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  5. "Que faire ?"

"Que faire ?"

Translation:What is to be done?

September 12, 2014

99 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VidaAudrey

Is "what to do" also correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PatrickJaye

@VidaAudrey

I don't know if "what to do?" is officially accepted by DL but it should be.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VidaAudrey

Thanks. I figured they must accept it as well :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/satwai

Maybe they "must" accept it, but they didn't accept it when I wrote it just now.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rachel832809

what to do? duolingo accepted now<sub>~</sub> it is the correct answer


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shalfyard

They accepted this for me on Oct 21 2014.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cgjour

"What to do?" is NOT correct English. It has no finite verb,* only an infinitive, so it is a sentence fragment. You will see it often, especially in sloppy journalistic writing and blog posts, but it is not correct and it is also not used in speech. (Nobody would ever say "What to do about this?" They would say "What do I do about this?" or "What should we/they/etc. do about this?"

A few questions later in the multiple choice version of this question, the English suggested by DuoLingo for this sentence is "What is to be done?" which is another correct way of expressing the question in a complete sentence using proper grammar.

*Refer to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finite_verb for examples and a fuller explanation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Enkidu12

As you have stated "cgjour", it is not ostensibly correct English, but it is, however, a phrase that many people say. Perhaps not in your region of the world, but in Western PA, one often encounters an individual mumbling to themselves in a platitudinous moment of boredom, "What to do?", which is, in my mind, a contraction of "What am I to do?".

Additionally, I should add, your entire point is based on the rationale that correct English is the thing with which we are dealing, when, in fact, this is conversational French, and anyone with a brain at least rivaling that of a bass would see that quite frequently people do not apply the seemingly proper, standard English in conversation. No one says, "From where are you?"; everyone says, "Where are you from?" Now, if given this phrase in French to translate to English, do you think that they would condemn an individual for translating it as "Where are you from?" rather than "From where (or whence) are you?"? Absolutely not!

I suggest that you take a more open mind to English and to propriety in general. Do not allow the long-instituted and ever-changing guise of "Standard English Grammar" distract you from the purpose of language itself: to express and communicate.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/powergary

Thank you Cal Hockley. I said "What to do" and it was accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/schiffmeister

This is not correct English. Never say it. I don't even know what they mean by it. The English sentence is a direct translation, but is essentially meaningless.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Argimak

People do say "what to do" though. At least, they do here in the UK.

"Incorrect" by grammatical standards doesn't mean incorrect by usage.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/schiffmeister

I would say it's wrong in grammar and usage. You might hear it as someone questioning themselves about what they want to do, but I would wager you wouldn't often hear anyone say "what to do" in normal speech. Esp American English. Never heard it from British friends either, but I'm no expert on BE.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/b.eazy

Just to chime in, 10 months later, I've heard "what to do" quite often. Granted, it's usually used as a question posed to yourself, but it isn't uncommon. At least in loose American english.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/schiffmeister

I agree it could concievably be used in an abstract context. I have no problem with that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Argimak

It's uncommon, that's for sure. It feels like something you'd hear as a soliloquy in a play or children's show. Like, something bad happens to the main character and they'll maybe say to themselves "oh, what to do, what to do".

Either way, I've heard it used like that, whether it's grammatically correct or not. But I have to say, it probably shouldn't be accepted here given how obscure the usage is.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/schiffmeister

Yes. That's exactly what I'm trying to say. I think sometimes we get caught up thinking a literal translation is a great option, but we should aim for the best meaning or things native speakers actually say. A soliloquy is where I've always heard it (although I can picture toddlers saying it as well).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shalfyard

Quick someone from the internet has told us not to say things. Let's all listen to this random person that knows all.

Seriously though, I use it more as a question to myself. Looking at several things to do in my basement so I might say out loud "what to do... hmmmm".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/schiffmeister

Sorry for trying to help. Glad you feel comfortable using it. I still wouldn't in public. Secondly, longstanding grammar rules in the English language are not "someone on the internet".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shalfyard

Not a heavily used sentence in general... If at all. Shockingly Duo gives us stuff we may never use... but it gives us a particular structure of how to use the language. Last I checked, I'm not a dead bird that eats butter with an empty pocket while holding a single sock.

I would dare say that a longstanding grammar rule doesn't always dictate "never use this" but rather "usage of this is frowned upon". Never say never was the main point.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/schiffmeister

Agreed. But I don't walk around saying "I am an apple" because it's grammatically ok, and others because it's not. I think the appropriate response to seeing a sentence that native english speakers say is wholly unnatural is "how can I use a similar sentence naturally or find the right sentence"?

Good luck Duoing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rachel832809

i know you guys may be have strong conversation here about the " what to do" can say that or not. I can smell the fire here. but the thing is this argument is great!

