"À gauche ou à droite ?"

Translation:To the left or to the right?

May 14, 2013

43 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emily126

why is "On the left or on the right" wrong? To me, in English it can mean the same thing.

October 6, 2013

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

I think it is because "Left or Right" is the closest translation, hence "À gauche ou à droite ?" {To left or to right} this may be confusing as the English don't say things like this but I observed that The french don't usually say things without a proposition so it wouldn't be just "Droite" but "À droite" which is probably why it is so confusing to English learners.

P.s If you wanted to say "to the left or to the right" It would be written as "au gauche ou au droite ?". Au= à le:To the

June 15, 2014

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

Actually, you'd never say "au gauche ou au droite?", because gauche and droite are both feminine, so it would be "à la gauche ou à la droite?". Even that sounds odd to me. I'd translate both "to the left" and "on the left" as "à gauche."

September 8, 2014

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

To left or to right was marked wrong! Why?

February 25, 2015

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

It's not correct English. You need to use the definite article before directions, e.g. "to the left", "to the north", "from the south", "the sun rises in the east".

May 9, 2015

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

Sorry I don;t agree with you. To left or to right is perfectly clear in English both in the UK and Canada

October 20, 2015

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

It may be perfectly clear to you, but that doesn't make it correct. Anotherwise is right, you need a definite article when a compass direction immediately follows a preposition.

October 26, 2015

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

Yep, anotherwise absolutely correct here, grammatically. Also, having lived long term in both Australia and England, I've never once heard 'to left/to right'. To respond to the OP from emily126, I believe that 'on the left' would be 'sur la gauche', or 'sur ta gauche' (on your left). I imagine they mean different things too, as they do in English. 'On the right' is positional, like if someone asked me which side of the road a shop is on. 'To the right' is what I would use if I was instructing someone to make a turn - 'carry on down this road until you see the shopping centre on the left, and make a turn to the right at that set of lights. HTH

June 7, 2017

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

I agree. If I'm asking for directions when driving with somebody, I would never use the definite article in that context - it would seem clumsy. 'To left or to right?' or even 'left or right?' seem much more appropriate.

February 17, 2017

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

It's not correct English in North America (US/Canada) either

August 31, 2017

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

Gauche in English means clumsy or awkward. In dropdown it says same thing for French, but I wonder if it is considered slang?

May 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1751

I don't think it is slang. Gauche can also be awkward, clumsy, warped, and thus carry the connotation of being crooked. http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/french-english/gauche/36237 Droit is used the same way, i.e., "upright/honest". http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/french-english/droit/26704

August 19, 2014

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

Great answer from n6zs - interestingly this comes from the more extreme medieval view that the left hand was inherently 'evil', the devil's hand. This was part of the reason why lefties were rapped across the knuckles in school for writing left handed and forced to use their right, well into the 20th century (at least in Australia, but I believe the UK also). It still prevails in idioms such as 'left-handed compliment', which is a compliment which is seen as holding a latent insult, something of a conniving or weaselly manoeuvre.

June 7, 2017

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

Yes, I agree having grown up Australia. When my eldest son (now nearly 27), who is left-handed, came home from his early years in primary school with "right" written on his right hand (and nothing written on his left hand), and he pointed out that this is the hand we write with, I jumped to conclusions. I phoned the school and berated them for trying to enforce my son to use his right hand for writing.

They pointed out they were just teaching the kids left from right and had only marked one hand to avoid confusion (as most kids are right-handed). Obviously, I sheepishly apologised for my tirade.

December 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kevin968039

True story

December 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kevin968039

Referring to the history that Nect was sharing.

December 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SarahT14

You can remember this by thinking about a right-handed person trying to do things left-handed. If you're right-handed, you're more awkward and clumsy with the left.

May 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mandy944184

Gauche is American English, somehow. Not British English, and not correct. Sorry .

April 29, 2017

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

I don't know in what sense you are saying 'not correct' - there doesn't appear to be any context for it. 'Gauche' is used regularly in UK and Australian English to indicate something which is anything from garish and tacky, right through to clumsy and inept, or even underhanded and conniving.

June 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1751

The word "gauche" has been adopted into both British English and American English. See http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/gauche And Mandy, even if something is American English, please do not assume that it is incorrect. DL tries to encourage respect for the different types of English spoken by users from around the world.

June 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/allors25

So is 'à gauche' about direction, or also about position? Because if it is position, then 'on the left' is correct, right?

