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"En quoi ça consiste ?"

Translation:What does it consist of?

5 years ago

55 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/fitzpat3

Why not "what is it made of?"

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Valestellarium

As far as I understand, "consist" has not only a material meaning. For instance, in spanish you can say "Mi trabajo consiste en..." which means "my work is to (verb)" and you're not necessarily talking about something that's made of something, but about something that IMPLIES something else.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Farfelu

I said that exactly and got it right.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wunel

My question exactly. I cannot think of a sentence in which you could only use 1 of them.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vha2
vha2
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Absolutely, I think "what is it made of" is a much more widely used phrase in English that "what does it consist of". The only exception I can think of is something like a learning module, which would consist of (for example) verbs and adjectives - not be made of them. Then again, it would be made up of verbs and adjectives (but this is not quite the same). Anyway, both answers should be correct! :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pursernick

Except we shouldn't be ending sentences with prepositions. He said being picky!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neverfox

Why not? It's a completely counterfeit grammar rule that's mainly the result of an 18th century revisionist English textbook writer's desire to impose onto English how prepositions were handled in Latin, because he knew a lot about Latin and very little about the history of English or linguistics. Despite being highly influential on English teachers since, the rule is wrong. Why? Because it fails to accurately describe the systematic way that people speak and write English, which, then and now, includes split infinitives, dangling prepositions, etc.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GrasshopperPie

You're probably familiar with Winston Churchill's (albeit apocryphal) response to an editor who had rearranged one of Churchills sentences in order to keep the prepositions where he thought they belonged: “This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put.”

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tom-Morgan
Tom-Morgan
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This just made my day.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmyOrange

'What does it consist in?' does not make sense in English...does it?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bonnie.sjoberg

En does not mean "in" it more closely translates to "of" in this sentence.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LJSulli
LJSulli
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Also, consists in is correct english (and probably should be accepted here):

Consist in means “is inherent in or lies within”, e.g., his success consists in being able to work hard.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GrasshopperPie

"En" is a preposition and can mean different things including "in" and "of". In fact most prepositions have a variety of meanings depending on context. This page may be helpful: http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/french-english/consister/18297

In French many verbs are paired with prepositions for a specific idiomatic meaning. As a matter of fact, the same applies to English. We say consist of, speak of, speak about, work over, run around. These idiomatic word constructions usually can't be translated word by word, but as idioms. So you may know that "en" can sometimes mean in, but it won't do you any good here.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/benh66

What does the 'en' mean here?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neverfox

prép. indique la matière - of, in, made of/from

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RKSMT
RKSMT
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Duolingo often puts multiple meanings to each word, why did they only put, is, for, consiste?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Conqueror_Elmo

I'm really confused about "en" can someone explain.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neverfox

En is a very confusing word because it has a lot of meanings. Here it means "made of." See http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/preposition_en.htm

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zoe.tsokolas

Guys, how come when you hover over the 'en' it says DURING though???

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neverfox

En expresses "during" when combined certain words having to do with periods of time, e.g. en semaine (during the week). Doesn't apply here.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jcboy14

because when one says IN the night, one may mean DURING the night. the words define themselves EN the context of what the sentence is saying, so think of the meaning DURANT (at the same time- while) reading.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LucioG
LucioG
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I ould have also translated "What is it about?"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jimbarry

'What is in it?' should be correct i would think but got marked wrong. ARGH!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Valestellarium

Mm nope, that's something quite different to the original sentence.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wunel

Often, "consists" is used to discuss meals, especially soups or other dishes where the contents are not directly distinguishable. One would ask "what does it consist of or "what is in it?". Not all that different to the original sentence in meaning.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jcboy14

consist of doesnt mean what's it it. Made of is near or synonymous.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Joel-Iowan

Well, I always imagine myself going from English to French. Can you shift this sentence around and say, ça consiste en quoi?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kazulwashere
kazulwashere
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I will never understand the preposition 'en' in French. Any advice on how to come to terms with this?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Arjofocolovi
Arjofocolovi
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4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JohnG.3

ça consiste en quoi? is that acceptable?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Arjofocolovi
Arjofocolovi
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Yes.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JohnG.3

also, why not 'what does it entail' as a translation? is it because it would be "consister à" in that case?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Arjofocolovi
Arjofocolovi
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Well "entail" means rather "involve/require".

