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  5. "Useless to try to escape; it…

"Useless to try to escape; it's locked."

Translation:Inutile d'essayer de t'échapper, c'est fermé à clé.

July 9, 2020



How did t' get into it? Why not Inutile d'essayer d'echapper?


« s'échapper » ("to escape") is a reflexive verb so you need the reflexive pronoun; here the 't' stands for "yourself" i.e. "Useless for you to try to make yourself escape..."! :)


Yes, but nothing in the sentence indicates that 'tu' is engaged at all. It could be neutral - useless for anything/anyone to try to escape.


Duo accepted s'échapper


Would it be wrong/awkward-sounding to put "C'est" (or "Il est") in front of "inutile" at the beginning of this sentence?


". . .il est ferme a cle" why wrong?


My answer showed s'echapper, not t'echapper (it actually showed sechapper which is worse :-) The correct answer needs tidying up.


As Graham explained a few weeks ago, s'echapper is fine, too. It is useless for (hypothetical third person) to try to escape.


s'echapper is not accepted (with an acute on the e)


T' - this is just hard to guess


inutile d'essayer de s'échapper; c'est fermé à la clé

Can the "third person" "s'échapper" be used in this sentence? It was marked wrong, but I'm not sure why


It is correct: for some bizarre reason Duo is only accepting that version without the apostrophe! Please report! :)


Does this not pass? " C'est inutile d'essayer de s’échapper ; il est fermé à clé "


Your problem is adding in the « C'est » which is not in the original English sentence! :)


fermé à clef... not accepted. why?


It was accepted today (21 April 2021), but it got me wondering about why/when clef (which is the spelling I was taught at school) became clé.


"c'est inutile d'essayer de t'échapper c'est fermé à clé" not accepted. Why?


Only because the English isn't "It's useless..."! :)


It is hard to ignore that the stem is ungrammatical. The temptation is to improve it. I believe that Duo should teach "correct" English and French and should not promote poor usage. Duo should, at least, allow a grammatical translation. Useless to expect that?


I imagine both sentences would only work in informal speech! :)


Has the distinction between teaching the written and the spoken word been lost? Teaching has required a higher standard of grammar for the written word. While the boundary may have become blurred, is it not incumbent upon a teacher, using the medium of the written word, to hold to this standard? Duo has apparently abrogated this responsibility and it should make it clear to its students that it is teaching colloquial, americanised english.


Three corrections. First, DL is teaching French here, not English, and in particular is teaching constructions that make sense in French but are awkward (at best) in English, so a certain amount of leeway with English is called for. Second, 90% of DL's (frequent!) English mistakes have nothing to do with being either colloquial or American. Owlish (the language that Duo seems to speak) bears very little resemblance to actual colloquial American English! Third, concerning the remaining 10%, there's no such thing as "americanised English". American English is not a corruption of British English, just as British English isn't a corruption of American English. They're just two branches of the same tree that diverged 250 years ago, both of which differ greatly from their early modern roots. While DL tries to support both dialects, DL is an American company whose market is more American than British, so naturally the default version of English is American.

Bottom line: I share your frustration with the low quality of DL's English translations. This is also a problem with staff-produced content in other languages, particularly the massive recent expansions of the EN => Spanish tree. But Owlish isn't colloquial English or American English. It's just bad English.


I entered this "Inutile essayer d'echapper; c'est ferme a cle", which is wrong, ..but got this - You have a typo. Inutile dessayer de séchapper, c' est fermé à clé.


I've gotten three of these so far, where spaces are left out, or apostrophes are missing. Is ANYONE proofreading this stuff?


I received the same today and wondered about it.


"Trying to escape is futile; it's locked!"

That's more like it!

..."it" being the French original that lacks a subject.


Why not "fermée"? Could the thing that is locked not be feminine (e.g., porte, cage)? That was the only difference between my sentence and the one Duo says is correct.


Only if the second part of your sentence was « ... elle est fermée » ; you always use the masculine after « c'est » ! :)


What is the precise grammatical rule that mandates the two "de"s?


Same reason there are two "to"s in the English:

  • "useless to" = « inutile de »
  • "try to" = « essayer de »


How do you write s'echapper if there is no s' available. In any case it would be t'echapper !


My sentence is as right as duo's. Why is wrong?


Next time copy & paste and someone can see if they can identify an error you missed! :)

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