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  5. "La camionnette que tu as con…

"La camionnette que tu as conduite est en panne."

Translation:The van that you drove is broken down.

July 21, 2020



Duo, you need to drink more coffee, since it seems that you have been sleeping through your English lessons. You can say that a van has broken down (an event), or that it is broken (a condition), but AFAIK, unless it has been disassembled, you can't say that it is broken down. (Maybe there are some regions where people do say that, in which case you might accept it, but there's absolutely no reason to reject "is broken".)


In addition to what Bryce53261 posted, I'll add that "broken-down" is very commonly used as an adjective. (Sometimes I hear "broke-down", but I'd avoid that, myself.)

For example, "Among the items for sale is a broken-down F-150 pickup truck".

Generally speaking, I can imagine saying (say) "My car is broken right now", but that's not what I would normally say.


"The van you have driven is broken." accepted for me 13 March 2020.


I've no idea what a broken van is, unless it is one that is in pieces. If it could not be driven because of some type of failure then it "broke down" in the past. If it has still not been fixed then it is "still broken down". The addition of "still" helps the English understanding. The military use "unserviceable" for something that is not currently working. This might be a better translation of the French, but would not be used in general English conversation. "Kaput" is also a fairly common slang term!


Dear LSadun, - codswallop. I can, and often do, say that my car is broken down. I know this is correct because mine is. Again.


I think we may have determined that "is broken down" is used in places where they say "codswallop".


Is there a (good) reason that "broke down" isn't accepted instead of "is broken down"?


"broke down" implies a single event in the past and if that happened it may have since been fixed. What Duo is probably aiming at is the state of the van still not working. However there's plenty of disagreement on how best to say this in English!


The question is whether the French sentence given can reasonably mean "broke down" as opposed to "is broken down". When Duo rejected my answer, I went to Google translate, and they gave me exactly the same English sentence I had entered.

Admittedly, Google Translate isn't always reliable; hence my asking here.

I don't disagree at all about the difference you mention in English; my question is whether the French sentence can express either one of those.

Thanks for replying, anyway.


OK. I think the answer to your question is probably "no". To say "broke down" (which is in the past) the French would "la camionnette est tombée en panne". I think this is because "en panne" on its own is not a verb but rather the state of the van, whereas "to break down" is a verb, the equivalent of which is "tomber en panne" (probably meaning literally to fall into a state of not working). However I would be happy to bow to superior knowledge.


Has broken down in UK English


My car broke down

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