1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Vous avez un adaptateur ?"

"Vous avez un adaptateur ?"

Translation:Do you have an adapter?

September 12, 2013



Person 1: "Okay guys, we need a french word for adapter. Any ideas?" Person 2: "Eh. I'm feeling lazy. Let's just throw in an arbitrary syllable and be done with it." And hence, adaptateur was born.


My new favourite word. Adaptateur. Brilliant.


Try saying "Il n'y a pas d'adaptateur" fast ten times.


"Have you an adapter" is English. "Do you have an adapter" is American. It is very annoying to be penalised for speaking English correctly!


Wha? Nobody in Britain would say that - we'd say "Do you have...?" or "Have you got...?". The second one you quoted is certainly not American, it's pretty universal English.

SOURCE: I come from a land up over.


Even though I personally believe "Do you have an adapter?" is the correct way to ask that particular question, I do agree that the phrase "Vous avez un adaptateur?" should be translated as either "You have an adapter?" or "Have you an adapter?" as "Do you have an adapter?" should probably be asked as "Est-ce que vous avez un adaptateur?" and I am sufficiently pleased with my French progress that I now know the difference. :D


On principle, we should always mirror the register of speech from the original sentence to the translation/

You may remember that there are 3 ways in French to ask the same question:

  • Formal: Avez-vous (As-tu) un adaptateur ?
  • Standard: Est-ce que vous avez (...tu as) un adaptateur ?
  • Relaxed/in speech: Vous avez (Tu as) un adaptateur ?

In English, you basically have 2 registers:

  • Formal/Standard: Do you have (US) / Have you got (GB) an adapter/adaptor (2 possible spellings)?
  • Informal: You have (got) an adapter/adaptor?

Note: using "tu" or "vous" does not change anything in terms of register of speech.


So "vous" is polite and "tu" is familiar... but not necessarily formal/relaxed?


The singular "vous" is something you use with people you don't know (until you become familiar with them) or with people you owe respect to (your boss, public forces, etc.)

"Tu" is for family, colleagues, friends, people of the same age/activity, etc.

Saying "tu" to someone does not prevent from being polite and speaking proper French. This is a totally different dimension.

Of course, you may argue (you won't I'm sure) that it is undoubtedly easier to say "tu n'es qu'un idiot !" than "vous n'êtes qu'un idiot !", and that "tu" may sometimes connote patronizing or contemptuous attitude, but still, you have to assume this is a different dimension.


c'est tres utile pour moi! :) merci beaucoup


No, "Have you an adapter" makes you sound like you go on fox hunts and have some sort of peerage...and are about seventy.


It depends where you come from in the world. Where I live 'Have you' is as common as 'Do you have' or 'Have you got'.


Fair enough. It was the casual American slur that irked me, really.


I'm Canadian, and we use both British and American english. For me, both are fine!


I've never heard the English version! That feels weird.


Is the liaison "Vous avez_un adaptateur" common or acceptable? Cause that's what the TTS is doing here, but I've never heard that liaison before.


It is required, but often omitted by French people in speech.


I don't think anyone has mentioned this, but having an engineering/electronic mind I certainly do not think of a power adapter when I see the word 'adapter'. Many situations use an adapter to match physical configuration as well as electrical configuration. So, naturally for me, I translated 'adaptateur' as 'power adapter' because I think that is the intended meaning. I was marked wrong. I think the accepted translation list needs editing here.


I also see "un adaptateur" as an in-between (male/female) electrical device you use when you travel abroad.


Thanks, me too. But what I am saying is that is a POWER adapter. It adapts alternating current power at high voltage to direct current power at a lower voltage. On the other hand a digital signal adapter, such as two different sized USB connections is not a power adapter, but a protocol adapter. That is why Duo should accept 'power adapter as a correct translation' ....in my humble opinion.


Anyway, Duo does not have such ambition as to plan for every interpretation.

This is why "adapter = un adaptateur" is all you need here.


First of all the french word for power isn't mentioned so you can't insert it into the sentence. That's like saying "une pomme" can be translated into "a round apple". Secondly, power is voltage times current and it isn't alternating or direct. The adapter in this sentence is presumably converting (not adapting) alternating current at low voltage to direct current at extra low voltage. The adapter refers to the plug ends, you are adapting a mains voltage plug to a laptop or phone DC power port, you are not adapting power, current or voltage. The fact that there is a step down transformer installed between the two plugs has nothing to do with the act of adaption. The adapter you're referring to is a power CONVERTER.


Some time ago, I bought a SIM card "adapter" that was a simple piece of plastic to allow for switching from iPhone 4 to iPhone 5 or vice-versa. There was no electricity involved, at all.


Hi Sitesurf. Yes, absolutely! That is an adapter in the physical sense. Do the French call that an 'adaptateur' ?


Thanks Ozlaps. Agree with most of what you said. I understand where you are coming from using the word 'converter' but I hope you won't be offended if I offer more information. We actually call them Power Adapters because they adapt mains voltage power to the lower voltage requirements (for laptops, mobile phones etc.) with respect to voltage, polarity and current capability. They contain rectifiers, some of which are regulated to provide a stable DC power supply from the mains supply. ( if DC is what is required) or a simple step down transformer if AC power is required at a lower voltage. But this is all irrelevant to my complaint about the phrase 'power adapter' not being included in the acceptable answers list. I'm pretty sure that the French are referring to a power adapter when using the word 'adaptateur' even if the word 'power' is not mentioned. If I am wrong about the intended meaning, please accept my apologies. That is why I am here.... to learn.


The french for 'adaptor' is 'adap-ta-teur'?!? BWAHAHAHAHAHA!


