"There isn't either oil or vinegar in the sauce?"

Translation:Il n'y a ni huile ni vinaigre dans la sauce ?

July 11, 2020

16 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarilynRos7

I don't understand why we don't use articles in this example. ...ni de l'huile ni de la vinaigre...?


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

Ne...ni...ni

Les articles indéfinis et partitifs (un, une, des, du, de la, de l') disparaissent. Les articles définis (le, la, l', les), les adjectifs possessifs, les adjectifs démonstratifs et les prépositions ne changent pas.


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

But "Il n'y a de l'huile ni du vinagre" are among the accepted answers. So, is it an optional thing?


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

Thanks for your answer. I understand the constructions quite well because they’re identical in Spanish - (no) ... ni ... ni ... / no ... ni ....

The difference is that there isn’t the compulsory usage of articles we’ve observed in French. In that respect it behaves almost identical to English.

My question was about the usage with or without the articles partitifs (du, de la, de l', des) and possibly the indéfinis (un, une), which could be, in the case of the latter, a way to emphasise?

Then, in the sentence I gave du is used after a ni.

So, to make sure I understood.
In a double nI … ni … construction only articles définis are allowed.
While in a single ni … construction, partitifs and indéfinis articles are allowed, but usually don’t have to be.

Did I get it right?


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

Merci beaucoup!


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

That is allowed with the Ne...ni construction. Ni is generally used on its own when a negative statement has already been made using some other negative construction, to add another negative.

In order to emphasize the negation, you can use Ne…ni…ni.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Martyn413385

No English-speaking person would use this construction. It may be a literal translation, but it's Duospeak. We might say: Is there any oil or vinegar in the sauce?


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

n'y a-t-il ni huile ni vinaigre dans la sauce ? is fine


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

What would "Il y a ni huile ni vinaigre dans la sauce ?" mean? Is that just a grammatically incorrect sentence?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Martyn413385

Not as far as I'm aware, it simply means ""There is" no oil or vinegar in the sauce?" whereas Duo used "Il n'y a" = "isn't" - which sounds distinctly odd when translated into English.


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

It's not as simple as that.

"Is there neither oil nor vinegar in the sauce?" => "Il n'y a ni huile ni vinaigre dans le sauce ?" (as demonstrated here).

If you are correct, then why doesn't "Il y a ni huile ni vinaigre dans le sauce ?" also mean "Is there neither oil nor vinegar in the sauce?"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Martyn413385

Perhaps the problem here is the way that Duo has structured the question and has also assumed that this is a spoken statement where the query is implied by raising the voice at the end, rather than a written question where it might be stated differently.

If you reverse "There is" to "Is there" and back-translate "Is there neither oil not vinegar in the sauce?" then the French form would probably be "N’y a-t-il ni huile ni vinaigre dans la sauce?" - which may also be more natural French - but I'm only learning too!


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

And then my question becomes: what does "Y a-t-il ni huile ni vinaigre dans la sauce ?" mean, or is that a grammatically incorrect sentence?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Martyn413385

Well, I don't know. If you put either version "N'y a-t-il.." or "Y a-t-il.." into Reverso and Collins they both give the same answer for both, ie: "Is there no oil or vinegar in the sauce?" - I'm going to bow out here and leave it to a French expert! Bonne chance!


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

I think that it must be grammatically incorrect, because otherwise the "ne" would be optional, but I'm seeking confirmation.

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