"aimer bien", "aimer" and "adorer"
In French, there are 3 main verbs to express fondness for something.
"aimer bien", which translates to "like" or "enjoy"
- ex: "J'aime bien cette fille" = "I like this girl"
- ex: "J'aime bien être ici" = "I enjoy being here"
"aimer", which can either translate to "(really) like", or "love"
- ex: "J'aime ce tableau" = "I (really) like this painting"
- ex: "J'aime cette fille" = "I (really) like/love this girl"
"adorer", which can either translate to "love" or "adore"
- ex: "J'adore ce film !" = "I love/adore this movie!"
- ex: "J'adore cette fille" = "I love/adore this girl"
Well, don't you feel there are many other ways to say you love or like somebody or something in French? What about: J'aime beaucoup. J'aime assez. J'aime vraiment. J'aime un peu. J'aime passionnément. J'aime à la folie. J'aime totalement…
Many adverbs can change the basic meaning of the French verb "aimer."
There are less possibilities with "adorer" J'adore absolument (ex: J'adore absolument ce qu'il fait) J'adore vraiment (ex. J'adore vraiment la musique)
There are also some interesting phrases to notice: Je suis fou de (Ex: Depuis que je l'ai vue,je suis fou d'elle.) Je suis passionné de (Ex. Je suis passionné de littérature américaine) Je craque pour (familier) (Ex. Je craque pour cette fille, elle est vraiment incroyable!)
Let's not forget body language. Word stress, a large smile, or a shrug can totally change the meaning of a word or a phrase.
And, last but not least, let's not forget figures of speech. I think especially to the understatement and to the overstatement. Example of overstatement: Question: Tu as aimé ma tarte aux pommes? Answer: J'ai adoré ! (With a big smile!)
Example of understatement: Question: Tu es amoureux d'elle? Answer: (With a shrug) Je l'aime bien.
Cher Jean M. Comme vous êtes exhaustive, réalistique, mais surtout plein de sympathie et même de grâce et de "gaieté"! Merci pour ta contribution, mais aussi des autres (Jrikhal,Rémy,Thankwee...) naturellement. (je m'excuse pour les erreurs, le français, c'est le dernier de mes arbres et je ne l'ai pas terminé encore). Bonne soirée, Lu
The problem is that Duo seems unable to make up its mind, sometimes it refuses J'aime bien, and sometimes it demands it, I find it impossible to know which is required. That said, your examples are brilliant and greatly help in a real life situation! You have solved a problem that I've had for a long time. Many thanks, have a lingot.
In the Duolingo lesson that brought me here, I was told that "Le peuple aime la liberté" cannot be translated "The people love freedom," but has to be "The people like freedom." I would love to hear whether the French speakers in this thread agree with that. Can "The people love freedom" be rendered only as "Le peuple adore la liberté"?
Well, first, if I'm talking about my girlfriend I'll probably not say "cette fille" but call her by her name ;) Nevertheless :
- if I speak about a friend : "J'aime bien cette fille" < "J'adore cette fille"
- if I speak about my girlfriend : "J'aime ma copine" / "J'adore ma copine". But in the particular case of the boy/girlfriend, there's no the comparison thing for me. "J'aime ma copine" = as lover & "J'adore ma copine" as friend (also).
not exactly correct: in general, j'aime = i like, j'aime bien = i really like (or i like a lot) and j'adore = i love but when expressing romantic feelings one would actually say j'aime. How poetic: we use the least to express the most (called a "litote"in stylistic) and that's probably why French is (supposed to be) the language of love.
"aimer bien" is a tricky one.
"bien" is about quality (or manner), not intensity, and I think that why the strength of "aimer bien" compared to "aimer" is not so clear and depends of the situation. For example there is no problem with "aimer beaucoup" which is stronger than "aimer" because "beaucoup" is about quantity/intensity.
Once more I fear that there is no general rule that applies to all cases...
But still a first rule (no about "aimer bien") : "aimer" < "aimer beaucoup" < "adorer".
Now the "aimer bien" case.. Well first partial rules :
- if "aimer" as the meaning of "to love" then adding "bien" will change the meaning to like. So it's not exactly that it's less intensive, only that it's a different type of affection.attachment;
- "aimer bien" + infinitive verb "aimer" + infinitive verb : "J'aime bien être ici" "J'aime être ici".
Ouf... Remy's examples are correct! :)
After that... it's really subtle and may be depend on the interpretation of each one/on regionalism ? For me, if there is no special intonation or context, I have this extra rule : If it's about something general, "bien" reduces the intensity also : "J'aime bien les pulls écarlate" "J'aime les pulls écarlate".
If anyone find some "official" statement (like an Académie Française remark) about this, I'll be happy to have it, even more if it says I'm wrong! ;)
Re "For example there is no problem with "aimer beaucoup" which is stronger than "aimer" because "beaucoup" is about quantity/intensity."
Maybe different French people think of this in a different way?
- Using aimer with a person as an object will almost always be understood as in romantically, so you add an adverb to make the distinction. Even 'beaucoup' actually tames the emotion in that case :)
- It is a case of "aimer" being considered something absolute. As a result, anything you use to qualify it can only weaken it, because it's less pure. So even "Je t'aime beaucoup" (I like you a lot) would actually be less strong than "Je t'aime" (I love you).
Where would 'I quite like' fit into this discussion? It could mean 'I like a lot' or 'I like somewhat' depending on your background. In the States, 'quite' is normally used to temper the strength of the emotion, in the sense that I don't want to commit myself. 'I quite like their music' would mean that yes, it's OK but I I'm not entirely sure. In the UK on the other hand, 'I quite like ...' is often used to mean that I like it a lot. I translated 'j'aime bien' as 'I quite like, which could actually mean either, and gets me off the hook from just translating as 'j'aime'.
It may be, but in the same lesson the English sentence: " I love" is translated in French with "J'aime". If "J'aime" is "I like" and not "I love", it should be valide the viceversa. It's a problem of coherence. In addition "I love it" should be translated with "Je l'aime/Je l'adore" and not with "J'aime". Anyway this dissertation says that "aimer + bien" is "to like" but "aimer" alone is "to love".