"Marie, nous l'avons attendue pendant une heure."

Translation:Marie, we waited for her for an hour.

July 17, 2020

This discussion is locked.


Yes, there's a problem with this sentence. If you're referring to Marie, then it's attendue, but if you're talking to Marie about waiting for him, then it's attendu. Unfortunately, Duo hasn't picked up on the ambiguity. Aside from that, this is an awful English sentence that would never be used in the sense that Duo means. Too many of these on the latest modules.


I don't think it's an ambiguity in French for native speakers, nor in English for native speakers. But I can see why its tricky for learners of each language, including myself.

This section covers three important grammar points:

  • syntax dislocation,

  • continuing tenses,

  • and participle agreement.

Personally, I'm putting a lot of effort into reading and thinking about these three topics.


I thought it was ambiguous, but my wife says it would be a really awkward way of telling Marie we'd waited for someone else. So if you hear this construction in French, you should assume it's talking about waiting for Marie.


If "we" were waiting for anything/anyone other than Marie, would the sentence say "nous l'avons attendu" instead?


I would tend to say yes, unless the thing/person other than Marie you are waiting for is feminine; then it should still be "attendue". But then I am only a learner as well.


If I understand correctly the past participle needs to agree with the object if the object comes before it in the sentence. So 'Nous avons attendu Marie pendant une heure', but 'Marie, nous l'avons attendue pendant une heure'.


The sentence is ambiguous. Could be addressing Marie, telling her we've waited for someone/something else (presumptively masculine) for an hour.


The translation seems to mean the speaker is telling Marie that they waited an hour for someone else.


No. It's this awkward section where they are introducing the object in a phrase, then showing is how to use object pronouns. You are telling someone else that you waited for Mary.


We waited an hour for her. Who does these translations?


Marie, we waited for her for an hour. Poor English grammar suggest Marie we waited as hour for her = En francais Marie nous l'avons attendue comme heure


I think a typo or two might have snuck in and I'm not sure what you mean. Could you explain it again?


Why is "Marie, we have waited for her for an hour" rejected?


Because “have waited” is present perfect which means you are still waiting, in which case the French would need to be « Marie, on lʼattend depuis une heure » or « Marie, nous lʼattendons depuis une heure. »

The French use the present tense with « depuis » to express that they are still doing something theyʼve been doing, which is why Duo will always translate examples like this using English past tenses. One could say that the present tense plus « depuis » is kind of like the French version of the English present perfect tense, since « avoir » plus a past participle is actually a past tense in French.


I think I'm finally starting to comprehend the verb tenses.

This sentence is written in passé composé tense and uses pendant. It means the action of waiting started and stopped in the past. So, "Marie, je l'ai attendue pendant une heure." ==> "I went downtown and waited an hour for Marie. Then I gave up and came home."

Another sentence used present tense and depuis. "Marie, je l'attends depuis une heure." This means the waiting started in the past and continues into the present. " I have waited an hour for Marie and I'm still downtown waiting. "

I think I got this right, thanks to helpful explanations from ruziskey and a couple others. If not, I hope someone will please correct me!


Thanks! This makes sence, I asked myself the same question. Have a lingot! :)

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