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  5. "La fille dit pourquoi."

"La fille dit pourquoi."

Translation:The girl is saying why.

April 7, 2013



More strange syntax. The sentence sounds obscure in English. Hardly something you would use in conversation.


It accepted "The girl explains why" for me, which is a pretty normal-sounding sentence. But their suggested translation is awkward, I agree. Is there a better way to say "The girl explains why" in French?


Yes, "La fille explique pourquoi."


After reading this, I tried "explains" just as you have it typed here and got rejected. (because I still refuse to translate this sentence as "the girl says why" because I've taught ESL and this makes no sense in America


Ok, but we're not learning English


I agree - this would never be said in English


so is it: the girl is saying "why"? or just the girl is saying why?


Yes, this isn't clear to me. Is the meaning meant to be "The girl is saying why [such-and-such a thing occured]"?


English and French use pretty much the same punctuation (except for the spaces in-between), so if you don't have quotation marks in French you'll have to assume there isn't any in English either.


i think timipshultz is asking about the meaning of the sentence. "the girl says why." is the girl providing an explanation, or asking for one?


The problem is that punctuation doesn't seem to be a big priority for DL, so we can't take the absence of quotes at face value


why doesn't ask count?


"The girl asks why" is a better translation in my opinion even though "dire" doesn't mean "to ask". It would be very unusual to say "The girl says why" in English.


Can the answer be : The girl asks why?


"La fille demande pourquoi." = "The girl asks why."


So, summing up the discussions, is the meaning of this sentence " the girl explains why", not "the girl asks why"? I also didn't understand the sense of this phrase


Why couldn't it be: "The daughter says why."


Agreed. In the absence of context, there is no reason why "fille" couldn't mean "daughter" as well. The speaker of the above sentence could be describing a small family group having a disagreement. (I've generally have found that pushing the envelope doesn't pay much on Duolingo, but that won't stop me from tryin'--especially if it helps you find out more about how the language works.)


No. It was explained in the Tips Notes to Possessives:

Femme can mean "woman" or "wife" and fille can mean "girl" or "daughter" depending on the context. For example, when femme and fille are preceded by a possessive adjective, then they translate to "wife" and "daughter", respectively.

Une fille et une femme sont dans le restaurant — A girl and a woman are in the restaurant. (Not: "A daughter and a wife are in the restaurant.") Ma fille — My daughter. (Not: "My girl".)
Ta femme — Your wife. (Not: "Your woman".)


You can say, "a daughter" or "the daughter" in English. Are you saying you can't say that in French? I can see why, with the extra freight that 'fille' and 'femme' carry, that it would be more confusing.


Could it be "The girl said why"? Dit = said, according to the word translation in this sentence.


Not quite. For the passe composé you need avoir+participle passe.

La fille dit pourquoi - the girl says why (present tense) La fille a dit pourquoi - the girl said why (past tense)


This isn't about "passé composé" here.

The fact is that the sentence "La fille dit pourquoi." can both be "passé simple" or "présent simple". Therefore, "The girl said why." should also be accepted.


Yes, because the verb "dire" has "dit" for the third person singular both on "présent" and "passé simple" (it's also the "participe passé" so it's used for "passé composé" as well).

Have a look at this link for more information :



Well, the lesson name is Present 2, so I can guess that it will never be past tense.


"the girl asks why" is accepted, though it is clearly the figurative translation into English and not the literal one.


Well, not anymore ... this was what I put, but it was rejected. I'm still not clear on whether this is the proper meaning of the sentence or not.


so this is saying the girl is explaining something? is that why the girl asks why would not work here?


I said the girl asks why - that should be correct


In my mind, it should say La fille dit "pourquoi" if it just means she says the word. If you don't put the quotes, then it absolutely means the girl explains why.


Does this mean that the girl: a) utters the word "pourquoi" (The girl says "why"); b) asks the question "pourquoi" (whether by using that word or some paraphrase); or, c) the girl explains the answer to the question "pourquoi" (the girl tells (someone) why)? Parts of this question have been addressed below, so forgive the partially redundant nature, but in general, does "dire" introduce reported speech?


Yes, "dire" can introduce reported speech. but in literature you'll usually find it with a colon and quotes:

La fille dit : "Pourquoi ?"

I don't know if this sentence is supposed to be reported speech, but it can be used for this purpose besides the punctuation inaccuracy.

Both a) and b) are valid possibilities, but c) is a bit trickier, usually we wouldn't say "la fille dit pourquoi" but rather "la fille explique pourquoi" in this situation, but I wouldn't say it's incorrect French strictly speaking, it just looks a bit odd.


