"Je peux rendre un soldat heureux."

Translation:I can make a soldier happy.

August 31, 2013

37 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JojoFromDenver

Obviously, all these perverts have never mailed a care package with cookies and goodies to a soldier.

May 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alice54_Maree3.

Is heureux one of those adjectives that has a different meaning before and after the noun.I put--I can make a happy soldier-- marked wrong

March 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/banksbenjamin

moi aussi. but the more i think about it, the sentence we made is more like "i can create a happy soldier" which would probably use "faire" whereas "i can make a soldier happy" is more like "i can turn a sad soldier into a happy one" so one would use "rendre" which is more for "render" or "mold into".

March 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ossumeoss

Its more that it has a different meaning depending on where you put the English adjective. "I can make a happy soldier" means that you can create a soldier that is happy, not that you can change the mood of an already existing soldier

April 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WillB_OU

Rendre + a person + adjective= to make someone (happy in this case). It's a good idea to use about.com, wordreference or a text book just to see if there a verb phrases/expressions to help explain a construction.

September 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/msinykin

By the way, french.about.com has changed to thoughtco; the french home page is https://www.thoughtco.com/french-4133079

The old links still work, but who knows how long. There is still a bunch of great information there, and it seems to be updated fairly regularly.

November 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

Thanks. Good information. I have been wondering why I am running across this outfit called thoughtco.com so often lately.

November 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/M.parlange

Believe me, i am.very happy for your having fun. Now, if you have finished, please, could anyone explain something to me?

My mother tongue is neither French nor English. I have read all your comments, but with no succes. They serve just to mix me up more than before. The more recent are two years old. Apparently nobody has problems with these sentences. I do have. All I need is:

1- The literal meaning (not the translation) of both sentences (the French one and the English one).

2- The way each of them could become better.

Thank you very much in advance to whom help me

August 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

1.

"I can make a soldier happy" means "(with my actions) I can cause a soldier to be happy". The French is simply a literal translation of this. Here the French "rendre" has a meaning identical to the first definition of the English "render" given on the following page:

2.

There's nothing wrong with the given English or the given French, so there's no way to "make them better". These are simple sentences with simple meanings.

People are making fun of the sentences not because they're wrong, but because of the stereotype – and historical fact – of local women prostituting themselves to foreign soldiers ([edit] and simply because of the assumed double entendre, as northernguy mentions below). This happened especially with American servicemen during the Vietnam War, and was an element included in the film Full Metal Jacket, which a lot of comments on this page refer to.


Technically the French can also mean "I can return a happy soldier (to his place of origin)", but this is an unlikely interpretation.

August 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/M.parlange

thank you very much PeaceJoy, now I am much more calm. With so many jokes I was convinced the sentences were terrible. Thats's why I was worried. I hope that my previous comment did not sound too strong. It is because of my lacks that sometimes I am not able to control the nuances.

Thanks again!

August 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

M.parlange

In English there is a phrase adapted from the French called a double entendre. This refers to a phrase or sentence which has two meanings.

The first meaning is the simple one contained in the words themselves. The second one is a meaning not evident in the words themselves but can be construed in a sexual way.

The jokes are all about the fact that everyone knows the one thing that can be counted on to make any soldier in a combat zone happy.

August 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/um6661138

nothernguy - - - just to be clear- double entendres are not always sexual. according to the definition they are "usually" though. i always thought of the term as another phrase to describe a pun. maybe the frequency in sexual based puns turned into the term double entendre... hmmm?..... any etymologists out there?

August 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

My own sense is that double entendres aren't necessarily puns per se (puns often involve the substitution of similar-sounding words, or other similar wordplay, for humorous effect), and that usually the implied meaning of a double entendre is indeed risqué. And I think the description fits the interpretation people are giving to this sentence quite well.

Edit: For good measure, here's what Wikipedia says:

August 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

PeaceJoyPancakes

Not being the etymologist called for I think that I will still put my oar in the water.

Pun comes from beating or forcibly rearranging something. Puns usually involve changing the words in a sentence in some way to arrive at the alternative and humorous meaning.

Double entendre comes from the time when the bourgeois sections of English speaking societies used French terms to talk about taboo topics. In those situations, a meaning is attached to words that actually have no connection to the original words but are created in the minds of the listener because listener's attention is already focused there anyway. The alternative meaning is in the mind of the listener not the speaker as is the case of the pun.

A pun is an intentional mashing of words by the speaker. A Freudian slip is a unintentional choice of words that reveals an embarrassing state of mind by the speaker. A double entendre is all about the listener inserting a meaning that is funny because it is shared by everyone listening once it is pointed out. One thing that most males will have in common....sex is worth having in your consciousness just about all the time.

August 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

I think I'll just add that several females on this page are also remarking on the double entendre. ;-)

August 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/um6661138

peacejoypancakes - - - i hope u get this bc the reply option has timed out - - - so, i looked up the definition of double entendre before my last reply and was pointing out that it said "usually". plus, i was surprised to realize that puns are in fact different bc of the way you described them, which i learned back in freshman year of high school when we went over a lot of shakespeare, but both terms seemed to be used interchangeably in the english class as well as in adult conversation when the terms would come up. i began to think they were interchangeable but they are not i guess. the distinction is clear as you described it. thank you : )

August 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

PeaceJoyPancakes

What you say is true. The difference is that if I make a similar joke in front of a bunch of guys I will get a laugh. If I repeat that joke in front of a group of women, I might get a laugh or a lawsuit for harassment.

August 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mikewinters

How about "I can return a happy soldier"?

August 31, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mark.gardiner

I think that would be "rentrer," non?

September 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

No, it could be return also: I can give back a happy soldier.

September 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mark.gardiner

That would be pretty awkward in the English.

September 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

Oh maybe in english, I was only trying to express, with other words, the possible meaning in French that mikewinters was talking about.

September 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

@nathanbash:
Thanks for the link which is quite good, I recommend t (I'm French ;)).

March 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

@jrikhal, there's nothing wrong with your English for the meaning you were expressing. It's just that the sentence is inherently strange, because it's hard to imagine an applicable context.

June 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/setijoso

why did they use the verb "rendre" and not "faire"?

September 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/M.parlange

I think you have to use:

  • «faire» for an action, always a verb: «il m'a fait tomber», «il m'a fait sentir bien».

  • «rendre» for a transformation, for becaming different, always an adjective: Il me rend heureux, ça m'a rendu fort.

September 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/freeman166

I can make a happy soldier why wrong

September 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

It's not impossible but it's unusual. "Happy" is the result, so put it last. This is a common structure when we're changing the state of something: "make sth. adj.", "rendre qch. adj.".

September 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/msinykin

I got this wrong also. How about: "Je peux faire un soldat heureux" ?

Also, it seems like "I can make a happy soldier" could have two meanings: 1. I can become a happy soldier (myself) 2. I can create a happy soldier (impersonal someone else)

November 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

Your sense of the "faire" version seems right to me.

November 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/oscarhugo52

Un soldat heureux = a happy soldier (not a soldier happy) .... so shouldn't the translation be "I can make a happy soldier" thus creating a happy soldier/person rather than making an already existing soldier happy by whatever means?

October 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

No. Because of the verb "rendre", the adjective following the noun will typically be understood as a resultative. The soldier exists per se, and is made happy.

October 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Adrian639547

Is there a reason why this cannot be translated as " I can return a happy soldier "

November 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

It's a technically correct possibility but an unlikely way for the sentence to be understood.

January 8, 2019
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