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"Que pouvons-nous espérer ?"

Translation:What can we expect?

5 years ago

26 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/angiek8
angiek8
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"For what can we hope?" is the most grammatically correct translation (but was not accepted by Duo). Technically one is not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition, although in spoken English we very frequently ignore that rule. "What can we hope for?" would be a more likely conversational question - spiritual or otherwise. I reported the oversight to Duo but wanted to point out the disparity in common usage.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/John787925

Yes, we very frequently ignore that "rule" in spoken English (more frequently than we obey it, in fact). We have also done so in written English for hundreds of years. But some people have arbitrarily decided it's a Very Important Rule, and it's thus become a status identifier, so be aware of that, I guess.

But "For what can we hope?" is exactly the sort of bloody nonsense up with which nobody would put.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/John787925

Having said that, it should be an accepted answer. Just by no means the best one.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/angiek8
angiek8
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Yes, I totally agree! And I love your reply.

I don't speak that "King's English way myself, I was just in a quandary as to which version of English duo might be expecting, and so I went with the grammar book version and was surprised to get it wrong.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SanctMinimalicen
SanctMinimalicen
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This is the case for verb-preposition relationships that are not bound together to have a specific meaning. It is not an arbitrary Very Important Rule at all, but makes sense. A combination where the verb and preposition are not bound semantically (e.g. "sit on"--neither word loses or changes its meaning in the relationship) is most properly used in the inverted structure: "On which sofa are you sitting?" Contrariwise, there are verb-preposition combinations that have special or changed meanings when put together. "Hope for"is one of those, since "hope" is normally an intransitive verb, thus requiring a semantical change by the addition of a preposition; therefore, "For what can we hope?" is technically not proper.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Basilious

It is fine to end sentences with a preposition. Whoever says otherwise does not know any better.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

The Victorians have a lot to answer for.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sean.mullen
sean.mullen
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Grammarians unfortunately tend to rely on what they've been taught. Native English speakers have been ending sentences with prepositions for centuries; the rule you're talking about doesn't exist.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DenisBouch7

A quick search indicates that that "rule" you were taught is a myth. Oxford Dictionary

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JulieHarri910589

It is accepted now.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Teo334689
Teo334689
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Why que and not quoi?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sean.mullen
sean.mullen
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Que is not stressed in this structure. In order from most formal to least, these are the ways to structure this question:

  1. « Que pouvons-nous espérer ? »

  2. « Qu'est-ce que nous pouvons espérer ? »

  3. « Nous pouvons espérer quoi ? »

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rev.Judi7
Rev.Judi7
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Merci! That was very helpful to Me.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tflbo
Tflbo
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Do you think 'À quoi pouvons nous espérer' should work?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NicoleFran3
NicoleFran3
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That doesn't work because "espérer" doesn't take the preposition "à."

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rita879712

I translated "What are we to expect ?". ..as a smooth easy translation ...but it was not accepted.....because I did not translate as " What are we "able " to expect ? I feel both havd the same meaning ..and in daily conversation . I would most likely say "_What are we to expect?". ( leaving out the " able " as it is inferred ........... What do you think ?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nityaji
Nityaji
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i put "what can we expect" and it was accepted - I think duo is probably looking for a translation of pouvons so you need able or can or may in the sentence.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/agapoyesoun
agapoyesoun
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Yes, Rita, I think that your 'What are we to expect?' is one of the best translations of this.

Prepositions ending sentences: no longer a requirement though I do prefer this in writing. Speaking is more relaxed, I think.

Winter M and Ricky, would you please tell me what a 'French tree' is?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NicoleFran3
NicoleFran3
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No, "espérer" does not mean "expect". It means "hope." The best translation is "What can we hope for? " There is actually nothing wrong with ending a sentence with a preposition. It is perfectly normal English word order. The other possible option is "For what can we hope? " This is not normal word order for English, but is rather an attempt to imitate Latin or French which requires the preposition to come first. It was perpetrated by some pedantic grammarians a few centuries ago and accepted by generations of English teachers.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nityaji
Nityaji
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I was trying to figure out how to translate the sentence with espérer as hope, and then I looked at the duo hint and it gave expect as an option so I went with "what can we expect?" instead which it accepted.

I just googled "can espérer be translated as expect?" and found this reverso page: http://dictionary.reverso.net/french-english/puis-je+esp%C3%A9rer which gives some examples of its use in a sentence. In these examples espérer could also translate as hope. All the examples are questions, so it is possible that espérer may be used as a polite way to ask for something where you are not just hoping you are expecting, but don't want to sound too demanding - one reverso example is "Quand puis-je espérer une réponse ?" which reverso translates to "When may I expect a reply?"

If you look up the translation of expect from English to French on reverso there are a lot more commonly used translations, but they do list espérer as one of them. The first on the list was attendre, and there was also supposer, demander, compte sur (count on) and others.

Looking at the sentence "What can we hope for?" and trying to imagine a context, it could be used in a medical situation where you are asking about the prognosis and expect could also work in that context . . . .

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Stick.to.it

Thank you for that thorough explanation! I was surprised to see "expect" and not "hope" as the only possible word to fit the sentence; glad to have it explained here.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/barbara.gr5
barbara.gr5
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Well, I can hope for the Amazon app to be fixed so the pictures actually show. I've reported it for months now and still nothing. Makes learning a language a little more difficult.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EEDIEPEREZ

angiek8: Thinking as you did in regard to the grammatical rule..... I said to myself: I'm leaving the preposition out! . I wrote: What can we hope? and was accepted.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kat45606
Kat45606
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What is wrong with" what to expect"

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Martyn731976
Martyn731976
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What awaits us?

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ion1122
ion1122
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que pouvons-nous attendre = what can we expect
que pouvons-nous ésperer = what can we hope for

3 weeks ago