"Pourquoi vous êtes-vous assis ici, les enfants ?"

Translation:Why did you sit here, children?

May 28, 2020

This discussion is locked.


Why did you children sit here? Was not accepted. They want - Why did you sit here, children? Seems like both have the same meaning to me.


You are meant to be translating, not paraphrasing. If the speaker splits his sentence into two clauses, you are expected to split your translation into two clauses (unless there are grammatical reasons not to do so).

But outside the constraints of a Duolingo course, that's a much better translation.


Why "les" enfants?


Can someone explain to me which "vous" is the reflexive pronoum here? I would have guessed "Pourquoi êtes-vous vous assis ici" if I had to try to guess it from English.


Or to answer more directly, the first "vous" is the reflexive pronoun. As an Object pronoun^ it precedes the verb. In a verb inversion the Subject pronoun no longer precedes the verb, it follows it (hyphenated).

This deviates from the usual Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) orientation of French. English is also an SVO oriented language, hence we Anglophones instinctively expect to find the Object after the verb, not before it.


^ The only time that an Object pronoun follows the verb in French is in an affirmative (but not in a negative) Imperative statement.

NB. Disjunctive/Stressed/Tonic pronouns (moi, toi etc) are not classified as Object pronouns within this context. An Indirect Object such as "à toi" can follow the verb. The pronouns in an affirmative Imperative statement are actually stressed pronouns, so they do not, technically, break the "rule" that Object pronouns must precede the verb


Hi there.

The inversion is the first piece before the hyphen.

Here's a resource that might help (it's about asking questions with reflexive verbs): https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/how-to-form-inverted-questions-with-reflexive-pronominal-verbs-in-le-present


Can this not be translated as 'Why are you sat here, children?' It was marked wrong.


That would be "Pourquoi êtes-vous assis ici, les enfants ?".

This is the present tense of Être + adjective, as opposed to the passé composé tense of s'asseoir. Tricky, huh?

It could also be the present tense of the passive voice of the non-reflexive verb asseoir but, as French is averse to using the passive voice, that is unlikely. Since it means exactly the same thing as être + adjective, it is a moot point.


Thanks Graeme.


I'm puzzled as to how both "Why ARE YOU SITTING here" and "Why DID YOU SIT here" can be correct....are they not different tenses?

It seems the more I study french, the more I lose my English ! ;}


This cannot mean "Why are you sitting here?". That would be "Pourquoi êtes-vous assis ici ?" (which uses the present tense of "être" + the adjective "assis") whereas this exercise uses the reflexive verb "s'asseoir" in the passé composé tense.


Duo said both were correct Graeme, which is what puzzled me!


I don't think Duo should have done, since in French they are grammatically different.

But in English the difference is sufficiently subtle that I am a bit reluctant to try to explain it!

Duo's translation is about a past action of sitting down, ie changing state from standing to sitting. It is about the choice of where to sit.

Your translation is about a current, present tense situation. It is about the choice of being idle rather than active.
(Although verbal emphasis can easily move the focus back to the location.)


Thanks for clarifying that for me Graeme :]


Alternative answer :-

"Why did you guys sit here, children"
(If "children" is not necessary , it sounds make sense)

Tips :- "vous" can be used as
1) address someone formally
2) Two person or more


why is vous used when talking to children? Is there not a plural version of tu?


Wendy, I am astonished. How can you have come so far without learning that "vous" is the plural version of "tu" ?


Put it down to fading memory Graeme and I don’t recall it being used to address children! Plenty of questions as to when it was instead of tu for adults in informal settings!

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