That's my personal idea:

Language grows with the culture, it is the tool for people using it. for example, "google it", we say it everyday, but is google, a verb? the answer is no, right~~ but we use it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/schiffmeister

You are correct that language grows and changes over time! I also see your point, but if you're going to go by the grammarian standpoint, then "Google it" is totally standard. "To google" is a transitive verb in the English language, and has been for many years, thanks to our culture. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/google


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rachel832809

That's interesting~~i just know that "google" is collected by Merriam- Webster. Thank you for sharing!

" Definition of GOOGLE"

"transitive verb : to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marcotonio

On the Internet, people will go as far as saying "w(h)at do". :P

It's not correct, but the meaning is the same as the French sentence. So, if you are looking for a proper translation, it's wrong. If you're looking to understand the meaning, though, "what to do" is spot-on.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/schiffmeister

I don't know what the obsession with "people have done it on the internet" is. "What do" is grammatically, stylistically, and auditorily atrocious. If you used it on Reddit or Imgur, you'd never hear the end of it.

I would recommend working towards CORRECT grammar rather than strange anomalies that you've noticed on the internet.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marcotonio

I don't know what your obsession with denying something grammatically wrong can make sense to people is. But you've got quite a lot of replies for that, so color me equally intrigued.

I guess just as using incorrect language can get a message delivered, focusing in the wrong point of a matter can keep the debate going and new people taking part in it.

I would recommend working towards CORRECT approaches on people who are just pointing at facts. Notice I haven't agreed or disagreed with any usage, as didn't other people, but here you are teaching us what we already know.

What to do, then? Well, I for one will leave it be, happy studying. Here's a lingot.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KCoughlin025

Not a bad phrase if I want to talk about the 1863 novel by Nikolai Chernyshevsky, the 1883 essay by Leo Tolstoy or the 1905 political pamphlet by Vladimir Lenin. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobbazKing

Lenin's pamphlet is the best.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lashan.r

Literal translation: "What do?" I love french.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/littleowlalexa

What you say whenever a person dies on Harry Potter...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AaronCuret1

Anyone else think of Vladimir Lenin, Anyone? No? okay... :P


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Archie2252

"The goal of Socialism is Communism" Lol How does "Que faire" refer to Lenin?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AaronCuret1

One of his most popular books is titled "What is to be done?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Archie2252

Oh wow... never heard of it. I also never knew any of Lenin's books


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alexbum

What sort of context would this be used in? Like "what shall we do?" or "what needs to be done?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jdlillyiii

That's how I read it, but sometimes Duo doesn't make perfect sense, they may have just put this phrase together to demonstrate this case for the infinitive, it may not be language that's commonly used.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WayneH4

It's not 'What needs to be done" since that's what I wrote and it was marked wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SHEmerman

Is "What is there to do?" a possible translation?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/contrl

This is a very awkward and seemingly obscure sentence, at least its English translation. I say this because any native English speaker can attest that asking "What is to be done?" sounds forced and unfamiliar in casual context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shalfyard

I like using "what to do"... Not as clunky or forced.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrittanyRo14

Is there a more natural translation? Or situation? I love duolingo, but it's just that these phrases aren't that practical for everyday conversation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fufan46

I agree. Would I be right in drawing a parallel here with "n'est-ce pas", which has no one-size fits all translation into English, but can mean "is he?" "do they?" "isn't it?" etc etc depending on context. A non-native English speaker can often be identified when they use this construction always as "isn't it?".

Although I can see that this sentence does not specify the doer, would I be right to translate this as "what can we do?" or "what will he do?" if the context supported it? I'd be interested to hear from French speakers.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sir_Carl

As soon as I read this sentence, I was reminded of this Warcraft III quote: "What needs revealing?" -Shade


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sir_Carl

And my response was:

"Well, so far Duolingo has shown its vegetables and cake, so I dunno what else there is....


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pierre.texas

Never heart anybody say "what is to be done" but more common "what has to be done" or" what to do " both not good for Duo Lingo , maybe I have been living in Texas for too long


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Phrontistery

"What can I do?" was marked incorrect. I just imagined everyone around me busy with the cooking, cleaning, etc. and I asked "Well, what can I do???" But, "What can I do?" is incorrect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dave2022

Que faire, que faire? Ah! Hey Ferb! Je sais ce que nous allons faire adjourd'hui!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/biopatase

Can't this also mean "what do you do"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/weavboo

Definitely no. "What do you do" is "Que fais-tu" in formal french, "Qu'est-ce que tu fais" in a more classical french and "Tu fais quoi?" in an incorrect yet spoken french.

Literally, "Que faire?" means "What to do?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pluureng

Actually « Que faites-vous » in formal French.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/schiffmeister

"what to do" is meaningless in English. What is the real translation?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/weavboo

"What has to be done?", "What can (we/I) do?", something in those lines. I was just roughly translating word by word.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/schiffmeister

Thanks. Not knowing the French, I had a hard time trying to see what the course makers were even going for with "what to do".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/georgeoftruth

Not exactly. You would need a pronoun (tu or vous) to signify "you."

