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  5. "Il a bu son café, alors elle…

"Il a bu son café, alors elle s'est mise en colère."

Translation:He drank her coffee, so she got angry.

June 23, 2020


  • 1812

How do we know it is her coffee and not his coffee?


Context I suppose. Why would drinking his own coffee make her angry? But I agree, it is ambiguous.


Well, as they say, "Technically it is "his" now that he drank it." That's the old formal, Latin grammar our generation has lost. Il a bu son café à elle, alors elle s'est mise en colère. "He {drank/has drunk of} the coffee meant for her, so she got angry." The reverse snobbery is highly amusing; my how the tables have turned!


For context, how about: She demanded an answer. Instead, he drank his coffee, so she got angry.


It still rejected "he drank his coffee so she got angry". That it's her coffee makes for a better story, but the sentence is ambiguous. Reported 4 August 2020.


I disagree. This sentence teaches the student that they have to consider the context when translating possessive pronouns. If you permit the other translation because it is technically correct, many students will just rush through, never noticing this nuance.


Perhaps she had asked him not to drink it yet.


Did you get dinged for "his coffee"?


Yes. Though the doctor advised not to drink coffee, he ordered coffee. He's stubborn and doesn't listen. He drank his coffee so she got mad.


Bravo! I want to read your next novel.


It's one of the flaws in the French language that creates some ambiguity while comprehending. However, people do manage to feel the sense of the intended perception once they get more familiarized to the concerned situation.


I think by reason of reaction (cause and effect). Which is a fancy way of saying 'context'.

  • 1812

Thanks Jenny. She may have been annoyed if he had agreed to stop drinking coffee, for whatever reason, and she was calling him out on it. We may never know...


inherently ambiguous "her" vs "his"; maybe he wasn't supposed to drink his coffee until hers was served, so she got angry.


Could also be "he (man 1) drank his (man 2) coffee, so she (presumably someone who cares about man 2) got angry.


I understand now that this is an exercise for context, but when doing these exercises quickly it is easy to miss, it's almost like a trick sentence. I think a better example is needed.

  • 1688

Anyone still wants to say that French is a PRECISE language? I DO NOT agree! I must say that French is a CONFUSING language, even unable to differ those very essential "his" and "hers".

In this case, I would write:

"Il a bu le cafe d'elle, alors elle s'est mis en colere. "


French is a confusing and ambiguous language, like every other language, because humans are ambiguous and imprecise.


Why is mise translation "betting"? Seems like translation for mise means more or less "so she is miserably angry."


Ca veut dire "to put". Mettre en colere = to get angry.

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