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  5. "Où sont les toilettes ?"

" sont les toilettes ?"

Translation:Where is the restroom?

December 26, 2012

58 Comments
This discussion is locked.


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

In France, unless you are speaking about a specific toilet, it is considered more polite to use the plural. In the French speaking portion of Belgium, they prefer to use the singular. I don't know about other French speaking areas.


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

In France, even if you are speaking about a specific toilet (booth), you will use the plural "les toilettes". It is not a matter of politeness, it is the word.

Even the slang words meaning "les toilettes" are in plural.

"La toilette" is about grooming and washing. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/french-english/toilette


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

When I studied French in school (in Ontario) we learned les toilettes


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OliverHees1

Same for me (I'm a 13 year-old kid learning French, and the question for going to the bathroom uses "les toilettes")


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

I am absolutely fascinated at how many ways there are to ask this question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sean1997

I think this should be "toilets" instead of "toilet" in the translation.


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

No, as telerski points out, the use of the plural in the French sentence is just a matter of politeness or delicacy. In English, plural doesn't serve that function, and you ask for the toilet/bathroom/restroom in the singular.


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

In Australia we do say "Where are the toilets?"


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

In Ireland I would say "where is the toilet" in someones house. In a bar or other public building I'd say "where are the toilets" or (weirdly non-pluralised now that I think of it) "where is the gents".


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

In Ireland I would say 'where is the jacks?' in a pub; 'where is the loo?' in someone's house.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/french_dctb06

lol I'm from ireland


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

Sure. Basically it's "where can I go pee?"


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

In Ontario, I almost never hear toilet unless I am speaking to a native French speaker or any of my Nigerian family members. Normally, I hear washroom, bathroom, ensuite, restroom powder room.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OwenJames3

This is simply not true. I would ask 'where are the loos?' - which is both polite and correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dr.Haider

I made it "Where are the toilets?" & it was accepted as correct.


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

In the UK we call "les toilettes"; most correctly - lavatories, loo is the shortened form, toilet is acceptable, WC etc. A bathroom in the UK is where one takes a bath and a restroom is where one has a rest. "Where are the toilets?" would be a common phrase when in a restaurant/public place.


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

If you were a French construction worker who was supposed to be installing fixtures in a hotel and a shipment of toilets was missing and you wanted to ask "Where are the toilets?", how would you phrase that so people didn't think you needed directions to a working lavatory?


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

Je ne peux pas trouver les toilettes que je suis censé installer...? Something like that. And context. Context is very important and helpful.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EdGar983049

How would you do that in English?


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

This I can't resist. "Where are the toilets? I mean, the ones I'm supposed to install, not the ones to crap in (This is US oriented, but I guess would be understood internationally),"


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

"Where are the toilets?" Is a perfectly normal question in English, if you happen to looking for the toilets in a public place. I fail to see how this could possibly be considered an incorrect translation, yet it was graded as incorrect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaryAnne20

I was debating whether to choose restroom or bathroom or both. Where I live, I would ask 'where is the washroom/bathroom' in someone's home. In a public place, I would ask 'where is/are the restroom(s)/washroom(s)'. Is their no such distinction in French?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arya.Stark

A quick rule of thumb for Australia/UK: Where are the toilets? Canada: Where is the washroom? US: Where is the restroom?

In Canada we'd be grossed out if you asked for the toilet, but we'd chuckle if you asked for the restroom (although it IS often written on signs).


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

Yes, I hope Duolingo has a huge database for this one.

England might also use "lavatory," or "lav" or "loo." Other names: powder room, cloak room, comfort station (more chuckles for overt euphemisms), latrine, water closet, bog, outhouse, privy, can, head, john...and on and on.


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

What happened to the Brit WC? (for Water Closet....)


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

where is john? <3


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

"John" is a colloquial term, used in particular areas and might not be recognized in some English-speaking countries. It is used in many areas of Canada. As it is a casual term, it should not be used if you are asking a stranger for the lavatory/washroom/toilets. :)


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

Dunny. Don't forget dunny. There's an Aussie movie devoted to portaloos - Kenny, lol!


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

Arya gives a good rule of thumb. Americans often say bathroom, though it is not really correct, as public restrooms don't usually have a bath. Americans will also often use "men's room/ladies' room" or "little boys room."

