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  5. "Cet os est présent chez les …

"Cet os est présent chez les hommes et les femmes."

Translation:That bone is present in men and women.

April 7, 2013



Although I'm not a native speaker, it seems more natural to me to translate this as «That bone is present BOTH in men and women».


I am a native English speaker and I agree. I lost a heart because I wrote that automatically.


I'm also a native speaker, but that construction is awkward. One would say either "both in men and IN women" or "in both men and women." "Both" has to point to two things, here either two prepositions with objects or two objects of the preposition.


In a strictly grammatical sense you may be correct, but in spoken English all three constructions sound perfectly natural to me (as an American English speaker).

  • 2037

I found myself wanting to put "both" because it just seems to flow more naturally in English but I resisted the temptation to "improve" Duo's sentence using language that does not appear in the original French version. When I'm chatting with shopkeepers in Provence, I will be more relaxed about it. ;-)


is this 'chez' used more figuratively?


Yes. We don't mean that the bone is actually in someone's house, if that's what you're asking xD.

I mean, you could imagine a situation with a cannibal village where men and women live in separate places, and then we would talk about a kind of bone found in both the women's house AND the men's house. But this scenario is probably not worth mentioning in this exercise ^^. Besides, the translation would be wrong.

But be careful, "chez" can also be used in the proper sense as well (i.e. "Nous allons chez lui.").

This resource might help you :



could you briefly explain what "chez" is doing there? it is very tricky and elusive too :) Merci pour ton explication


In this sentence, it means "in", it can have several different translations depending on the context.

If the link I provided wasn't enough, you can continue here:



is "dans les hommes et les femmes" also correct for this statement?


It's correct grammatically, it just feels a bit odd.

We usually use "chez" when talking about something that belongs to a living organism in a general sense. For example: "On peut trouver cette bactérie chez le guépard, le lion et le tigre." (We can find this bacteria in the cheetah, the lion and the tiger.).

We don't have this problem with inanimate objects, for example: "Cet ingrédient est présent dans la soupe à la tomate" (This ingredient is present in the tomato soup.). Actually, using "chez" in these occasions would sound odd.


We seem to have hit a streak of "translate this string of random French words" exercises. :->


How so ? I mean this sentence is complete and makes perfect sense.


It makes perfect sense if you're aware of the idiomatic use of "chez" here. However, if you only know that "chez" means someone's house,and you're a beginner whose fallback is literal translation, then it looks like "That bone is present in the home of the men and women" -- a string of random French words.


I'm sorry but it's up to the learners to adapt to the exercises (since they are learning ^^), not the opposite. If they don't know all the meanings of the word "chez", it's not a big deal, they'll answer wrong and do some research on the word to avoid doing it again.

Furthermore, literal translation is most of the time a bad idea, because it often leads to sentences not making sense or simply with bad grammar. So if learners have that habit (which is completely understandable for beginners), they'll have to get rid of it. There is no other way. I mean this sentence is certainly not the first nor the last being translatable word for word. If they try that every time they'll eventually end up being wrong most of the time.

Also, as I said above, the French sentence CAN mean that we're talking about someone's house. It's unlikely because it requires a specific context with this sentence, but it's possible. So either way we understand it, there is no "string of random French words" here.


Wow. Sorry I brought it up. It was the second exercise in a row that seemed -- my emphasis there -- to be a string of random words. I didn't mean to imply that the exercises should adapt to us student: it's imcumbent upon us to learn the nuances of the language, not expect the language to conform to our native linguistic expectations.

I will note, though, that I've found plenty of examples where literal translation is what Duo cites as "correct," even though no native Anglophone would ever use that construct. As with any learning experience, it's a bit hit-or-miss, and a fair amount of learn by making mistakes.

My last post on the matter.


This concept of "chez" is not unique to French. The best literal translation of it is in fact "by someone's location", "by" meaning "near or closeby" as in He is staying by me. The same concept exists in Italian "da me, dal dottore, dagli antichi greci"; in Russian "u menya, u nyevo"; in Persian "nazde man, nazde Amrikayiha (at my place, among the Americans); in Armenian "indz mot, Germanatsineri mot," (at my place or by me, among Germans" etc. And I am sure in many other languages which I don't speak.


Nothing to be sorry about, it's always good to talk about your concerns on an exercise, because it can also help other people.

And I agree that I've seen several sentences where the French part makes perfect sense and is grammatically correct, but because it's translated word for word in English, it seems odd and unnatural.

The best we can do for now is to propose our own sentences to replace the odd ones.


I very rarely see cases where a literal translation changes the meaning of the sentence. I don't see a problem with taking the literal translation and then making sense of it: we do the same kind of thing with English all the time. The literal translation is perfectly fine. The bone "lives in," or "resides in" men and women. Chez moi, non?


Just to help you with your English a bit....you 'do' research (never 'make' it as one might in French); 'word-for-word' is the idiom (never 'word by word'). Oh....and w.r.t. 'literal translation'....I've found DL rather random and inconsistent in that regard and other moderators have suggested being literal if it makes sense to do so and only less literal if, as you say, it confounds the meaning or leads to poor grammar! It becomes a 'read my mind' exercise for the student though. Anyway, keep up the good work and thanks.


I'm aware of these mistakes, I know I made them in other comments, I thought I had corrected my old posts, but apparently at least a few remain. Oh well, I doubt I'll be able to correct all of them, I have posted way too many comments over-all. I edited this one, thanks.

I never advise to be literal in a learning environment, because it creates bad habits and a poor understanding of the differences between how the native language and the target language work.

In a speaking environment, it's different, because you have no resources available and people cannot realistically wait for you to look up the correct way to speak. Additionally, people can often figure out what you mean even if your literal translation is gibberish. So it's always better than silence. But even if it's kind of useful in speaking environments when you have to come up with sentences on the spot, it's kind of a last resort and is completely unreliable (on top of the problems already mentioned).

I'm not saying it's a bad idea to use literal translations completely, because there are cases where it's simply the best possible translation. I'm saying to not go for a literal translation as a first reflex, and instead try to build the sentence from the target language directly, based on what you already understand of this language.


i think my answer was correct "This bone is present in both men and women.


Why wasn't my 'males and females' accepted?


Because "les homes et les femmes" doesn't mean "males and females". It simply means "men and women".


To me the problem with this sentence is that men and women have all the same bones in them. No need to single one out.


Nothing says that this sentence is describing the real world.


Regarding the audio, am I right that the liaison between 'os' and 'est' should sound like a 'zzz' not an 'sss'?


There is no liaison here. The "s" of "os" is pronounced normally, there is no need for a liaison. So no, it's an "sss" sound.


I understand the answer they have, but wouldn't "Cet os est présent chez les hommes et chez les femmes" also be correct? I lost a heart for that answer.


It's not incorrect in terms of comprehension, but it's an unnecessary repetition. But it can be used for emphasis, style, or other purposes.


"This bone is present among the men and the women"

Why is this not correct? "Among" is listed as a possible meaning of "chez".


This bone is present both in men and women. What is wrong with this answer ?


as a non native in either english or french, I find this sentence difficult to understand. I just try to learn by heart to pass this lesson, in fact.


I thought "is found" a more natural translation than "present". Cost me a heart.


That'd be «se trouve.»


Correct, but it still sounds better to me than the literal "present".

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