"Que tu fais?" or "Qu'est-ce que vous faites?" or the very informal "Tu fais quoi?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marebelo

Why not "what to prepare?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/melissapleasance

I answered "What needs to be done" and it wasn't accepted. Can someone explain why my answer is not accepted? Where I am from it is more common to say "what needs to be done" over the DL translation "what is to be done". Maybe I'm totally missing meanings here. Hahah thanks in advance! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shalfyard

Wouldn't "what needs to be done" translate to "Que doit faire" or something? Since "que faire" doesn't have any form of "need" in it. Can't just add words that aren't there... At least not in most cases for Duolingo usage.

I prefer the use of "what to do" for this one. Much more common... and a little less "ye olde english"y.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jdlillyiii

I agree with shalfyard. Also you're getting into more complex tenses that haven't been covered up to this point. I don't even know how that would be, grammatically. You have infinitive, to be, as this lesson covers it, past, done, but you're also implying future with the fact that an action yet to occur has to.... I don't know maybe I'm thinking too hard on it. If someone can clear that up for me I would be ecstatic.

EDIT: I just realized the given solution is What is to be done?, I entered What to do?. So I really have no idea.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IgorHenriqueA

"What do you do", why not?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/georgeoftruth

See more comments above. Your question has been answered.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kjabo

do they accept "what should we do?" since that conveys the same meaning?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shalfyard

That's a pretty different sentence from what is here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/margaritaguese

Could someone French please use the que faire in context so I can understand really what it is used to mean? I don't know how it means all of these diferent things! haha


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shalfyard

I'm not French but I would assume... "Je ne sais pas que faire" could work fine for "I don't know what to do"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/margaritaguese

right but just this phrase?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shalfyard

Well it means "what to do"... So, where would you use it? French and English aren't THAT far off that this would be used so far out of the English context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lverno321

Is "What do we do" correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MrMayor02

It sounds too much like "que frere"...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shalfyard

That might be a stretch to hear a rouge "r" sound where there is none...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/klimbaugh

Why not "What's happening?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LizTewo

If I were to translate, "what's happening?" I would say, "qu'est-ce qui se passe?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IvyDupre

We must rid ourselves of him. It must done.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Archie2252

I put "What to be made". I got wrong, any help please?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sarahpack...

Faire is to do. If you are making something, this could be translated as to make, as in "to make a cake," or "faire un gateau". When you say it without a subject, as in "que faire," it means to do. The translation of "que faire" is roughly "what to do".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Archie2252

Ahh... just realized the difference :) Thanks...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tibbinator

...nous pouvons avoir des enfants


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thayin

Why is 'What is to be made' not acceptable?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elegaic

I say "what do" in (informal) english all the time :| "what is to be done" is so unnecessarily archaic-sounding. disappointed that this isn't accepted...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tomatomay

when can I use this sentence?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamaaH_00

Does "faire" mean do/make?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Archie2252

It's an infinitive. You see the ending -re, just like boire (to drink), construire (to construct), and ecrire (to write). So "faire" is "to do" or "to make" rather than just "do" or "make"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Snailpi.

Why is what is done not correct (is it the tense)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jan848011

Could it also be translated "what is to be made?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/William29406

"Do What?" Is literal and accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/schinkenhals

This still doesn't accept anything beyond "What is 1 to do?" as a correct answer which is utterly ridiculous in my opinion and with the decreased tolerance for mistakes after the latest update really takes the fun out of the experience


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dVMP6

"What else is to be done here?" Sounds better in English and pretty natural too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cuzza99

I agree that this is a possible translation, and should be allowed, but so too should other translations that get used in everyday speech (i.e. outside of highly formal settings). Why shouldn't what to do be accepted?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/InonCohen

Can someone please gove example of when one uses this frase? Either English or French will do. Thanks ahead


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan993271

"what is to be done?" sounds archaic in American English. I'm not saying it's wrong but "what (is there) to do?" sounds more common. Further it is in present tense unlike the "correct" answer.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linda4406

OK, I propose "what can you do?" which I think is how you'd express the idea of this most commonly in American English...but it was (improperly, I think) rejected. So, que faire?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TurianSniper

Could this mean "doing what?" Say, in asking what someone was doing when they got hurt, for example


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nige788085

What to do is accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ninitz08

I wrote "What shall I do?" and it was marked as correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ninitz08

I wrote "What shall I do?" and it was marked correct (Jan 2019)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sybil268060

I put "do what ?" and it is accepted (1/29/19)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RooArtiste

"What is there to do?" would be a more common way to say this in English

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