"He had a secret, and he didn't tell me it."

Translation:Il avait un secret, et il ne me le disait pas.

July 21, 2020

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I'm puzzled about why "disait" (the imperfect) is used here. If you have a secret and tell someone, you only need to do it once - it's not an ongoing process in the past.


I think because it's negative. To tell would be a one time event, but not telling seems more ongoing.


I have the same question. Unfortunately I got it wrong for a stupid reason. I wrote "Il avait un secret, mais il ne me l'a pas raconté." (I was careless and didn't read the English sentence carefully.)

When I got it the second time I wrote "Il avait un secret, et il ne me l'a pas raconté" and it was accepted. So the compound past tense works, although that still doesn't say why they prefer the imperfect mood.


I think the two clauses occur within the same duration or time period. So the two verbs need to be the same verb tense. He knew the secret (every time he was talking to me) and he wasn't telling the secret (every time he was talking to me).


So the two verbs need to be the same verb tense

Not really, in this case. Il avait un secret, et il ne me l'a pas dit would be possible (and would sound even more natural to me than Duo's sentence, but with no context, it's hard to tell.)


"NO CONTEXT" is an ongoing consistency throughout this app. Duo expects the learner to be a mind-reader.


"Il avait un secret et il ne me l'a pas dit" was accepted today (7th March 2021)


Why not "le me disait"? It doesn't matter which way round I put the pronouns, I'm always wrong


The word order is tricky because the indirect object (me here) can come either before (for me, te, se, nous, vous) or after (for lui, leur) the direct object (le). It's natural for a native speaker, but I guess it doesn't seem to make any sense for a learner.
I hope this diagram will help:

Link: Declarative sentences and word order in French on lingolia


Thank you so much. This chart is one of the most useful comments ive ever seen on here.


Brilliant, thank you.


I remember the order like this: 1. All the object pronouns that are similar to reflexive pronouns. 2. The rest of the direct object pronouns (COD). 3. The rest of the indirect object pronound (COI). 4. Y and en (coexisting only in Il (n')y en a/avait/aura/... (pas)). J'espère que ça vous aidera !


Great chart and link!


Thanks so much for the chart. Most helpful!


Great shame. Link fails to work. Date: 12 Feb '21.


Worked for me on 19th Feb 2021...I wonder if it's a browser issue? I used safari


Very helpful. A useful reminder of something


I'll be the dummy...I don't understand this chart in the slightest.


... and he didn't tell it to me



il avait un secret et il ne me l'a pas dit


"Il a eu un secret et il ne me l'a pas raconté." Also accepted


Why "me" but not "moi"? It is dire à qqn (dis-moi)


I think it's because you use "moi" without the object "le".


No, the imperative mood, as in Ofer862867's example, would be dis-le moi, or dis-moi ton secret, so it has nothing to do with le.


Il avait un secret, et il ne me l'a raconté pas

Want to know what the error in the above sentence


I think it is "... il ne me l'a pas raconté".


"il avait un secret et il ne me le racontait pas" was accapted


"Il a eu un secret et il ne me l'a pas dit" was accepted.


Is it essential that the subject pronoun ('il') is repeated in the second part of the sentence? i.e. is "Il avait un secret, et ne me le disait pas" considered wrong or maybe poor style?


It would be absolutely correct.


"me le disait" seems quite a lot inside the "ne -- pas" bookends. Is it unusual in that... err.. idiomatic?

Sorry if this is a stupid question. I am finding the so-called easy stages of this section quite hard going.


Pronouns (me le) can come between ne... pas. That is standard.


Thanks. I am grateful..

I have had a lot of help in this forum page this evening. Sincere thanks to all.


I was careless and wrote, ... et il ne me le dit pas. Accepted. Should I report it, or is it a correct option?


Il ne me le dit pas can be either the present tense or the simple past. It is correct as well, although not natural in spoken language.


Why not "il a eu un secret et il ne me le disait pas"?


Hi, I translated well this sentence and Duo notices me wrong, why ?

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