1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Le zoo se visite de mars à o…

"Le zoo se visite de mars à octobre."

Translation:It is possible to visit the zoo from March to October.

May 22, 2013



Note that "se visiter" is a passive construction, meaning that "The zoo is visited . . ." Another example is "Ce livre se lit souvent," which translates to "This book is often read."


Sometimes I wonder if some of these reflexive and passive verbs are overcomplicating things. It seems just as easy to say the zoo is open for visitors from March to October. For a learner (me) it just seems unnecessarily formal.

Edit: Ahhh, this was such a long time ago :-)


Moreover, we are still to be introduced by Duolingo to past tense let alone passive voice.


Unfortunately/fortunately, there is a lot more "passé composé" and passive verb use to come!


So how and why do you feel differently now?


The reflexive seems very confusing. Verbs I never knew to be reflexive are now reflexive and now there are different types of reflexive. It's hit and miss for me (more miss than hit).


I'm not sure what you mean by different types of reflexive?


You said it was a passive form. Did I misinterpret something?


I see what you mean.

This link maybe help, but its essentially a way of using a non-reflexive verb on a passive impersonal subject.

For example, if saying: The loo flushes itself, the verb for "flush" (rincer) can be used reflexively to describe the action being done unto the subject (the loo).

So it becomes "cette toilettes se rince". Does this help?


@sabrah786 Here's the long link http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/frenchpassive_2.htm. Remember, the reflexive verb denotes the action of the subject upon itself - il se lave ... He washes himself - not the verb acting upon itself. Whilst some verbs, like se laver are intrinsically reflexive, when using a main verb with an impersonal subject - typically using such pronouns as "il, cela, ceci... etc" - the reflexive form of that verb can be used to describe what is being done to the subject. So, as an example, we can say "this car is (being) driven quickly" by saying "cette voiture se conduit rapidement". The subject is the car but the verb "conduire" is in a reflexive form as we've used the impersonal pronoun "cette" and the subject is being acted upon (reflexive).


@sabrah786 (I can't reply directly to you):

The road ends two kilometres from here.

La rue se termine à deux kilometres d'ici.

It's not "the road ends itself" in English, but if there is no object for the verb, sometimes we must use the reflexive form in French. The road is causing the end of something else. It is what is ending.



While trying to understand how the Duo example of the photographers are interested in the animals could be reflexive, I did a lot of looking at comments, various links etc.

Some verb applications qualify as reflexive because they can act on the subject. But that didn't explain some other uses like the one in this post.

My conclusion is that including a reflexive pronoun in front of a verb which otherwise couldn't be reflexive is intended to draw attention to the subject. Putting se in front of intéressé changes it. Se acts like someone waving a flag and saying ...hey look, the photographers are interested in the animals. Like everyone else has been for a long time, but now they are finally getting interested.........

Se makes the photographers being interested important. Without se, it's that they are interested in animals that is important.

In English, we would just tone of voice to accomplish the same thing. That is not so easy to do in print. That is why I had to put photographer in bold type in the previous sentence. In French, I just throw the appropriate pronoun in front of the verb and suddenly the verbs action is reflected closer to the subject.

I said earlier that this is my conclusion. My conclusion may well be wrong. But it has helped me in understanding Duo's use of the reflexive.


Meg, I think its necessary to distinguish between reflexive verbs used with personal pronouns and passive reflexive verbs. Sarah may not otherwise get the subtle difference in usage.


From what I remember a reflexive verb is one that the action is done to itself. Eg. S' asseoir (I am not sure if I spelled it correctly) however if saying you sit down vous -assez vous, that means you seat yourself. So where I seem to get confused is like in the verb terminer because it doesn't end itself. I tried clicking on the link but it wouldn't open (I am on a cell phone but get the emails on my computer. Tried to log on on the computer and it wouldn't let me access it through the email I use for this.


Your example here seems very simple and obvious: the reflexive construction of the question in French suggests that the zoo visits itself!


But one of the possible solutions says "it is possible to visit / can be visited" which is very different from "is visited." How do we tell the difference? Is it just context?


My advice for you is that, until your learning advances to a stage where you can understand all the permutations fairly easily, for the time being apply the one that makes most sense to you and learn this as a default.

My default here was "is visited", Wherever I see a reflexive verb used in a passive impersonal voice (no personal pronouns or object), I favour this approach.


So why "is open" instead of "is opened"?


I swear. the audio sounded like oiseau not zoo.


Agreed, the audio for this is awful.


That's what I wrote! The birds visit in march and october. Bad audio indeed!


I could not figure it out. I listened to it slowly a bunch of times. The word zoo is pronounced with two syllables! I completely thought I'd get it wrong, because it made no sense, but the program accepted le zoro, thinking it was a typo.


Agreed. I listened to it a dozen or more times...it was awful!


Why can't I say "The zoo is open from March to October"? Does it have to be that strict a translation?


I agree with this, this makes more sense in English. No-one would say the zoo is visited from March to October, possibly, "the zoo can be visited from March to October" would be better


the zoo can be visited from March to October is now accepted.


What here implies the "it is possible to..."/"one can..."? Is there simply a new form?


I think, "one can" should better be translated by "On peut". But yes, passive form in French can be translated by a lot of ways in english.

Personnally, I'd use:

"The zoo can be visited from March to October". It's much closer to the French passive form than "It's possible".


'The zoo is open from March to October' also works.


Is: "One visits the zoo from March to October". .. another possible translation?


i wrote that and it was accepted


However, at this writing (10Jan15), they do not accept "You visit the zoo from March to October"


Ah, thank you.

While it's not exactly the most natural sounding in English, I like this because it seems to be more true to the French, whilst still making sense in English.


