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  5. "La police s'est rendue sur l…

"La police s'est rendue sur les lieux."

Translation:The police went to the scene.

March 6, 2015



This is the hardest sentence I've encountered so far. I must have missed it 30 times by now.


Definitely. Personally, I don't understand why the "s'est" is there.


I believe the "s'est" is there because the compound verb--"have returned"--is reflexive; that is, the action taken was performed on themselves: they returned themselves to the scene. But someone correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm just lost on the "les lieux" part: "the place" or "the scene" is singular, and "les lieux" is clearly plural. Idiomatic? Perhaps, but I'd like to know the reason, whatever it is.


But for me, it doesn't say, "The police returned..." It says, "The police went..."


I guess that is an idiomatic expression, or maybe rendue has a meaning which is missed in English, "like leave themselves with the scenery"


"Rendre" has many meanings depending on context. Best to look it up in a dictionary.


I've never heard that expression. I was curious so I tried to find it online, but failed. Do you have any idea from what country it originates?


I wasn't referring to the language (since we Are learning French), but rather the original source of the phrase itself. Does anyone know if it also has Latin origination? (details help me remember better).


What is "leave themselves with the scenery?" What does this mean?


Well, why is "the premises" plural? I think this is a similar case.


Premises is plural in English. The premise..vs. the premises, two different meanings). In French, apparently when the police go to a site or the premises of a crime, it's "les lieux," just as in English we say "the premises" and not "the premise."



On that note, see the section of the following entry on "derived forms":


Well I thought I was making the same point :)


Excellent example. Have a lingot!


I was wrong. I digress.


You were making the same point. I voted it up. ;-)

I added the dictionary link because people are still asking as if this question hasn't been answered.


Well have a Lingot then.


@PeaceJoyPancakes, merci beaucoup. I'm not sure why I got a couple down votes for asking a couple questions... shouldn't we be encouraged to ask things we don't know?


Who can tell what goes on in the minds of other users when it comes to voting?

As for "leave themselves with the scenery" above, I read that as just an attempt to tease out the meaning of the French verb, and not as an actual idiom in any language, but I stand to be corrected. (In any event, I can't really figure out what it means. How does one leave oneself somewhere? It sounds almost like a Buddhist concept.)


Reflexive, so the "se" must be there. Past tense of a verb requiring être, so the "est" must be there (police is singular third person). The "se" goes to s' in front of a vowel. La police s'est...

The part that gets me every time is remembering that police is feminine singular, I want it to be plural. Rendue not rendues.


I think it relates to "la maison" because "la police" refers to the home office, the HQ, the police headquarters, OR to "the police" in general.


No, it's not that convoluted. It could be a result of its Latin antecedent "politia" also being feminine, but I imagine these relationships don't always hold true.


You're not alone on this one. Why is it so difficult?


Glad it's not just me! This stupid sentence has been vexing me for months!!!


Why not "the police returned to the scene"? The word "rendue" comes from the infinitive "rendre" which means to return, right? Or am I missing something here?


You're right, "rendre" means "to return" : "je rends le sac" : "i return the bag". But if you use "se rendre quelque part", it means "to go somewhere" and is different thant "retourner quelque part", which is "to return somewhere". And for the record, "se rendre" can also mean "to surrender".


If it also means surrender, could this sentence mean "The police surrendered on the site?" Just curious. :)


Well, if you say "la police s'est rendue sur le site", the most natural translation would be "the police went to the site". If you want to say that the police surrended while being on the site, you should rather say something like "la police s'est rendue lorsqu'elle était sur le site" in order to avoid ambiguity...


Could you explain in which situations do sur mean at?


Why wouldn't they use both "aller" when they first to go to "les lieux" and then "rendre" when they leave and later return? Surely, it would be useful to have that distinction available in the language.


The distinction is available in the language, but you have to use other words.


You are making sense to me here. "return to the scene" makes sense in english and then the mystery is lieux is plural... but overall, "return to the scene" is classic detective talk on tv and in novels in English and every day English and formal English.


But as suggested elsewhere on this page, in fact "se rendre" doesn't imply that they've been there before, as "return" does in English.

