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  5. "But orders are orders."

"But orders are orders."

Translation:Mais les ordres sont les ordres.

April 6, 2013



Why not "des ordres"? The English sentence given is "but orders are orders" not "but the orders and the orders"


"Des ordres sont des ordres" would be "some orders are orders".

The intention of the sentence is that generally orders are orders - all orders not just some.

In such a case when "all" is implied the English sentence leaves out the article. However we can't leave out the article in French.

Depending on the context "les ordres" can mean the specific orders given this morning or it can mean orders in general - all orders.


I wrote "Mais les ordres sont des ordres," extending the grammatical sense of Duo's other sentence "Les garçons restent des garçons" to this one. Any reason this shouldn't work here?


I did the exactly the same thing. I hope someone enlightens us.


rester is an intransitive verb. An intransitive verb has two characteristics. First, it is an action verb, expressing a doable activity like arrive, go, lie, sneeze, sit, die, stay, remember, etc. Second, it will not have a direct object receiving the action. So typically the structure will be:

rester + preposition + phrase


la voiture est restée au garage

il rest dans le même quartier que nous

rester à lire jusque trad dans la nuit

Now back to the sentence les garçons restent des garçons. Here des is probably a contraction of de + les and the actual phrase is idiomatic


As PatrickJaye notes, "les ordres" could refer to orders in general or the specific orders we happen to be referring to.

However, the question remains, as "des ordres sont des ordres" is apparently the simple plural of "un ordre est un ordre", and need not imply "some" per se.

On that note, here's a discussion (where Sitesurf provides input) of "happy employees are good employees", which works with either les/des or des/des:

And here's a discussion of "boys will be boys", for which the only pattern currently accepted by Duo is les/des, even though it's arguably similar to "orders are orders" and it's hardly clear why les/les wouldn't work:

As you can see by all of that, there are different ways to think of these sorts sentences that might allow either article in either position, though nuances might make some combinations unlikely.

Apart from where such nuances might be specifically at play, it could be that some ways of saying these things just sound more natural to French speakers as a result of habit. Or it could be that not all of the possible options have been considered by the course contributors.


I have the same question


Me five. C'est ridicule.


Mais, des ordres sont des ordres. Accepted july 2017


That defense didn't work at Nuremberg. Be careful...


I put, 'des ordres sont les ordres' as in, 'some orders we have are orders in general' - is this correct (was marked wrong)?


This combination, des/les, strikes me as unlikely, because the English doesn't really support this particular asymmetry. "Les/des" is not out of the question, and des/des also strikes me as a possibility as a simple pluralization of "un ordre est un ordre".


why not "mais des commandes sont des commandes" anyone please?


That seems plausible, subject to nuances related to the choice of the definite article versus the indefinite. Check out the links in my other comments if you're interested.


La défense de Nuremberg ?


The sentence (Les ordres sont les ordres) is an expression used when someone has to do something he does not like or want : But orders are orders and he has to obey ...


Can it be "mais des ordres sont des ordres"

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