"Il est comme son chien, il faut toujours qu'il montre les dents."

Translation:He is like his dog, he always has to bare his teeth.

March 11, 2015

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What does this exactly mean? That he always tries to seem strong, but he is not in fact?


I don't know in english, but in french, "montrer ses dents" means that as a dog you try to look fierce and defend yourself/what you own/your territory.


This is how I understand it too. A guy who greets everything and everyone new that comes to his territory with hostility.


I think you have hit the nail on the head, there, HD. His go-to emotion is aggression.

I hope growling is his only similarity to his dog. I shudder to think of his carpets ... :)


LOL , but that's probably right .


In Czech, we have "cenit zuby" ("to bare one's teeth") in this meaning, though without the reference to one's dog, so I wasn't sure if it's like this or as Inferior guessed.


I think the sentiment is meant to be "his bark is worse than his bite."


I think maybe it means that one eventually becomes something like the company he keeps around him. Although i am not sure just guessing.


I took it to be equivalent to "his bark is worse than his bite", i.e. he is all show and no real danger but this was marked as wrong.


I tried, too. The meaning is something to do with said man treating everything he meets with hostility, much like a dog does. Hope that helped.


Ahhh! Thanks kkst7464. In that case a more common english phase would be to say that "he was like a bear with a sore head". (comme un ours avec un mal de tête?) Which would really confuse things!


In Russian this situation is described as "when he got up, he started by putting the wrong foot on the floor"


It's interesting that lots of languages have idioms for many of the same situations (even if the actual expressions are different). I wonder if there are many idioms which are unique to each language? Maybe I should study some linguistics!


We all came from one mother. We and the other animals are all the same. We all have the same aspirations and built in territorial imperative, so our verbal expressions , all over the world reflect our common psyche. I think.


Salut. "Il est méchant et son chien est méchant.


I think that this sentence is a candidate for deletion. There isn't an equivalent expression in English like the others sentences in this module. When I directly translate it according to the accepted sentences, it generates a sentence that a native English speaker would never use.


Why is it "qu'il montre les dents" instead of "il faut toujours montrer les dents?

  • Il faut montrer les dents. = It is necessary to show/bare the teeth.
  • Il faut qu'il montre les dents. = It is necessary that he  show/bare his teeth. = It is necessary for him  to show/bare his teeth. = He  has to show/bare his teeth.

The "il" in "il faut" is an impersonal or dummy subject (like the word "it" in "it is necessary), so you need another "il" if you're talking about a real subject, i.e. he . (Of course other pronouns would be used for other subjects as appropriate.)


why isn't this il lui faut toujours?

  • Il lui   faut toujours montrer les dents. / It is always necessary for him  to show his teeth. (Montrer, infinitive.)
  • Il faut toujours qu'il  montre les dents. / It is always necessary that he  show his teeth. (Montre, subjunctive.)


Why are the following two options wrong? - ...il doit toujours montrer les dents. - ...il faut lui toujours montrer les dents.


why is "he is always baring his teeth" as opposed to "he always bares his teeth" marked incorrect? they're both present tense.


I've gone through the three Idioms modules twice each, but when I do a strengthen-skills exercise I keep getting phrases that never came up before. Is this happening to anyone else?


Yes. And there are two answers for this one, I've screenshot them and compared them. I gave the one I saw first, but no go now.


This just happened to me. I'm reasonably certain I gave the answer from the other version, but it was marked wrong. At any rate, the answer is definitely not the same.


I used "ses dents" the first time but got presented with this as correct:

"Il est comme son chien, il lui faut toujours montrer les dents."

So when it came up again, that's what I wrote but now it's apparently:

"Il est comme son chien, il faut toujours qu'il montre les dents."

What will be the correct answer next time????


Back again. Once again I wrote "Il est comme son chien, il lui faut toujours montrer les dents." and again was marked as incorrect with the correct answer as "Il est comme son chien, il faut toujours qu'il montre les dents."

I didn't remember to try it the other way around.


The "il lui faut" version shouldn't be wrong, as it's provided as the example here:

You just have to be aware of which version uses "montre" and which uses "montrer", which it looks like you are.


