounds like fa.


What is mance? I dont know if I spelled it right for thin.


What is the difference? Couple sentences ago i had a 'mince crepe'. Vocabulary says 'mince' is actually 'slim' which does not fit crepe too well. When to use mince and when fin?


"une crêpe mince" is almost redundant since crêpes always are.

Anyway, the adjective "fin, fine, fins, fines" has several meanings:

  • to describe concrete things (fabric, paper, cover...) = thin, slim

  • to describe people's silhouette/figure = slim, thin, slender

  • to describe food taste = sophisticated, refined, subtle...

  • figuratively (thoughts, thinking, sense of humor...) = subtle, smart, clever, sharp, bright...


Thank you. When does the 'mince' come in then?


With concrete things, "fin" and "mince" can easily be interchangeable:

  • un papier mince/fin, un tissu mince/fin, une couverture mince/fine, une couche mince/fine, une pellicule mince/fine...

"un gâteau mince" is not a usual description, because "un gâteau" necessarily has some volume, but if you make "une tarte" (a flat pie), you can describe its dough as "mince/fine".

In my opinion, "ce gâteau est très fin" should be primarily understood as having a refined/subtle/exquisite/delicious taste, unless context says otherwise.

Still, if a cake were to be described as thin/slim, I would say "ce gâteau est très mince" to avoid any ambiguity with the double meaning of "fin".


Don't understand, if its not thin, slim or clever why give those definitions? Is it then "sweet"?


When you hover on a word, the translations you see are the list of all possible meanings recorded in Duo's system. What you are proposed is not sentence specific.

"fin" may mean smart, fine, clever, thin, sophisticated, delicious and a number of other things, depending on context.

there is even an ambiguity in this sentence since we still don't know if the meaning of the French "fin" is about the thickness of the cake or about the refinement of its taste.


" fines herbes " translates as " Sweet " herbs . Sweet cake makes more sense than thin cake .


you cannot extrapolate "fines herbes" to a cake. Un gâteau fin is "raffiné" (fine), with a subtle taste, of course sweet, but that is not the point.

Or "fin" means "flat" which would not translate in "fin" in french anyway because of the above. For a thin, flat cake, the French would be "mince", I think.


I know there's the French equivalent "délicieux", but I was wondering if it would be still sensible to translate it as "a delicious cake", since you also mentioned "a subtle taste". It's not a literal translation, but it must be much closer to the idea than, well, "a thin cake". Unless the "taste" refers to style (or craftsmanship) rather than tasting? Maybe I'm just confused by my own mother tongue, because we have a word that originates from "fin" and it means both fine (as smooth/refined) and delicious.

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