"She talks only about him when she is with us."

Translation:Elle ne parle que de lui quand elle est avec nous.

July 14, 2020

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I'm confused. So, the other sentence in this exercise was "Il ne voyait sa petite amie que le dimanche". Therefore, wouldn't that make this sentence "Elle ne parle de lui que quand elle est avec nous"? Please advise :D


No, it's not the same :

Elle ne parle que de lui quand elle est avec nous => when she is with us her only topic is him.

Elle ne parle de lui que quand elle est avec nous => she never speaks about him except when she is with us (and it does not necessarily means a lot).


Many thanks for taking the time to explain!


Thanks. I wondered how to say the alternative meaning.


The English sentence is ambiguous here because it could mean both: when she is with us, all she does is talking about him; the only moments when she talks about him is when she is with us. The first one makes more sense, so that is what the French translation says, but the other one (which you wrote) would be technically correct.


My poor brain can't cope ;o Thank you.


I disagree, to me the English is unambiguous. It all depends on where 'only' is placed as it lays the restriction on what immediately follows it. As does 'que' in the French. Here, it means he is her only topic of conversation when she is with us. Whether she talks about him when with other people can't be inferred from this.

In fact, I reckon there are six different places you could put 'only' in the English sentence with five different meanings (two of them in effect being the same). Because I believe there are limitations on where the 'que' can go in the 'ne ... que' construction, French would probably have to find a different way of saying eg 'Only she talks about him...' or 'she only talks about him when ...', probably involving 'seulement'. In each case, in English, there would be a different, unambiguous meaning, and I presume the same in French however the sentence is constructed.

[deactivated user]

    Well said, BrianBoru4 -- have a lingot. BTW, "Elle seule..." translates to "Only she..."


    Sorry, but I think you are wrong. It is not so much about the placement of "only" as it is about emphasis. That is, how the sentence is spoken.

    I see it this way:

    She talks only about him (and nobody else) when she is with us. (Emphasis on "him")


    She talks only about him when she is with us (and at no other time). (Emphasis on "us")

    Here's an amusing example: I didn't take my umbrella because it was raining. (Did I take my umbrella? Can you be sure?)

    EDIT added later:

    A better example: I didn't go to the cinema because it was raining. (It's ambiguous, unless you know where the emphasis lies.)


    These two sentences seem like a crafty plan to confuse the student


    Yes, I answered incorrectly several times before I clued in on the difference between "she only talks..." and "she talks only..."


    This is ridiculous!! Help! I put in the correct answer. I am marked wrong and given an alternative, which is marked wrong. I put in the given answer, which is the correct one I originally put, but that is wrong??? Six times this has happened - and the rest of the sentence is correct so it's not that. I can't progress until this is sorted. ARGH!!!


    there are 2 phrases in this exercise:

    "She talks about him only when she is with us." Translation: Elle ne parle de lui que quand elle est avec nous. AND

    "She talks only about him when she is with us." Translation: Elle ne parle que de lui quand elle est avec nous.

    While I understand the distinction between the 2 phrases, putting them together like this is reprehensible on Duo`s part. It is confusing and not helpful to learning. FIX IT PLEASE

    [deactivated user]

      I disagree that this is “reprehensible”; putting the different sentences in the same exercise forces us to slow down & actually consider how to express two similar but slightly different thoughts.

      [deactivated user]

        We can't help if you don't copy & paste your answer here!


        Which is correct - 'Elle ne parle que de lui quand elle est avec nous' or 'Elle ne parle de lui que quand elle est avec nous'? Both get marked incorrect, with the other being the suggested answer. Can't finish the lesson and will have to quit and lose progress. Please can this be fixed?

        [deactivated user]

          Your first example is correct, so there must have been a typo somewhere in your answer


          Thanks for confirming which is correct. I do have a screenshot which proves correct answer was marked wrong, with wrong answer then given as correct answer. Looks as though Anne212350 had same problem


          elle parle juste de lui lorsqu'elle est avec nous -> ok


          Anyone would be likely to be confused if you said any of these English versions - this discussion thread is the evidence!

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