"This zoo was safe; they locked the cages."

Translation:Ce zoo était sûr, ils fermaient les cages à clé.

July 19, 2020

This discussion is locked.


Surely they locked the cages should be ils ont fermé les cages because its a completed action, they are still not locking the cages? If the original sentence was 'the zoo was safe cos they used to lock the cages, then it would be ils fermaient?


I think that the imparfait and the passe compose are both possible. In the first case, the locking of the cages was habitual, in the second case it's referring to a single instance. (Even in the second case, the zoo being safe would still get the imparfait.)


Not 'ils ont fermé' too?


As with the previous comments I feel it should be ils ont fermé.

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As long as it has the "a cle" to show it was locked and not just shut, I agree: Ce zoo etait sur; ils ont ferme les cages a cle. Maybe because it was a regular action of locking the cages every night?


Good point. So it could mean 'they used to lock the cages at night'. In that sense it would be an ongoing action and the imperfect would be correct.


I sent a screen shot of this to my native French tutor in Grenoble, and she would have used the passé composé for the example as given. Since there is no context, i.e., that the locking of the cages was a usual activity, she thinks either translation would be acceptable. Reported 10/7/21.


First, it should be "they HAD locked the cages"; otherwise the cause and the effect in the sentence are confused. Then, it would be interesting to know how the difference between the two tenses would be reflected in the French translation.


"They" is not defined, so shouldn't "on" be acceptable as well since this could be seen as an indefinite subject? There is no reference to previous persons who would be in charge of locking the cages.

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