The dictionary is always helpful:

As for "lieux", that's been addressed as well:


Les lieux ? How many scenes did the police come to?

Edit: It seems that 'sur les lieux' means 'on the scene'. A bit like how in English you are 'on the premises' as opposed to 'on the premise' (which means something completely different). Glad we only took a year to clear that up!


It would be different if you were discussing a television, movie, or stage play production where "scene" means the stage. "Sur la scene" means in place to film a scene of the movie, on the stage to play the role, etc.

But, the french meaning which makes most sense to me from this discussion as it relates to cops on the scene, is relating "les lieux" to "the premises".


isn't "les lieux" plural? Shouldn't "the places" or "the scenes" be accepted?


Is it idiomatic like les toilettes?


What a sentence. English speakers have to deal with the weird collective noun for police (it's weird in english, too, but less strict). Then we have "se rendre somewhere" which is apparently a way to say "to go somewhere". And finally it turns out that, in some circumstances, "place" is "les lieux". Oh, French, je t'aime, mais je te déteste aussi. :)

Oh, and just to make it more fun, "return to the scene of the crime" is not an uncommon phrase for native english speakers who like procedurals.


This sentence drives me crazy! My future career in French law enforcement is doomed!


"The police came on the scene" was rejected, even though that seems like perfectly idiomatic English usage to me. I reported it.


How about, "La police est allé sur les lieux." ?


I was confused as to why se rendre is used. A French friend explained that se rendre + a place is used when there is a need to go somewhere, often to answer a call. So you might use it when talking about firefighters, police, ambulance, etc., going to a scene. I hope that helps someone else too!


That does help – thanks!


Why is être used instead of avoir? Is it because of the se?


Yes. "Se rendre" is intransitive like "aller", "venir", etc.


Why does the 'se' go before 'est' here


Because it is a pronominal verb :) pronominal verbs always have a pronoun before them. An example would be the verb "to scratch oneself" : se gratter. Je me gratte Tu te grattes Il/Elle/on se gratte Nous nous grattons Vous vous grattez Ils/Elles se grattent

Hope it was helpful !


Why is it "se rendre" and not "aller"? In what situations should we use se rendre instead of aller?


Earlier I got the English sentence "The police went to the site" and was told the answer was "La police s'est rendue sur les lieux," plural. Now I get the French sentence "La police s'est rendue sur les lieux," answer "The police went to the site" -- and am corrected because it wants "to the SITES"! Can't win on this one :(


I'd report that. If "sites" is possible, the singular "site" should also work, as "lieux" is often used (like "premises") to connote a single location.


I did. Thanks.


Still a problem 2 months later. I've reported it for what it's worth.


https://www.duolingo.com/comment/8262695 As you say "the site" translates to "les lieux" according to Duolingo but not vice-versa. I've been reporting this over and over for months.


I got a note today that they now accept "the site."


sur les lieux

ON the scene

ONTO the scene


Anyone else hearing a distinct "p" sound in front of "les" and "lieux"?


Yes, I heard the "p" sound in the slow pronunciation. Reported.


Only in the slow motion though


I don't know why the English translation "the police went back to the site" is not allowed. If rendre means give back or return, why is "went back" not allowed?


LES lieux? "the sites"? DUOLINGO seriously needs to offer better explanations


Why is "The police went to the site' is wrong only this time ?


It should probably be accepted.

I thought at first that maybe Duo was trying to emphasize the usage of "scene" in such common police-related idiomatic phrases as "crime scene". On that note, see the translation of "lieux" as "scene" in the the "derived forms" section of following dictionary entry:

However, another commenter says "sites" is accepted here, in which case the singular "site" should also work, because "lieux" is often used (like the English "premises") to connote a single location.


the audio is hopeless.


I wrote "the police has gone to the places" and I got it wrong, Duolingo told that" the police have gone to the places", am I correct?


You're not. "Police" is treated as a plural noun in English, though it's singular in French. Use "police officer" (or just "officer") if you want to talk about one individual person ("policier" in French).


In English we often say the police attended the scene. A bit of formal colloquialism.


My answer was correct!


why is "The police went on to the site" wrong?


Seriously difficult to translate when everyday words do not come into play.


I thought rendre meant to give back, to return (something)? Shouldn't retourner be used?


