"Je détestais les blagues de mon beau-père."

Translation:I used to hate my stepfather's jokes.

June 25, 2020

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beau-pere means father-in-law, not stepfather!


Actually, beau-père means both father-in-law and stepfather in modern French. While there is a separate word for "stepfather", which is "parâtre", it's become outdated due its pejorative connotations.


Merci beaucoup. J'apprends quelque chose de nouveau!


I understand if you can't share them here, but I am curious now about the implications of "parâtre". Is it tied to some old world moral judgement for remarriage?


How can you have the same word for step father and father in law? They are completely different!


Bear in mind that language is a reflection of culture and tradition. It might seem strange to a native English speaker to see that French has the same word for step-father and father-in-law.

In Chinese, for example there are many different words for family members that in English would not be distinguished. We just have the word "aunt" in English, but in Chinese the word used to translate this depends on whether they are a maternal or paternal aunt, whether they are one of your parent's siblings or one of your parent's in-laws, and whether they are older or younger than your parents. This shows the importance of kinship in one culture compared to another.

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In russian and as I understand in french there is no single words for siblings and grandparents


True in the case of Russian according to Google Translate. Partly true for French as "grand-parent" exists.


Why not? It is common in any language to have words that have two (or even more) different meanings. For example in English the word light: not having much weight and the stuff that makes you see things.


gcwhite: A stepfather and a father-in-law take on the same role by acting as a father to a person who is not their biological child. Using the same word for both is just being non-specific about how that person stepped into that parental role.


Their roles are completely different.


If beau-père can mean either father-in-law or stepfather, why isn't the former accepted???


Why the version: "j'ai détesté les blagues..." it's not good?


The imperfect tense ("Je detestais") is better at conveying the idea that the speaker used to hate their stepfather's jokes. This describes something that happened over a prolonged period.

If you use the perfect tense ("J'ai détesté"), it's more like describing a one-off event, e.g. their stepfather told some jokes during dinner one night.

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Why not "I would hate my stepfather's jokes"?


The English "would hate" can mean much the same as "used to hate" and so should be accepted. But I doubt if this meaning is much used nowadays, especially outside England. For most people "would hate" is conditional not habitual past, corresponding to French "détestrais" .


It should not be accepted, since you cannot use "would" as a past tense with stative verbs. It would be conditional, as petitrowbear points out.

You can only use "would" as a past tense for repetitive actions or for a continuous past tense, eg: "I would hate listening to my stepfather's jokes.".

This restriction does not apply to "used to".

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I'm pretty sure I heard "would" in this meaning recently from a native US speaker. I haven't been listening to or watching any content from British speakers for a long time.


In this context, "I would hate to..." is more speculative in that the speaker, if they were forced to listen to their stepfather's jokes, they wouldn't enjoy the experience. However, here the speaker is saying they definitely had to listen to the jokes and did not enjoy the experience.

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