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

Can "Je suis" stand alone?

For example;

"Who is taking out the trash?" "I am."

September 16, 2014

21 Comments


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

There's something here no one mentioned yet. In English, you can say "I am" because the question uses the verb "to be" (Who is taking...). This is not the way one would express this question in French. The progressive tenses don't have a proper equivalent in French (one needs an adverbial construction which is much less used than the progressive in English : être en train de + infinitive). The French way to ask this is : Qui sort les vidanges ?. To which one could answer : Moi (Me), Je le fais / Je vais le faire (I'm doing it / I'll do it) or Je les sors/ Je vais les sortir (I'm taking them out / I'll take them out). You simply can't answer to a question that was asked using a verb with a completely different verb (an action verb changed to a state verb for example), in any language.

September 16, 2014

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

Not really. You can't translate this word-for-word (you can seldomly do that). In French, you could say simply moi.

September 16, 2014

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

So you don't say: Je pense, donc je suis?

September 16, 2014

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

Descartes a dit aussi « Je pense, donc j'existe »

September 16, 2014

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

That's exactly what I thought about when I saw the question :) very specific case but a proof that "être" is not always transitive

September 16, 2014

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

Thanks guys! Transitive...that was the property I was thinking of...

September 16, 2014

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

Good question!

September 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Prado39

No. Être is a transitive verb, it requires a complement. It is better, instead of "Je suis", you use "Moi".

September 16, 2014

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

Être is listed as intransitive in every dictionary I've checked. Isn't Je suis the the most general answer to the question: what are you doing?

September 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DXLi
Mod

    It depends on whom you ask, but I'd say that être is neither transitive nor intransitive. It's a copula. I don't want to go into it, but there's an explanation here.

    Je suis is not a complete sentence in French, but transitivity has nothing to do with it.

    September 16, 2014

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

    thanks

    September 16, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    • 1998

    Je pense, donc, je suis.

    It can be a complete sentence.

    March 14, 2017

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

    Grammatical terminology differs between langauges, between perspectives (linguistic, pedagogical, etc.), between time periods. But the verb to be in English is usually considered to be followed by a subject complement, not an object, so it wouldn't be considered transitive. At least that's the most typical terminology in English teaching.

    September 17, 2014

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

    On the contrary: être is the copula (strictly speaking neither transitive nor intransitive), which for all practical purposes can be considered intransitive. A transitive verb can take a direct object. "To be" cannot--it expresses (a) equivalency or existence, or (b) is used as an auxiliary in cases like "I am taking out the trash." I see you have studied some German. You must have noticed that in a sentence like "I am a man/the teacher/your friend," all the words are in the nominative case.

    The reason that English used "I am" in the example given by OP is, as BastouXII pointed out, because it echoes the use of "to be" as an auxiliary in the question "Who IS taking out the trash?" Since French does not use this construction in the question, it does not use it in the answer either. It is perfectly correct to have "je suis" stand alone as a declaration of existence. "Je pense, donc je suis" is of course the most famous example.

    September 18, 2014

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

    Amazing explanation. Thank you....Your answer does seem to imply equivalence in French with regard to être.

    In that case; would this be correct?

    "Es-tu rouge?"

    "Oui, je suis."

    "Es-tu John?"

    "Oui, je suis."

    I'm not entirely sure why but my gut feeling is to make them correct you have to repeat the object.

    "Oui, je suis rouge/John"

    If you could clarify that would be incredible. Thanks!

    September 18, 2014

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

    As I said to Coby_Hughes down below, yes, you have to repeat the object / subject (depending how you see that, since être is a copula). But you can replace it with a pronoun. In your examples, it would make the answers Oui, je le suis.

    September 18, 2014

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

    The best translation would be "C'est moi"

    September 17, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MadameMary15

    Oh cool, this was well explanatory!

    September 17, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MadameMary15

    I always use to refer to myself as "Moi" and had know idea that it was even French for "me." Now that I do, I find it even more fascinating! <3

    September 17, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jmango512

    yes it can but then again it all depends on where your from.

    October 8, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jmango512

    but now that I think about it, it's not a complete sentence .

    October 8, 2014
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