1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Je ne sais pas ce qu'il est …

"Je ne sais pas ce qu'il est devenu."

Translation:I do not know what he has become.

June 1, 2014

36 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MThoriqMalano

Il est devenu un adolescent.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jahernandez920

Don't understand the "ce" in the middle of the sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ag3n7_z3r0

Literally, this sentence could be translated as, "I do not understand that which he has become." In English, once can replace that which with what, but in French, that is not the case. HTH!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bencloete

Could celui be used instead?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nancythesinger

The ce is from ce que which means 'what'. Ce que is mostly used for the word 'what' in the middle of the sentence. In this example, the ce que is blended with il to make ce qu'il. Therefore, 'I don't know WHAT he has become."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/msinykin

"ce que" (or "ce qu'") is one of the four indefinite relative pronouns. It means "what" or "which". It is used as a direct object (in this case, of the verb "savoir" -> "sais", meaning "know").

For grammar nerds, there are three more indefinite relative pronouns, all of which mean "what" or "which": "ce qui" (subject), "ce dont" (object of "de") and "quoi" (object of other preposition).

See https://www.thoughtco.com/french-indefinite-relative-pronouns-1368864


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rosezac

Why could it not be "I do not know who he became"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

If you're a French existentialist you probably could say this. But seriously, ce que means "what" not "who".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SuzanneNussbaum

I think "... what he has turned into" might be a good translation; what I think we really tend to say is "...what has become of him," which probably turns the sentence around a bit too much to be acceptable here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DianaM

I wonder if one of our Francophone colleagues can comment on whether "...what has become of him" is within the scope of this sentence.

In English, "...what he has become" addresses some personal transformation of the person under discussion. He has become a judge, a criminal, a grandfather, whatever. "...what has become of him" is more general; in this case you'd be saying that you have no idea where he is or what he might be doing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JorgeQueir2

Why do we use "être" with devenir? Because it's some variation of "venir"? I thought it should be "avoir"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ag3n7_z3r0

Yes, you are right; any derivation of the être verbs must also use être.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NickDaniel1

Why is there a 'ce' in there?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nancythesinger

The ce is from ce que which means 'what'. Ce que is mostly used for the word 'what' in the middle of the sentence. In this example, the ce que is blended with il to make ce qu'il. Therefore, 'I don't know WHAT he has become."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RossGee1

Couldn't " I do not know what became of it" also work? As in "Do you know what happened to the car?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_Peachez_

Woah... That streak though!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DougFerguson

How would you say "I don't know what became of it"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BenjaminGoose

Reported this answer that was rejected: "I don't know what's become of him". It's the same in meaning as the other answers listed.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

Not exactly, it means you don't know where he is as well as what he has become, but it might be correct anyway. http://context.reverso.net/translation/english-french/I+don%27t+know+what+became+of+him


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

Benjamin, The problem might be the contraction in your answer.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/busywoman10

I translated this as 'I do not know what became of it' and was marked correct. Scarily different. Would the same French phrase really be used for both these translations?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

Thanks for trying "it". Il does mean it as well as he. French people don't have a problem with this, but it does alarm us English speakers.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelLe3139

Why can't I use "I don't know whom he's become"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

This is not about a change in personality. It can be about a career. "I don't know what he has become." is different.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Calvin_the_1st

Duolingo out here quoting obi-wan kenobi


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/junichiro.uno

Why not Je ne sais pas ce qu'il ait devenu accepted?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

No, "devenir" must use forms of "être" instead of "avoir" to create its compound tenses along with some other verbs of motion and change.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/litgram

Can someone shed light on why, for the English translation, the response uses the perfect past on this sentence (has become), whereas many of the other sample sentences are only translated using simple past (became)? Does the perfect tense not "exist" in French as it does in English, or is there a nuance to this sentence in French that limits the translation to best being represented with perfect past in English?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

In English, the versatile simple past tense can be used to replace any past tense, including the present perfect tense which is actually a past tense that has recently happened or that affects the present. In French, the passé composé is not limited to the English present perfect and often uses a form of “avoir” to form it, but other verbs use “être” including “devenir”. The forms “has become” or “became” or “did become” could all be used for this sentence, but I don’t think that I would use the emphatic form for this particular sentence. It is helpful when the perfect tense is used, so that you can become familiar with the fact that in English we use a form of “to have” to form this tense, but in French “to be” is used with this particular verb.

https://www.thoughtco.com/passe-compose-french-compound-past-tense-1368891


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

Personally, I think "has become" is a little better because it reflects the ongoing quality of "not knowing something" (je ne sais pas.)

I didn't know yesterday what he became and now I still don't know what he has become.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ArnoldCohe1

why not "I do not know what has happened"??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

That is not the same, this is about what he became.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gcarvell

Pourquoi non "I don't know what he became" (as in did he become a doctor?)

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.