What is the reason for using lieu in its plural form? The question has been asked by others, but without response.


As has been asked several times: why is "les lieux," which is clearly plural, translated as the singular "the site"? I can accept that it is idiomatic, but I'd like to understand why. Thank you.


Just think of it as like our word "premises."


I would like to see the translation, despite my failure to say it correctly. When you say "Let's move on" I learn nothing.


Why is it s'est and not s'as?

  1. Pronominal verbs (such as "se rendre") use "être" as an auxilary instead of "avoir".

  2. The verb form "as" would be the conjugation for "tu", not for "elle" ("la police").

[deactivated user]

    I put "the police went to the site" Wrong?


    It's certainly not out of the question. I think one of the points of the given translation could be to teach that "lieux" is used where English would idiomatically use "scene" (of a crime or accident) or "premises", but "site" is a reasonable synonym in either case.


    why not went instead of came?


    "Went" is given as the default translation on the website. Is it possible that Duo's actual issue with your sentence was something else?


    I tried came and was marked wrong.


    Seems like it should be correct, depending of course on the context.


    I keep putting "have returned" on this and it tells me I am wrong and it is "gone" or "went"


    Yeah, apparently I don't know some of these verbs very well.


    Practice makes perfect. It's the pronoun here that makes the difference. Without "se", "rendre [qch]" can mean "to return [sth]":


    So "se rendre" and "aller" are interchangeable when they mean to go?


    More or less. Personally I think of "se rendre quelque part" as "to get oneself somewhere".

    The meaning is pretty much the same, but I think it's probably a good idea to try to observe the sorts of situations in which "se rendre" is used idiomatically, and not to use it too liberally as a substitute for "aller".


    It didn't accept "cops" for police. Rightly or wrongly?


    There are less formal terms in French, such as "les flics", that are more similar to "cops", but I don't know what the relative frequency of use is.


    For me "police" is a singular noun, as in "police force", that's why I put "the police HAS gone to the scene", but no, Duo wants it to be "the police HAVE gone...". I understand the plural of police is police, but still my answer should be accepted.


    Duo is right. As a noun on its own, the English "police" is treated as plural. Otherwise the speaker sounds childish or uneducated. We use "officer", for example, for an individual member of the police.

    We ignore number when we use "police" as an attributive, as in "police force" or "police officer", but that doesn't change how we use the word as a noun on its own.

    Of course you're free to use a non-standard construction in your own speech, but you can't expect Duolingo to mark it correct.


    Why is it sur and not á?


    Chances are that "sur" is just idiomatic. But don't forget that "à les" changes to "aux".


    I think "The police arrived on the scene," should be accepted.


    Maybe, but "se rendre quelque part" seems to mean "to go somewhere", not "to arrive somewhere", which would be "arriver quelque part".


    OMG! This must be DL's favorite sentence!


    I think "rendue" means RETURNED with also means (went back). then what about (allee)? Please explain. Thanks


    "Rendre" doesn't typically mean "to go back", but it can mean "to return" in the sense of "to give back". But here we're dealing with "se rendre", which in this context just means "to go (somewhere)". Some earlier comments, with dictionary links:


    Crikey, you REALLY have patience PJP, you have answered the same questions SOoooo many times in this thread!

    Thanks for all your very helpful input :]

    My problem with this sentence is the audio, the man clearly pronounces a "p" before "les" and also "Lieux" rendering it impossible to figure out what he is saying.

    Reported today 19/9/18


    The singular "La police" is translated in the plural "the police" and the plural "les lieux" is translated in the singular "the scene". What a quirky little sentence


    I never get this - keeps coming up over the last three years. No explanation.


    Why does it have to be "went" rather than "returned", ie the police went back for a second look


    The French simply means "went", not "returned".


    Why not "The police has gone to the scene"?


    It is plural. "Le policier" would be and individual police officer.


    Why "The police returned to the scene wrong." is wrong?


    Why "The police returned to the scene." is wrong?


    Why is this not "The police returned to the scene"?


    "se rendre" is translated in my dictionary as "to give up, to surrender". In way does this translate as "went" ?


    Best to check more than one dictionary. There are links elsewhere on this page.

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