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  5. "Je devais aller voir un doct…

"Je devais aller voir un docteur hier."

Translation:I had to go see a doctor yesterday.

July 9, 2013


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  • 331

"I had to go and see a doctor yesterday"?

July 19, 2014


Yes either 'go and see' or 'go to see' should be accepted. An Englishman would never use the expression 'go see' -- it's an Americanism.

August 30, 2015


To my ears, "go see" is hideous English! Why can't DL at least ACCEPT the English spoken in England, even if they prefer the American version?

June 5, 2018


It's wrong in American English too.

January 14, 2019


Well, it's not immediately obvious where these published usage examples originate, but there are many: https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&q=%22go+see+a+doctor%22

Here's a notable passage from the Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Language:

What I would be saying, in either of those cases, would be false if he were never to go see the doctor. But if (4b) is truth evaluable at all, then its truth does not depend on whether he does in fact go see the doctor in the future, but only on whether I hope (now) that he will go see the doctor in the future. - Delia Graff Fara, "Adverbs" p. 409

July 19, 2019


even in American English this sounds bad

July 14, 2019


or even "I had to see a doctor yesterday"

July 11, 2017


And a New Zealandism and an Australianism...

September 29, 2015


Shakespeare would seem to disagree:

  • Will you go see the order of the course? - Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2
  • Will you go see her? - All's Well that Ends Well, Act 3, Scene 6
  • ... I'll go see this Italian... - Cymbeline, Act 2, Scene 1
  • Shall we go see the reliques of this town? / To-morrow, sir: best first go see your lodging. - Twelfth Night, Act 3, Scene 3
June 6, 2019


Shakespeare wrote years ago and I do not speak like they did

July 14, 2019


excellent! so much for it being "american" :-)

July 19, 2019


But would an English WOMAN

August 26, 2019


I still remember my high school English teacher telling us, her students, that it should be "to go to (do something)", not "to go and (do something)".

Thinking about it carefully, the reason is because "and" is a conjunction. When used with verbs, it indicates that the actions occur at the same time. But, in this example, you are first "going", then you are "seeing the doctor". The actions happen sequentially. You could probably "go and run" to the store, however, since the action of "going" and "running" happen simultaneously.

When the actions you are speaking about occur sequentially, then "to go to (do something)" is correct. It might be best thought of as "going in order to (do something)", quite like the Dutch construction "om te" (e.g. "Ik ga om kaartjes te kopen" = "I go to buy tickets").

Another example of the "to go to (do something)" construction:

"Last night, I went to see a movie with my friends." (not "Last night, I went and saw a movie with my friends."; though you could say "I went out last night. I saw a movie with my friends."; but, if you had gone out "in order to" see the movie, it should be "went to", not "went and".)

As for "to go see", it does not have the same problems as "to go and see", though it does lose the "in order to" sense. However, it is common nowadays to hear "to go see".

April 25, 2016


You would go to a shop or run to a shop. Two nations divided by a common language.

July 4, 2016


Thanks so much for the excellent explanation!! =)

May 14, 2016


It should be accepted.

September 29, 2014


Go see is not English! One would say go and see

August 3, 2015


English has spread and evolved in many different countries. This isn't just British English translation, but American English, NZ English, Aus English, South African English etc.

September 29, 2015


You're going to have to support that statement. It sounds fine to my ear.

August 9, 2015


It's grammatically incorrect. You may say it but it is colloquial. It should be 'go to see' or 'go and see'.

August 25, 2015


Why don't you go see for yourself that you can go and see and go to see things in a different light if you just stop and think for a moment.

November 21, 2015


To go see is American, not strictly English

August 7, 2015


It's colloquial and not grammatically correct. It should be 'go to see' or 'go and see'.

August 25, 2015


Couldn't this also be "I should have gone to..."?

July 9, 2013


No, that'd be 'J'aurais dû aller voir un docteur hier.'

July 11, 2013


But one of the 'another correct solution is' was

I was supposed to go to

Doesn't that mean exactly the same thing as alan's commeNT?

March 26, 2015


Not quite. I think "I was supposed to" does not necessarily mean that you didn't, or that it was absolutely necessary.

April 18, 2016


I used to have to go to the doctor yesterday - This English translation is ridiculous - I used to have to go see the doctor - in the past - ok - but I had to go see the doctor yesterday - yesterday is a single point in time

October 2, 2014


It's an Americanism.

August 30, 2015


It certainly is not.