Pourquoi pas "The zoo can be visited March through October?"


Bgs51225 - you're sentence would be understood by anyone I know. Some people would put a "from" between "visited" and "March" but not everybody. As a native English speaker, I'd say yours is as good as anybody else's.


But it isn't. Its not just about the preposition. The meaning of his sentence is different to "the zoo is visited from..." The issue here is whether the French translates to this English sentence. My reply alludes to the fact that it doesn't in so much as the verbs for "can" and "is" are different.


My French isn't that strong, so I'm not sure where the "is" verb is in the French sentence, but the DL translation is "It is possible to visit..." which, for me, can also be said as "One can visit..." or "The zoo can be visited...".

Now, I totally agree that there is a difference between "The zoo IS visited.." and "It is possible to visit the zoo" so if you think that the former is right, then you should have a problem with the DL translation as much as Bgs's.

What I don't understand is if the translation of "It is possible to..." is correct, where does that come from in the French statement. I know your French is pretty solid, Runakom, could you help? Thanks.


Hmmm, must admit I've only seen *the zoo is visited... * in this exercise which makes sense to me. Se visiter is the passive verb form "to visit" (false reflexive). I suppose "it is possible to visit" also works, although I'd choose pouvoir instead. This thread hints at the meaning of "it is possible..."

Maybe context decides the best option. Par exemple - "Casa Xanxo est un bel hôtel particulier de style gothique à Perpignan... elle appartient aujourd'hui à la ville et se visite gratuitement." - it could be either "is" or "can be".

Perhaps I should re-adjust my own thinking to accept the possibility of a more flexible translation, as I'm struggling to find any clearer reference.


Mon dieu, we are all such language geeks!


Yeah, that's funny. I've never thought of myself as a language geek. I know some of my friends would laugh at that too. But here I am arguing points and talking trash. Here's a lingot for making me smile.


Why: "The zoo's visit is from March to October" is wrong?


Hi Karolina. That's wrong. What you wrote doesn't make much sense. One can "take a visit to the zoo" or "pay a visit to the zoo." http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/dictionary/visit_2


Why is "visit the zoo from March to October" not acceptable?


That's the imperative conjugation and would be either "Visite le zoo de mars à octobre" or "Visitez le zoo de mars à octobre".


I don't understand this one, can someone further to explain please.


can you say instead: le zoo on visite de mars a octobre?


I don't think so. Since "le zoo" is the direct object of the verb "visite" I think you would have to say "On visite le zoo de mars à octobre" meaning "One visits the zoo from March to October" OR "Le zoo; on le visite de mars à octobre" meaning "The zoo: one visits it from March to October."

But I'm the same level as you at the time of writing this, so I'd love it if one more person could confirm that this understanding is correct!


Ahhhh, Duolingo, yet another crazy translation... (I got it correct, mind you, but when i read the other possible translations, i couldnt help but feel how frustrating it must be for people who are still new to the language to wrap their brain around the translation duolingo suggests


How does It is possible to visit the zoo translate fom Le zoo se visiite?


le zoo and l'oiseau sound the same to me


for the life of me i can't understand the speaker


Duo gives us 2 translations for each verb in present tense: one in present and another in present continuous. So why "the zoo is being visited " is wrong?


Le zoo ce visiter de mars à octobre, Why is it not correct


Because ce means this or these ...


Mars????? in French March is May....................is Mars french??


I think you need to have another look...


Why wouldn't it be le zoo est visité


Se visité (click) is a reflexive verb.


What does se means ?


So "The zoo opens from March to October" is unacceptable?


I think the nuance is being missed a bit. Its not about whether its open or closed. Its about whether it can be visited. To some, there isn't any practical difference - if its open, it can be visited right?

But given a bit more context, one could make an example where using one phrase is certainly preferable over the other:

"Although open all year round, generally, the zoo is visited from March to October"

We should also recognise that we're putting ourselves in the shoes of a French speaker, so our first task should be understanding the French meaning before finding the best English translation to suit.

Of course, it is also true that most need to translate such phrases into their home language to understand the meaning, but it would serve newer learners better to try to imagine the nuance of the French phrases rather than desperately attempting to seamlessly fit this into their conception of English.


Following your explanation "is visited" should be "is visitable". Anyway "is visited" means something that is already done, in French " a été visité".


"Visitable" and "can be visited" share a similar notion (although "visitable" is the adjective form).

As for "is visited" being past tense, again I disagree. It would be more suitable as l'imparfait, not passé composé. In any event, its a reflexive verb, with the reflexive part simply emphasising that the "Zoo" is the subject here.

There's no reason imo to invent "ouvrir" here. For starters, you wouldn't use the reflexive form of this verb in this case. So for these reason, it is my view that the given translation is more accurate and preferable than "is open".


Thanks to both of you for your responses.


I agree, the words "se visite" has not a perfect translation in English and it should be considered the sense of the sentence. In this case there is a wide range of possibilities. In my opinion "se visite" = "to open" is a very good translation. The proposed "is visited" is a bad meaning.


Respectfully, I disagree (see my comment below).


The zoo visits itself from March to October. What a clever zoo. I wonder what it does with itself for the rest of the year.

[deactivated user]

    The zoo's visiting hours are from March to October is not valid?


    This is wrong and needs retranslating


    please contributers, do not use such sentences in French because they are typical for french language. Put these expressions in a separate course because it is not the topic of this lesson, thanks. Maybe contributors need some help of specialized developers of education.


    This is a silly example to use or it needs better clues. It is a case of putting a mental red flag alert whenever this pops up to ruin your day. C'est une phrase bete.


    the zoo is open for visiting from......THIS IS CORRECT

    • 1148

    another phrase that doesn't have a literal translation. sigh.

    Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.