"En quoi ça consiste?" is asking what there is to do in order to achieve "ça".

It could be correct depending on context, but this expression is usually only related to actions, not things, whereas "involve/require" can be related to both.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JohnG.3

ok, i think i understand. but what about the relation between "consister à" vs "consister en"? Le premier consister en une action qu'on veut faire, non? ou qu'on en veut savoir plus? <-- hope you understood that..

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Arjofocolovi
Arjofocolovi
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"consister à" is used for verbs and "consister en" for nouns.

"La pêche consiste essentiellement à rester immobile."

"Son déjeuner consiste en un sandwich et un jus d'orange."

There is also "consister dans", rarely used in common French, which can mean either "based on" or "summarized by". Both of these are mainly seen in literature.

As for why we use "en" in the expression "En quoi ça consiste ?" instead of "à", I could not tell, it's simply how common French evolved. Strictly speaking "En quoi ça consiste ?" could also be used for asking about the composition of something, but it's not what we use it for, we prefer "être constitué de" or "être fait de".

"De quoi est constitué/fait le pain ?"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/emnsstar

Why is "what is it consists of" wrong?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wunel

Needs to be "what does it consist of".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flint72
flint72
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Rather, it needs to be

"of what does it consist?"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BruceGauth
BruceGauth
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The preferred answer, "What does this consist of" is incorrect English as sentences in English should not end with a preposition. Much better would be "Of what does this consist?" or "This consists of what?"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Farfelu

You are right, but like me, you are fighting a losing battle. I feel your pain. The times, they are a-changing. I even hear myself end sentences in a preposition occasionally and it makes me cringe. Duolingo puts priority on common usage rather than perfect English. It is more common to say "What does this consist of?".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tyralot
Tyralot
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This is untrue, really. Those rules were artificial ones conceived by 18th century writers to make English conform to the 'more proper' rules of Latin. Unfortunately for them, English is not Latin so it doesn't really make a difference.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neverfox

^ This.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/shalfyard

"Of what does this consist?" is what I would call "Ye olde English". If you want to stay pure to the English language, sure "What does this consist of" is grammatically wrong.

BUT English continues to evolve all the time. We add stupid words like selfie or tweet to the dictionary... We steal words from other languages like crazy (seriously, how many french words do you just try typing the english word out when you forget?)

All in all you will way more likely get "what's in it" than any of these options. shrug

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neverfox

"What does this consist of?" isn't grammatically wrong, for precisely the reasons you give about the nature of language. People have for a long time spontaneously and systematically ended sentences with prepositions, and still do. The (counterfeit) rule against it wasn't a successful attempt to describe those spontaneous and systematic aspects of the language, and that's what grammar is supposed to do.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DrewDdmek
DrewDdmek
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Why not ça en consiste quoi

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Arjofocolovi
Arjofocolovi
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"Ça en consiste quoi ?" is simply incorrect French.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DrewDdmek
DrewDdmek
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How?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neverfox

'Consister en qqch' is just a patterned phrase meaning "to consist of sth" (verb + en + object). The pattern can "wrap around" like it does here in this inversion, or it can stay intact, but it's not going to rearrange to "en consiste quoi."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zoe.tsokolas

DOESNT 'EN' MEAN = DURING?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jcboy14

durant is during

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zoe.tsokolas

thanks sorry :}

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jcboy14

depends on the use though. like in English, it can also be said we used horses in our time instead of during our time. So it depends.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AliseRedvina

I probably suck at English as well, because I wrote "of what it consists?" 2 times and got it wrong

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/talbois

English speaking, this sentence could be translated "What is in it? Especially if discussing food.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WeeneyXian

Could you please consider typos...? :/

3 years ago

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