The English for un adaptateur is "an a-dap-tor." Pretty ridiculous, huh? They changed the vowels in the last syllable, took out one syllable, and pretend it's their own word!


Please don't ever make me say such a strange word as "adaptateur." :P (Ou) S'il vous plaît, ne me faites jamais dire des mots bizarres comme "adaptateur." :P


I had to say it recently when asking for an adapter plug for a power supply while staying at a hotel (luckily the desk clerk spoke English) ... you never know when you'll need this phrase!


Would 'charger' also be an acceptable translation? It wasn't accepted as an answer.


Un adaptateur is not a charger. Un adaptateur allows to convert one system to another (example: UK plugs are different from European plugs, you therefore need an adapter)


if by some miracle you see this sitesurf what does the n' stand for in n'es and n'êtes ? for some reason the app doesn't let me reply directly to someones comments , only write my own


In "n'es" and "n'est", the n' is elided from "ne", because "es" and "est" start with a vowel.

"ne" is the first part of a negative: ne... pas, ne... plus, ne... jamais

  • tu n'es pas/plus/jamais heureux = you are not/no longer/never happy
  • il n'est pas/plus/jamais heureux = he is not/no longer/never happy


so, "tu n'es qu'un idiot" and "vous n'êtes qu'un idiot" mean you are an idiot , or you aren't an idiot ? and how would you say the opposite , cause to me it seems like it would mean not an idiot , but there is no plus or pas , thank you again for you wisdom


"tu n'es qu'un idiot" means "you're but a fool".

"ne... que" is not a negation but a restriction and it means "only".


so am i right in assuming that saying it like you wrote above is more hurtful than just "tu es un idiot' ? or do i have to include "n' & qu'" ?
sorry for being so pedantic but proper learning is really important to me and i wanna say i truly do appreciate every bit of info that you give and the effort you put into your answers i know it can be a daunting task to write so much and so often , and if u ever want any help with Spanish or italian/portuguese i would be more than thrilled to help although i imagine for a french speaker all the other romance languages are a piece of cake lol , either way thank you from the bottom of my brain and have a great sunday !


Thanks for your appreciation!

"tu n'es qu'un idiot" tends to reduce your own self to an idiot, so it is even more hurtful than "tu es un idiot", which, technically, could mean that aside that, you do have a lot of qualities.


Thanks a lot for introducing this, sitesurf, I would always have gone with "tu es un idiot" ! But does your translation of "tu n'es qu'un idiot" as "you're but a fool" lack a "nothing", i.e. shouldn't it read "You're nothing but a fool" or if I take it more wordly but probably more correctly (also thanks for pointing out that "ne..que" means only) "You're only a fool" or "You're a fool, only" ? Thanks in advance !


English if wrong in spelling should not be considerd

  • 1247

What would be the difference between " Vous avez un adaptateur ? " and " Avez vous un adaptateur ? " and if it means the same thing is there a preferred way of saying it ?


No difference except that you left out the hyphen (le trait d'union). Avez-vous un adaptateur ?

  • 1247

Oh, I didn't realize that "avez-vous" required a hyphen ( le trait d'union) where as " vous avez " does not ? Thanks for " le trait d'union " too .


Isn't " Vous avez un adaptateur ? " an informal way of asking? Yet, the pronoun is formal, doesn't it sound silly?


You can ask that question to a plural "vous", not necessarily to a polite "vous".

However, the informality of a grammatical construction can combine with politeness. Even though the grammar is not respected, the person you are talking to is still respected.


Isn't it corectly ''Avez vous un adaptateur?''


Oui, with a hyphen and an extra space before the question mark: avez-vous un adaptateur ?


Why do you need an extra space between the last word and the question mark?


French punctuation rules are different:

  • one extra space is needed before "; : ! ?"
  • and one on each side of quotes, that are also different in form: « quote »


what is an adapter?


A device for connecting pieces of equipment that cannot be connected directly. Also can be another word for "phone charger".


A charger pumps electricity into your device, so it is not an adapter.


People are talking about British and American English translation and here I am dealing with "what is wrong with using a/an instead of 1 in this sentence???"


Hi. The use of the numeral '1' in many Duo exercises is a glitch that has been around for a long time. I have read several times that the development team is working on fixing it. In the meantime, there is nothing wrong with using 'a/an', as you can see at the top of this page. Perhaps your answer had a different issue?


Do you have a charger is right as well..


No, because a charger is not an adapter. A charger drives power from the electrical source to a device and an adapter enables you to use an American plug with a European socket or other combination.


In English, at least, things like phone chargers are also referred to (accurately) as adapters, because they enable you to use AC power (household current) to charge a DC battery.


All right, so once again, French is different.


This is where i get confused. Why is it "vous avez un adaptateur" and not "avez-vous un adaptateur"????


Because those are both ways you can ask questions in French. "Avez-vous un adaptateur?" is also a correct way to ask the question.


"Avez-vous un adaptateur ?", with a Verb-Subject pronoun inversion is formal, mostly used in formal writing.

"Vous avez un adaptateur ?", phrased like a statement with intonation, is informal and used in speech.

"Est-ce que vous avez un adaptateur ?" is the standard interrogative construction, to be used in speech and formal or informal writing.


Just wondering, why isn't it Avez vous or est-ce que vous avez?


With this sentence, you are shown how people speak in everyday situations.

  • Avez-vous un adaptateur ? is the formal phrasing
  • Est-ce que vous avez un adaptateur ? is standard French (spoken and written)
  • Vous avez un adaptateur ? is informal and common in speech (not to be written).
Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.
Get started