"il faut" does not refer to someone in particular but certainly to a human being (or several).
Therefore, "it has to be perfect" would point to an object. In that case, the French would be "It (for example: this cake) has to be perfect".
Could one not use then 'on' ... 'on faut etre parfait'? 'One has to be perfect'?
No, the form "il faut" comes from verb "falloir" which is defective, ie it is not conjugated at all persons but only the impersonal "il".
It can't since the verb falloir is always impersonal. You'd need to say: Il lui faut e^tre parfait/ Il doit e^tre parfait
It gives one option of the correct answer as "we must be perfect" - how is it we?
"il faut" does not refer to someone in particular. So the possible translations in English are "one", "you" (collective) or "we", which are more or less equivalent for a non individualized message.
If you back translate "it must be perfect" (= it is necessary that it is perfect), you get "il faut qu'il/elle soit parfait(e)".
So, no it does not work, because "il faut + verb" = "it is necessary to + verb", both being impersonal.
I answered 'it has to be perfect' and it tells me that is wrong? I don't understand why that is wrong. It has to be perfect is the same as saying 'it is necessary to be perfect', in fact it is better English grammatically and even colloquially...
"il faut..." is neutral and translates in "it is necessary to...". Now, English speakers usually use other formulas to mean "it is necessary to...", and tend to personalize the subject: "I have to...", "You have to...", We have to..." depending on the context.
Does this discussion only pertain to "il faut"? That is to say, would "nous faillons être parfait" also mean "we need to be perfect" and refer to a known group of individuals?
No, unfortunately, "falloir" is defective, which means that it only exists with the impersonal pronoun "il". However, all tenses are possible:
- present: il faut
- imparfait : il fallait
- futur simple: il faudra
- passé simple : il fallut
- futur antérieur: il aura fallu
- passé composé: il a fallu
- pus que parfait: il avait fallu
- passé antérieur: il eut fallu
- conditionnel présent: il faudrait
- conditionnel passé: il aurait fallu
- subjonctif présent: qu'il faille
there are others, but I think you can manage every possible situation with those...
The correct answer I was given was “ We have to be perfect”. Reading other inquiries and seeing what the answer is. Can I trust what I’m reading?