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  5. "I will paint only what you t…

"I will paint only what you tell me."

Translation:Je peindrai seulement ce que tu me diras.

April 24, 2020



Will "tu me dis" work here?


No, there's a grammatical difference between English and French here. Generally in cases like this where in English the main verb is in the future tense (will paint) and the subordinate verb is in the present tense (tell), French uses the future tense for both verbs.


True, but in this case, the second verb in the english sentence could be referring to the present: ie: " I will only paint what you are telling me" (now)


You're correct that if the subordinate verb action is known to be taking place in the present, you use the present tense in French rather than the future. So if instead of "you tell me", it were "you are telling me (now)", then present tense works. But in this exercise, with "you tell me" and not "you are telling me", there's no indication that the action is taking place in the present, so the future tense should be used.


There is also no indication that the action of telling is taking place in the future, so it appears to be ambiguous to me.


Yes, I fully agree that without additional context, it's ambiguous whether the telling action is taking place in the present or future. To clarify my original point: in such cases where you have 1) a main clause in the future tense and 2) a subordinate clause where it's ambiguous whether it takes place in the present or future, there's a grammatical difference between English and French in which verb tense is used for the subordinate clause. In English, the simple present tense is used by default with this ambiguity, whereas in French, the future tense is used by default with this ambiguity. In both languages, if additional context removes the ambiguity, then these default verb tenses can be overridden.


Exactly. As in, " I will only paint [in future] what you are telling me [now], but I will not paint [in future] what you are going to tell me [in future]." Perfectly reasonable if you are concerned with deadlines (Don't tell me to paint something at the last minute)!


Thank you hhzhang. Have a lingot for that.


It would be helpful for there to be this useful information in an orientation to these exercises.


-------- this may help, olso : the extension by bia-hoi can be found at



the English translation should have been "will tell me" to indicate future tense.."diras". "Tell me" is present, therefore, "dis" shoild be accepted.


I find it extremely hard to make all these verb endings right when typing quickly. when I just typed "peindrai", the next one just becomes "dirai" as I type. So what should I do? practice this course one hundred more times?


What is wrong with : Je vais peindre seulement ça que tu me dis ?

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