November 22, 2015


Well, the best the OED can say on the matter is that under "go" http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/79544:

  1. intr. To move, travel, or proceed (to somewhere) so as to perform a specified action, or for the purpose of a specified or implied activity.

a. In the infinitive, imperative, and †present subjunctive (as go), with bare infinitive. Now colloq. (chiefly N. Amer.) (nonstandard in British English), often with the sense of motion weakened or absent. Also in various imprecatory phrases (in the imperative or optative) used to express dismissal, contempt, etc., as go chase yourself (see chase v.1 7c), go fly a kite (see fly v.1 5), ...

... and I left off the final one, or I'll be censored.

In the whole text of that entry, under the attributions, there is a single instance using "go see":

2007 R. Milward Apples xvii. 172 You wanna go see Eve?

Mind you, he's an English novelist, so maybe we should admit that anything published by such a writer automatically becomes a non-Americanism?

(P.S. There are two more instances under "see v.", but both are from Coriolanus and different expressions from the one we are talking about.)

November 22, 2015


Bravo on the research. My remark was addressed to the quoted sentence, "I used to have to go to the doctor yesterday", which, as the OP said, is ridiculous - and not an Americanism! :-)

November 22, 2015


Sorry. I did not read this thread carefully enough. My apologies.

I have given up answering this translation with the natural (to me) "I had to go to see a doctor yesterday", because it always marks it wrong (so far). I refuse to leave out the second "to". I have to use "I had to visit a doctor yesterday", because that is marked correct, even though it is hardly an entirely accurate translation, to my mind. :)

November 23, 2015


Pardon my sloppy response. I was referring to the "go see" vs. "go to see" usages.

November 27, 2015


It is putting the go and the see together which is incorrect in British English. og and see or go to see

July 4, 2016


just wondering why this is used here as an example of the imperfect past. It sounds like a specific event - would this not be a case for passé composé? I am clearly not understanding something...

October 14, 2015


The imperfect tense applies to the need (devoir), not the action of going.

November 26, 2015


but the need is also in the past tense; i went yesterday, so i no longer plan to, and i also no longer need to go (not a continuing action from the past)

June 14, 2019


What about: "J'ai dû aller voir un docteur hier."?

August 11, 2015


Can someone tell me why "I had to visit a doctor yesterday." is incorrect? Even when I float over "aller voir", it suggests that response.

August 27, 2017


I had to visit a doctor yesterday was refused. Surely a "go see" is a visit.

August 28, 2017


this is American English. In England we go to see; we do not "go see".

November 19, 2015


'we go to see' is correct in American English also, but it has been slanged down to go see. its just quicker, so everyone says it but its technically wrong :p

December 13, 2017


Yesterday I had to go and see a doctor. Oh come on this is really annoying nitpicking. You can't translate mot-a-mot

September 2, 2015


It rejected me for "Yesterday I had to go see a doctor"

February 4, 2017

[deactivated user]

    That can be hard, but I think Duolingo wants us to keep the translation as close as possible to the same word order. :)

    February 7, 2018


    Can "voir" be used in the sense of "visit" like "see" can in English, because I have never seen it used this way. I always thought the French verb "voir" strictly means to lay eyes upon.

    September 11, 2015


    why is it imperfect ?

    November 23, 2015


    Duo corrected my sentence to I'd to go see my doctor yesterday. I don't think this sounds okay at all to this native speaker !

    September 26, 2017


    I'd is a contraction of "I had" and also a contraction of "I would", I have only rarely heard it used for "I had" in spoken speech, it is easy enough to say "I had" so most people don't say I'd for "I had". The Duolingo sentence is correct, even though it does sound weird.

    September 26, 2017


    how about 'i was supposed to see a doctor yesterday'?

    July 20, 2013


    It's J'étais supposé aller voir un docteur hier..

    October 17, 2013


    i had written" I had to see the doctor yesterday" and the correction was, " I had to see one doctor yesterday" We don't say that.

    November 13, 2013


    I had to see the doctor yesterday. is a wrong translation of the French sentence Je devais voir un docteur hier., I had to see a doctor yesterday. is a good one.

    But here it's devoir aller voir... so I had to go to see a doctor yesterday.

    November 13, 2013


    a doctor I agree but not one doctor.

    November 13, 2013


    Me too, I was just explaining why the doctor was wrong and that you missed one verb.

    November 13, 2013


    That's a subtlety of the English language. 'The doctor' can mean a specific doctor or any doctor depending on the context.

    September 29, 2015


    I typed in "I had to see a doctor yesterday" because that is what I would say.. and it gave me the "you blew it" bleep! :(

    December 13, 2017


    Shouldn't "I needed to go see the doctor yesterday also be accepted?