That's what I thought, but it's done it to me twice now in exactly the same way!

Thanks for the link, if it comes around again I'll report it and cite that.


I just hate this sentence. It comes up so often and although I get it right Istill hate it.


Does one ever say this?I am 90 years of age and have never heard anything like it. Pat Field


Pat Field:

There are probably many Duo sentences you'll never hear, even by the time you reach 120!

But they're still useful exercises, in my view.



  • 1273

Is this the closest French idiom to "His bark is worse than his bite." ?


I don't think that is the meaning that this sentence is trying to convey


I omitted the second "he" and my answer was marked wrong. Is the second "he" absolutely necessary here?


Generally, yes, though perhaps not in songwriting or other instances where there's more poetic license.


About 5 phrases ago I was told "Il est comme son chien, il lui fait toujours montrer les dents" was acceptable, but now this time it is wrong.


Isn't "must" synonymous with "has to"?


Yes, but there is a subtle difference between the two. "Must" is used when you you talk about the necessity to follow your own decision or someone's order/demand. "has to" is used to describe the necessity arising from the circumstances such as the necessity to do some routine or abide by the rules. In tenses other than the present, though, 'must' is replaced with the appropriate forms of "have to".


My sense of it is that at least in North America we use "must" almost exclusively to express a supposition of which we're relatively certain: "Q: Who's at the door? A: It must be John." The same sentence can use "has to", which strikes me as a little stronger, either in certainty or desperation: "It has to be John."

And we use "have to" for any sort of duty or obligation, whether internally or externally motivated, and whether rule-based, routine-based, decision-based, or command-based, except perhaps very formally: "It's not enough to say that we should .  We absolutely must  !" It sounds somewhat old-fashioned or literary, at least to the North American ear, to use "must" with respect to an obligation, but it can have a certain motivational poetry to it, which can make it useful in speeches, for example, and in other formal discourse. Colloquially it's virtually competely avoided in this sense.

In tenses other than the present, "must" is often replaced with the appropriate form of "have to" ("had to" etc.), except that for suppositions we can still use "must" in constructions that refer to the past: "She's here already? She must have sped the whole way." The word "must" itself would seem to remain in the present tense here, but the question of tense becomes more of an issue if we say something like "We thought she must have sped the whole way." (Come to think of it, this sort of subordinate structure seems to work to put an obligatory "must" into the past as well: "We were convinced that we must leave immediately" — but again, "had to" would be used colloquially in this latter sense.)


I think you're right about the distinction here. At first I disagreed, but the more I tried out example sentences in my head, I changed my mind. I don't know that I would find it odd if I heard somebody use the construction, but it's very unlikely that I'd use it myself, it seems. "have to" or "have got to" would be more usual. It's an interesting point that I don't think I'd have noticed on my own.


what is wrong with ".....he must always show his teeth", we should be told!


Nay, we must . (I have a couple of guesses as to why, but you could try reporting it.)


I think "It is always necessary for him to" means the same as "he always has to". Not accepted.


It's wordy, but reportable.


When I am asked to write the French translation from English, this option is not available, and it says I am wrong. It states the correct verb is "doit" not "faut". :-?


Usually when that happens, you've made some other mistake (e.g. a typo) in the sentence, and Duolingo's not good at identifying the sentence you tried to write, so even though the program makes an attempt to suggest something close to your answer, it often misses the mark, suggesting a different verb etc.


Is it "montre" or "montrer?"


Montre because the subject of the verb is 'il', - he shows his teeth. The other part of the sentence - il faut qu' - it is necessary that (he has to)


This is an expression in English. Although to me it has two meanings. .. he is like his/a dog, always baring his teeth (greeting anything new with hostility) or ..always showing his teeth (grinning like an idiot at everything and everyone without sincerity).


(..without sincerity or comprehension)


So I pressed the button to recite the phrase while the recorder was on and it identified some of the words as incorrectly spoken. Go figure it...