In English it doesn't make grammatical sense to say that someone "says why" but rather it should translate to "asks why".


In English, you can not say a question, you ask a question. Hopefully this gets fixed soon.


If I were to say "La fille dit pourquoi" to a native speaker of French, would they understand this to invariably mean that the girl is providing an explanation?

I ask because to me, a native speaker of (American) English, the sentence "The girl says why" can only mean that the girl is providing an explanation. It cannot mean that the girl is requesting an explanation. Furthermore, although such use of "say why" might occur in my region as informal speech, I would not necessarily expect people from other regions to consider it grammatical or even meaningful. The more normative construction would be "The girl explains why." I know that this is not a literal translation of the French word "dit." However, there are various other exercises in which Duolingo rejects a literal translation and requires a more normative English construction.

Can the French sentence "La fille dit pourquoi" can also mean that the girl is requesting an explanation? If so then the normative English construction used to convey this meaning would be "The girl asks why."

We go through these exercises multiple times. I vary my responses to help me more fully understand what the French sentence means. If "The girl is explaining why" and "The girl is asking why" are both rejected, then it is difficult for me to understand what the French sentence actually means and to learn how to properly use the word "dit."


Could it be "The girl talks why"?


"to talk" = "parler"

"to say" = "dire"


But... that doesn't make sense in English. You can talk, but you can't talk a word.


La fille dis pourquoi? La fille dit pourquoi? La quel est la différence? Quelle est la différence? Merci!


"La quel est la différence ?" and "La fille dis pourquoi ?" are not correct French.

The difference between "dis" and "dit" is the conjugation. You can find more informations here :



Why not "The girls says that's why."?


Two reasons :

"that's why" = "c'est pourquoi" or "voilà pourquoi"

And "girls" is plural, while this exercise uses singular.


There's a third:

The noun "girls" (plural) in English does not match with the verb "says" (singular). This is called the Noun-Verb agreement. So it is "girls say", not "girls says".


"The girl keeps saying" but "she asks why"


If 'pourquoi' only translates into 'why,' what would be the correct translation for 'how come?' I realize that there is a literal difference, but they mean similarly in English and I make the mistake of mistranslating


I said "the girl asks why" and it marked it wrong :(


should it read - the girl explains why or the girl asks why?


I think it should accept 'asks', not just 'says', or 'explains', as someone else posted.


I wasnt given the word 'why' to answer with

[deactivated user]

    I chose past tense and was marked as correct


    OK, they really need to fix that. The lesson is Present 2.


    The answer to this example is not correct English usage.


    I put "the girl asks why" because "why" is a question.


    Very vague: not clear if she is asking, explaining, or simply being a toddler, saying 'why?' to everything said to her...can't think of any circumstance when this would be useful.


    Multiple choice error number 47. 'Dit' missed from the sentence but only 'dis' offered as an answer. For the third time this session I have to come out of this set of questions and start again as it is impossible to get this answer right. Is this a weird wa of making me g over each set of answers again and again?


    If the answer Duolingo suggests is okay then so should my answer "the girl is saying why" - both are equally clumsy.


    okay so i found a glitch if you move you're mouse over to a selected word then highlight it, it'll show the word you picked.


    The normal translation would be "the asks/is asking why"


    "The girl says (explains) why"... is this the idea expressed in French? Spanish speaker here with ESL. MODERATORS: (How can we recognize who are the moderators by the way?), Please express the French idea in other words so we all can understand.


    That's totally nonesense in English


    The daughter is saying why....should be acceptable.


    I put "the girl asks why" and it marked me wrong.


    The girl explains why, declares why, vocalises, pronounces, hypothesises why. The girl says why. What's the problem? The girl says why this should happen. She has said why twice already. Just do it

    It may not be a common English sentence, but it does make sense.


    I am a native speaker of English. In my dialect of English, "The girl says why" would make sense in a limited context (i.e. when the girl is explaining, but not when the girl is asking), but also would be considered as very informal speech -- and consequently something that other speakers of English might not understand.

    The key question for translation is how well it conveys the meaning of the original. If I simply wanted to do literal, word-for-word translations from French to English, I could use a French-to-English dictionary. My goal, however, is to learn to communicate in French. In order to do that, I must understand meaning. If a non-literal translation (e.g. The girl asks why) conveys the meaning of the original as well as or better than a literal translation, then the non-literal translation should be accepted.


    I would say " the girl SAYS" why. So would most people I know!!!


    I put the correct punctuation in (" ") my answer, and got marked ncorrect!! Ridiculous. Reporting it!

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