    June 21, 2015

    • 1801

    It's only a matter of "un docteur" and "le docteur".

    July 18, 2015


    "...to go see..."? I would like to have more arguments about this way.

    July 9, 2015


    You are looking for an argument?

    August 9, 2015


    It is the struggle of every Doctor Who fan.

    August 13, 2015


    Can we just say ''Je devais voir un docteur hier."? Adding ''aller'' makes the sentence sound verbose.

    August 29, 2015


    Another vote against the "go see" construct. When I need to see a doctor, I go to see them.

    October 1, 2015


    to go to see the doctor is used in ireland all the time

    November 26, 2015


    How about "I had need to go to see a doctor yesterday"? It was not accepted, but to me this expresses the ongoing nature of the past imperfect that the French sentence conveys.

    Alternatively, "I used to need to go to see a doctor yesterday (but I no longer do now)". Merci!

    January 2, 2016


    There may be localities where your "I had need to go..." is a common usage, but to me it sounds very odd, or at least very old-fashioned. I don't know anyone who would say, "I had need to" - and I know some pretty old-fashioned people ;-). We would say, "I needed".

    That said, I don't feel quite right about using "need" at all in this sentence, although that may just be a question of taste. It seems a little too intense.

    As for "I used to need to go to see a doctor yesterday", that is an error. "Used to" refers to a habitual state or a repeated event and doesn't work with a word like "yesterday" which references a specific point in time. "I used to need to go to see a doctor every week" is fine, but not "...yesterday".

    My comprehension of the subtleties of the imparfait is, if you will, imperfect, so I can't say exactly why "devoir" is in the imparfait in this sentence.

    April 23, 2016


    Not "I had to see a doctor yesterday" ?

    February 18, 2016


    Why can't you say "Yesterday, I went to the doctor"

    March 19, 2016


    Because that skips the "devoir" part of the French sentence. "Yesterday, I went to the doctor" = Hier, je suis alleé voir le docteur."

    April 23, 2016


    I had to see a doctor yesterday. The answer is in American English, I was marked as incorrect for using English English.

    July 4, 2016


    Can someone tell me why "I had to see the doctor yesterday" is wrong, I know that it is definite not indefinite but in English we would say "went to see THE doctor.

    November 27, 2016


    'I had to see a doctor yesterday' is quite acceptable english, In England. no need for 'go' to be involved even tho 'to go to' is correct, i cannot see it as a 'hard fast rule.

    February 3, 2017


    The English translation is incorrect. It should be as noted above.

    May 9, 2017


    I wonder, what nationality is the person who is responsible for the translations from French to English in these lessons? He can't be English. English is not my mother tongue, but I get rather annoyed sometimes when I see e.g. "go see a doctor" -

    June 23, 2017


    The default translation is Ame

    June 23, 2017


    "to go see" is not English English, but American English, either "to go and see" or "to go to see" would be correct parlance, correct grammar is probably "to go to see"

    July 28, 2017


    to me "go and see" is preferable and correct, and yet i was corrected

    October 8, 2017


    Doesn't the English version, "I had to go see a doctor yesterday", imply that you did so.

    And doesn't the French version, "Je devais aller voir un docteur hier", imply you had to, but did not do so?

    The differences in connotations are tripping me up.

    November 27, 2017


    Since Duolingo suggested that "aller voir" means "visit", I translated the sentence as, "I had to visit the doctor yesterday". A "visit" to the doctor is a very common American euphemism. Perhaps the same is true in French? N'est pas ?

    January 20, 2018


    what a sentence!

    February 13, 2018


    My translation "I had to visit a doctor yesterday" should have been accepted. I know aller = to go, but "go" is not necessary in the English translation.

    March 18, 2018


    Terrible grammar.....

    May 12, 2018


    It seems "I had to go to see the doctor yesterday " is still not accepted as of today. I have reported it! As previously pointed out the accepted, Americanized answer is horrid.

    September 29, 2018


    This translation is wrong in British English. An English person would never say this. We would say "I had to see a doctor yesterday" or "I had to go and see a doctor yesterday".

    January 6, 2019


    "I had to go see a doctor yesterday"

    Yes! I remembered the American English. Now I hope it doesn't stick. "Go see" sounds so strange.

    February 6, 2019


    Absolutely agree with Nicholas_Keen. English people do not say "go see". It is an Americanism. Also, there seems quite a few people objecting (or commenting) on the phrase "go see" being, in Duolingo's opinion, the correct usage. It is not correct English as spoken in England or other English speaking countries (Australia, New Zealand).

