"L'araignée est-elle derrière le fromage ?"

Translation:Is the spider behind the cheese?

July 31, 2013



Keep in mind that the audio recording incorrectly pronounces "est-elle"

May 2, 2014


How is it supposed to be pronounced?

October 30, 2014


Without the "s" sound. "Etelle".

November 9, 2014


What if the sentence were "l'araignee et elle.." would you just have to use context clues?

June 17, 2016


That "et" ("and") sounds like the "ai" in "j'ai'." "Est" has a softer e sound like in the English word "meh".

August 31, 2018


Does "noun conjugate-pronoun" always translate to a question like this? I translated "The spider, is she behind the cheese?" which was wrong here, but is it right in some cases?

August 25, 2013


I made the same mistake. I think "The spider, is she behind the cheese?" is technically correct, but duolingo marks it wrong because it is an unnatural way of phrasing it.

September 7, 2013


Guys that is the way they phrase it in French, but you have to translate the meaning into English, not the word by word structure.

November 22, 2013


I would also point out it's imparting a sex on the spider - an incorrect understanding of the gender of the noun in French.

July 7, 2014


My answer was "The spider, is it behind the cheese?" which was also marked wrong.

October 21, 2014

  • 1743

Just put it in natural English. Whereas the French may use the noun set apart from the inversion to form a question, English just includes the noun in the inversion itself, i.e., does "is the spider behind the cheese?" instead of "the spider, is it behind the cheese?" You can say it but it is not typical English.

December 19, 2018


If you were actively looking for the spider, you can say "The Spider - is it behind the cheese?"

February 14, 2019


Isn't it ok to impart a gender on on the spider? Say if it was actually a female like the agelenopsis in my window here is definitely female. If so would you use the sentence in the same way or would you need to word it differently to emphasize that the spider was female?

October 9, 2014


I think if you wanted to say that a spider was female you would have to come out and say it, because grammatical gender in french only indicates the gender of the noun. For example, "Mon médecin est une femme"

November 10, 2014


Inversion is used a lot in French to ask questions -- Est-elle ici ? (Is she here?), Allez-vous au cinéma ? (Are you going to the cinema?) But if the sunbject is a noun rather than a pronoun, "il" or "elle", depending on the gender, is added after the verb with a hyphen. "Est l'araignée derrière le fromage ?" is wrong -- it would be "L'araignée est-elle derrière le fromage ?" Hope this helps!

May 3, 2015


I said " the spider is it behind the cheese ? " Why would this be wrong ?

October 1, 2013


It's not completely wrong but in English, you wouldn't say that, you would just say "Is the spider behind the cheese?" However, in French, you cannot say "Est l'araignée derrière le fromage ?" - it's incorrect grammar. You need to say the subject of the sentence twice for it to be correct: "L'ARAIGNÉE est-ELLE derrière le fromage ?" A translator would never translate that sentence into "The spider, is it behind the cheese?" because the extra words are unnecessary in English (and since the French sentence doesn't have a comma in it). If you did want that to be the English translation, you'd probably write "L'araignée, elle est derrière le fromage ?"

October 13, 2013


It's wrong because 'elle' never translates to 'it', I think. But I entered "The spider, is she behind the cheese?" which was also wrong...

October 10, 2013


Yes, elle can mean "it" as well, like for a feminine animal.

October 11, 2013


"Elle" and "il" translate to "it" equally often. It's not just for female animals, but for any female-gender noun. "Is the dish behind the cheese?" would be "L'assiette est-elle derrière le fromage ?"

November 19, 2013

  • 1743

As you know, the gender of the pronoun refers to the grammatical gender of the noun (araignée, f), not the gender of the animal.

December 19, 2018


Could it be "Est-l'araignée derrière le fromage?"?

December 3, 2013


No, you can't do that. I'm pretty sure you can only invert subject pronouns (il, elle, nous, tu, je, etc...) If you wanted to phrase the question differently, you could always pull out the "est-ce que," write it as a statement but with a question mark (informal), or add "n'est-ce pas" to the end of the statement (also informal).

February 4, 2014


In French, it is incorrect to invert the noun subject ("l'araignée") and the verb ("est") when forming a question.

To form a question using an inversion, the noun subject ("l'araignée") remains in front of the verb ("est") and is repeated after the verb in the form of a personal pronoun ("-elle").

Sitesurf describes three degrees of formality when forming questions in French:

  • Very formal - L'araignée est-elle derrière le fromage?
  • Standard - Est-ce que l'araignée est derrière le fromage?
  • Casual - L'araignée est derrière le fromage?
March 13, 2015


"The spider, is it behind the cheese?", was wrong. It might not be as common as, "Is the spider behind the cheese?" but it is equally valid and one might hear it, especially in such a circumstance.

March 3, 2014


The spider, is it behind the cheese? <-> L'araignée, est-elle derrière le fromage ?

March 3, 2014


Good response, I like to see how the punctuation makes it different. I see how the comma changes things. Makes better sense we'd use a comma there in English too if a scenario occurred where we might say it this way:

"Where did it go?" "Where did what go?" "The spider, is it behind the cheese?"

October 9, 2014


But the S in est should never be pronounced....:(

July 20, 2014


Why did they add elle to the sentence? Is it because spider is feminine and this is the way to ask a question?

July 20, 2014


'Araignée' is a feminine noun, and as such it should be referred to by 'elle'. The spider could have any sex, but the gender of the noun is what matters here. Note that some nouns do change gender with the sex of the subject - chat/chatte and chien/chienne... But these tend to be with animal that humans bond more with! (The il/elle distinction would change here.)

July 20, 2014


I’ve made similar comments before. In English you can say “The spider! Is it behind the cheese?” Or as Duolingo indicates “Is the spider behind the cheese.” Both are correct.

April 26, 2018

  • 1743

It is possible but likely to be an English structure created to mimic the syntax of the French. Just use natural English.

December 19, 2018


I was wondering, can you say "L'araignee est-ce derriere le fromage?"

May 22, 2018

  • 1743

No, the inversion should be formed with the pronoun corresponding to the grammatical gender of "l'araignée" (f), i.e., est-elle derrière la fromage ?

December 19, 2018


How about, "Is the spider in back of the cheese?"

December 29, 2018


The phrasing "The spider, is it/she behind the cheese" is perfectly normal English. (BTW, most spiders we see at home tend to be female, certainty the larger ones many of whom devour the males after mating).

January 20, 2019
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