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My child - vous?

A question asked me for the correct translation of "You write, my child!".

I selected 'Tu ecrit, mon enfant!' and left 'Vous ecrivez, mon enfant!" as I thought one would not refer to their child as 'vous'. But I was marked as wrong for doing so.

Is this an error, or am I actually wrong and misunderstanding use of the 'vous'?

July 14, 2012



Well, it's a tad complicated. "Vous" in French as you probably know stands for both "You" as a plural, and when addressing people politely.

The sentence: "You write, my child" could be interpreted while knowing what follows:

A few decades ago, it was very common in french upper class families for parents and children to refer to each other as "Vous" ("the polite form").

"Vous écrivez, mon enfant!" could have been said by a mother or father of such a family to one of his/her children. Or it could be used by any person dwelling in the same social class, to adress a child, without them being bound by any ties whasoever.

I hope I am clear. If not, don't hesitate to inquire further.



Was the answer choice "tu écrit" or "tu écris"? The former is the wrong conjugation so if that was the case, then I could see why they would want you to choose "vous écrivez" instead.


For the multiple choice, if it says "you" and there are options for "tu" and "vous" that are both conjugated correctly, I would select both since, without any further context, it could be either.


And in school: on vousvoye n'est-ce pas?


Also, this could be from the perspective of a teacher. To maintain a level of formality, some teachers will address their students in the "vous" form.

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