What does this idom mean


To me, 'He always has to bare his teeth' implies that he is rather aggressive and 'up for a fight', and shows it in the same way that a dog would (it doesn't have to be his dog!). Which is the first interpretation given by javatete above.

It's worth noting that in English you don't just show your teeth if you are being aggressive, you bare them ('reveal them' / 'make them naked'). The French (and their dogs) just show their teeth. Of course, English speakers show their teeth to their dentist.


We do not have this proverb in English. The nearest I can think of is "you don't keep a dog and bark yourself"


it is meaningless

[deactivated user]

    the first time I did this DL gave '...il doit toujours montrer...' and the second time DL gave '...il faut toujours qu'il montre...'. as the translation???


    Why is "he is like his dog he must always bar his teeth" not accepted? Isn't it basically the same thing?


    I assume that you are asking why 'must' is not accepted. My take is that if we say say someone 'has to bare their teeth' we don't usually mean that they 'must' do it (due to some external cause) but that their character is such that they do it. So there is a difference between the two in English. I presume this is the French take on it as well, so 'must' is not accepted.


    More senseless nonsense!


    More redundant redundancy!


    Wow! I can juuust get the animals right and now they are tossing a mouthful and a half at me... think uh... think i might be over my head here... that escalated quickly.


    This sentence is my nemesis. Am I correct in parsing the "montre" here as being in the 3rd person singular present subjunctive? In which case, should not a translation into English using the subjunctive be accepted "It is always necessary that he show his teeth"?


    Yes, you're correct, and yes, it should be, assuming you made no errors in the other half of the sentence.


    The first time I had this sentence it used "les crocs" (fangs) rather than "les dents" (teeth). Is there a difference in meaning in this idiom?


    I don't think it really makes a difference in the meaning. "Crocs" is perhaps a little more emphatic, as "fangs" would be in English.


    Could this mean? He is like a barn yard dog. Basically just barks at everybody because he thinks he is in charge.


    I was marked wrong because I did not put a space after the comma after the word chien! Oh come on!!!!!!


    When I put montre it was corrected to montrer, so I put montrer and it was corrected to montre!


    As long as you're sure which version of the sentence uses which form of the verb, you should report it.


    Oh thanks, I wont be using that idiom in a hurry!


    This idiom is great! It perfectly describes many of my co-workers.


    Am I the only one who's never heard this idiom in English?


    No one has ever heard this in English.


    Some of the idomatic phrases here do not exist in English and this one in particular I have NEVER ever heard even though I am a native English speaker!!!


    I have written it right; I have copied it and paste it and still saying it is wrong!!! What is the matter?


    is this a real expression? it seems WAY too long and cumbersome.


    Does it mean he is always ready for a fight? Never heard the phrase being used in English

    • 1638

    But my translation was exactly the same as duo's. Why is it wrong?


    My translation is better than the one given and should be accepted as correct. The translation given is strictly incorrect as it has a split infinitive (to always bare) which should be avoided as much as possible.


    When you talk about your translation without providing it, no one can give you any meaningful feedback.


    AARG! Some problems that I have with this idiom it tells me that i'm right not to have the "qu'il", and others mark me wrong. Which is it? (Yes, I have read other comments saying that you should not take the idioms courses until you are further progressed, and wish that I had waited a little longer, however I found two or three that I really like and was able to memorize even if I don't understand all of the grammar)


    You have to copy and paste your whole sentence into your comment for any help. There are different ways to write the sentence in French but you have to get all the parts right, and if you change one part, you have to change others too.


    they keep saying i am wrong when i write one answer they show me another is correct help me out


    The solutions vary, sometimes with “lui” and sometimes without. Hard to guess which one you are expecting.


    As long as your sentence is a correct translation, the precise structure shouldn't matter. A correct answer is a good answer.

    Your entire sentence has to be correct, mind you. And if you get a multiple choice question, you have to pick all the correct answers (or at least that was the format when this comment was first posted).

    However, if you answered correctly but were marked wrong, then you have something to report.


    wait so he is like a dog and bares his teeth?

    [deactivated user]

      It is about being hostile. I know some linguistics. In Romanian we have a similar expression.


      what does the translation mean?

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