    April 16, 2019


    Another "go see" sentence which we would not use in English English. Yes for the Americans, no for us.

    April 17, 2019


    'go see' is not English I put 'visit' which 'aller voir' translated to, it was marked incorrect.

    April 29, 2019


    i think "i should have gone to see a doctor yesterday" means the same ._.

    February 6, 2015


    Should have gone to see a doctor. means it didn't happen, Had to see a doctor, means you were required to.

    So I should have gone to see a doctor yesterday would be a completely wrong translation.

    November 6, 2015


    'I should have gone to see the doctor yesterday' is more natural in English English.

    September 29, 2015


    Difference between docteur et médecine

    July 29, 2015


    Well, first of all, "médecine" is "medicine" in English.

    But you were probably thinking of "médecin". DuoLingo seems to use "docteur" quite regularly where I would have thought "médecin" more appropriate. I've done a fair bit of checking around on the internet, and a popular explanation for the distinction is that "médecin" is a profession, while "Docteur" is a title. You see a "médecin" about your nagging cough, but when he comes into the room, you say, "Bonjour, Docteur". Also, a "médecin" is always a "docteur" (i.e., a person with a PhD), but a "docteur" is not necessarily a "médecin". Anybody who holds a doctorate is a "docteur".

    I did read a few remarks that seem to indicate that the distinction is blurring a bit, but then this was posted on a WordReference forum only two months ago:

    "Except when it is used as a title, as in : "Bonjour, Docteur", I would advise non-natives to use "médecin" systematically : il faut que je prenne un rendez-vous chez le médecin / Je vais appeler le médecin / le médecin m'a dit que", etc."

    August 9, 2015

    [deactivated user]

      DianaM merci bien :)

      February 7, 2018


      Why is this in the imperfect what particular use of the imperfect is this?

      December 11, 2015


      is there a limit to how many infinitive verbs can be linked in a sentence?

      March 8, 2016


      Je ne comprends rien ! Un coup c'est " I wanted " puis " I was required " + " I was making " ou " be able " avec un glissement de " could " en force ! Mais c'est quoi ce temps qui rend fou ?!!!?

      L'anglais, dès que tu crois maîtriser un sujet, des variantes viennent te montrer qu'en fait non, tu ne le maîtrisais pas du tout. Flûte ! Zut ! Marre !

      April 9, 2016


      is there liaison between devais and aller?

      April 18, 2016


      I believe it's optional but fairly often heard. See this page: http://french.about.com/library/pronunciation/bl-liaisons-o.htm

      Later edit: On the other hand....the voices on these sites do not use liaison in that phrase:

      April 23, 2016


      "Lee-air"? Is that correct?

      July 11, 2016


      what is the difference in pronunciation between "devez" and "devais"?

      August 30, 2016


      What is the difference in pronunciation between "devais" and "devez"?

      August 30, 2016


      None, but a difference in usage: "devais" goes with "je", and "devez" with "vous". And "devais" is imperfect tense, "devez" present.

      November 28, 2016


      I wrote "I should have gone to see a doctor yesterday" and it's wrong. Would a translation of that be "Je devrais été aller"? And is that the conditional perfect tense?

      January 15, 2017


      I put "yesterday" in front of the proposition and it turned out that it's wrong. Should I translate always mot-a-mot?

      August 28, 2017


      "I had to visit a doctor yesterday." ?

      September 8, 2017


      My biggest complaint is that this one, along with some previous phrases, should use the passé composé rather than the imparfait. The action happened at a specific point in the past (yesterday), and the action was completed. It is not something that happened habitually in the past, or an action that meets any of the other reasons that necessitate the imparfait. Donc, "J'ai dû aller voir un docteur hier." Ditto for some previous phrases that included "hier."

      January 24, 2018


      "I had to go see a doctor" and "I had to see a doctor" should both be accepted. They are both perfectly normal in American English.

      March 5, 2018


      Can "I had to go to see a doctor yesterday" be translated into passé composé instead of imparfait?

      August 1, 2018


      "I had to see a doctor yesterday" is incorrect apparently.

      Why wasn't my answer accepted?

      May 9, 2019


      Because you missed 'aller' when you translated the phrase.

      May 10, 2019


      Since this is a completed action in the past, why would use imperfect here? Yesterday and the days before that I had to go. Yesterday I went. Today, everything about that -- the need and the going -- is complete. So passe compose, no?

      June 14, 2019
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