In France, toilet is not the same as bathroom, mostly because it is quite unusual to have a bath and toilet in the same room. It is common for there to be no sink in the toilet in private homes.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wiggy96

Or - Edward Albee, 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf': "Martha, will you show her where we keep the, uh, euphemism?" For we Brits, (and Aussies and... etc.), shouldn't 'toilet(s)' be in the drop-down hints as well as 'restroom' ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arya.Stark

Which is totally gross. Think about that door handle!!


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

no sink? So where would one wash their hands after?


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

How did kids get saddled with the facilities, anyway? I bet they had no say in it.


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

I learned that the in the Philippines the English they use is "CR" Where is the "comfort room".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Son965376

Yes we do use CR and this refers to a public restroom, such as in a restaurant, in your hospital room, at the office. Its a very pedestrian term though. When you are a guest in someone's house it would be crude to ask for the CR, bathroom would be the more polite.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Schatzie14

I was in Moscow, when I asked for the bathroom, I was guided to the Bathroom with a big bathtub full of water. The toilette was in another room.


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

I gave the answer as bathroom and it was wrong. Not sure why


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

It hasn't been included in the database. It needs to be reported. That one's used a lot, and is a good option.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RichardWhi62679

Because that's American English not English English. Quite a few other English words come up wrong if your from Britain


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

i wrote "where are the restrooms" and it wouldn't accept it


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-TashaJ-

Because "toilette" specifically means "toilet".


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

Not exactly. Only "toilettes" (plural) means "toilet". The singular form "toilette" has a very different meaning. See here:

http://cnrtl.fr/definition/toilette

    1. Au plur., p. euphém. Les toilettes. Lieux d'aisance. Synon. cabinet, lavabo

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-TashaJ-

Oh okay, I didn't know that. I guess you learn something new every day :) Thanks


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

I think this distinction could benefit from a picture question in Duolingo, one for toilettes and one for salle de bain.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kev034

why is my answer incorrect? where is the toilets?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jane821964

"is" is singular. To be correct it has to be "where ARE the toilets". I assume this is accepted?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nunayon2

I think 'les toilettes should be the toilet in english' and 'la salle de bain should be the bathroom'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jane821964

Les toilettes isn't the toilet as the former is plural and the latter singular. It translates as "the toilets" or potentially any local variation (in the uk loos or lavatories) where the translation is also plural.


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

It's all so twee. It seems we just can't call a toilet by anything we would accept as polite, anywhere in the English-speaking world. If pisshouse and ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ are unacceptable (and they are!) we are left with layer upon layer of euphemism. We do not rest in restrooms (unless we want to be arrested). Neither do we merely wash in washrooms. And before the English get all smug, lavatory derives from "a place to wash", loo (reputedly) from l'eau, and toilet, ultimately, from French "toile", a cloth used to wrap clothes. Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive. Even if we are just deceiving ourselves.

Where's the bog? (from Irish, bog, bogach "soft". Don't enquire too deeply).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Richard700389

I haven't heard someone use the term "loos", except people from England, or someone who likes British English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jane821964

It's a very common expression in the uk. I wasn't sure if duolingo would accept it as loo is an abbreviation of lavatory, so put "where are the lavatories" (which is a bit posh /old fashioned). It wasn't accepted but I've had notification that they now accepted it. In the uk a washroom is a washing facility, and a bathroom contains a bath! Loos is probably the most common expression, or gents/ladies


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WMG123

If anyone is interested in a pronouncement on this question as it pertains to England, 'Where is/are the/your bathroom/s?' is a perfectly acceptable way to ask where the toilets are. If you want to be very English about it, you can imply the question by asking 'do you have any bathrooms?'. 'Where are the toilets?' is a little crude. 'Where is the/your loo?' is very informal; I would use that phrasing with friends but not otherwise.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ph516503

I'm not convinced about that.

You'd be understood, due to the influence of american TV and films, but I don't think most British people would normally say "bathroom" when they meant toilet.

I'm British, lived here all my life (45 years) and it would never occur to me to ask "where is the bathroom" in, for example, a pub. I suppose you might do in someone's house.

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