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1751

Yes, you may also say "on the left or on the right".

June 8, 2017

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

I wrote "at the left or at the right" and it was not accepted. But it should be, right?

November 11, 2018

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

are you truly at the left or are you most often on/to the left?

November 19, 2018

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

I just tend to use "at" rather than "on" - "the shop is at your left", etc. I've googled this now and it seems that at/on are both correct.

December 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sdr51

"To left or right?" No, it says. And some here are claiming that's incorrect English, that "the" is required. Sorry, native speaker here, with a perfectly good command of English grammar. The "correct" translation above, with "the" is formal, but my abbreviated form would be considered acceptable in casual conversation. The separation of formal and informal can often take the form of abbreviated or even slurred constructions, not just in English.

September 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mandy944184

I'm a native English speaker and a professional linguist. "To the left, to the right" is correct. Casual conversation accepts lots of interesting phrases that formal conversation wouldn't. MDR is casual, but I'm guessing you wouldn't learn that on a website like this, either. DL is trying to teach you enough formal French to get by. If you want to learn more casual matieral, try following Facebook "oust France" or "sud ouest" .. both newspapers... you'll see enough colloquial material in there..

April 29, 2017

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

I think context is important here. If you're driving up to a junction and asking your passenger for directions, you're far more likely to say 'Left or right?' than '...to the left or to the right'. However, it is French we're attempting to learn and not English and the French seem to use more words than we do.

April 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mandy944184

I'm not learning (already bilingual... here to scope out the course for other learners), but yes, you are mostly here to learn French, and the French do tend to use more words to say things than English speakers might (se the last paragraph of any standard French letter.. the "yours faithfully/sincerely " part... a former French professor of mine (a native) always joked that his language always used a paragraph where a couple of words would suffice ;o) .

However, a correct and good translation of this is, "to the left or to the right?"

April 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anneduol1ngo

Jumping in here,though have read it all. As a native English speaker to say 'to left or right' is perfectly acceptable depending on the context. I have reported it.

May 4, 2017

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

Simply not true. It is not grammatically correct, which is important when many of the people doing this program are native French speakers here to learn English. It is also bizarre to the point that if you said it to me, I would ask you where you were from and what your native tongue was. It makes as much sense as walking up to me and saying 'Is cat yours?' It smacks of pidgin English. 'Left or right?' said in passing to someone who is giving you directions, would be fine, but the addition of the preposition sans article renders it bizarre.

June 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TobyThomps2

Duolingo allows several colloquialisms which are more "casual" and natural than eliding the definite article in the case of "to left or right". In my opinion, it's correct useage to omit it or not according to context. By the way, what does "MDR" mean? I don't think I have ever encountered it before, but then I am not a professional linguist.

January 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kevin968039

I'm confused. Two questions ago a finger pointed right, but insisted à droite should have been LA droite. I thought La droite means "The right", and à droite meant "right"... until this question accepted à droite for right. Can anyone help me understand this?

December 14, 2018

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

That was a fair answer for the picture. With only a hand visible and pointing both would come to mind. Perhaps some thought should be put into this in duolingos end

January 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TobyThomps2

Interesting discussion here about whether the definite article is gramatically necessary in English. Perhaps it's an example of how Americans think they are native English speakers while their mother tongue is actually North American in its various dialects. In England we naturally say "to left or right", understand each other perfectly and not think twice (nay once) about any archaic rules of grammatical "correctness".

January 27, 2019

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

the male audio is terrible here

February 16, 2019

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

I hear the female voice in the forum here, perhaps you had a bad connection. I've heard that the voice reverts back to the older versions sometimes when the connection is poor as a backup

February 24, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mari847170

Would this also be accepted .... A left or a right? ......

December 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1751

No, that is not correct. "To the left", "on the left".

June 8, 2017

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

"To left or to right" is commonly used in everyday speech in modern English. ( I now live in Australia, but was educated in England.)

January 8, 2018

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

I'm an Australian and when we travelled through Algeria in a Land Rover (what seems like a zillion years ago now), our Algerian friend would direct us - à gauche, à gauche, left Stephen , left........ à droite, à droite, right Stephen, right .... etc. No messing about with prepositions in English = left or right was all we needed to know !

January 8, 2018

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

Turn left or right? was marked incorrect.

February 15, 2016

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

The French sentence doesn't mention turning. It could be referring to looking for all we know.

February 16, 2016
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