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  5. "Il connaît son métier."

"Il connaît son métier."

Translation:He knows his craft.

December 29, 2012



Would it be correct to say that "Il connaît son métier." means "He knows her profession, i.e. what it's called." whereas "Il sait son métier." means "He knows how to do her job, i.e. he could do it himself."?


I like this question.

Actually, "il connaît son métier" can work for "he knows his (or) her job". It means that he knows how to do his own (in most cases), or someone else's job (another man's or "her") but with a risk of not being very clear.

"Il sait son métier" is not grammatically incorrect, but to avoid any ambiguity, we would say it differently:

"Il sait quel métier il/elle fait" or "il sait quel est son métier" - in that case, it will always be someone else's job.


Unless he suffered from anterograde amnesia, then you might say "Aujourd'hui il sait quel métier il fait, mais demain il l'aura oublié." (?)



Do you know this story: Doctor to patient: "I am sorry, but it seems you are suffering from Alzheimer" Patient to Doctor: "Pardon me? Loïs who ?"


But I thought savoir was used for understanding how to do something (eg a job). Is there some logic to this or is it just one of those "lol thats just how it is" things?


Connaître also relates to being familiar with something.


Is it connaît in this case because the job itself is a single entity, something which can be known? Whereas you would use savoir regarding the knowledge of how to DO the job? ie, 'Il sait comment faire son métier' Am I way off here?


In this case, the reason for "connaître" goes with the meaning of "to be knowledgeable about something". Usually such a sentence is a compliment.

To get a better grasp of your other suggestions, I added some context:

Il sait faire son travail quand ça l'arrange = he knows to do his job when it suits him.

Il sait comment faire son travail, et il le fait bien = he knows how to do his job, and he does it well.


But wouldn't it be more logical to say "Il sait son métier" for "he knows his (own) job" and "il connaît son métier" for "he knows [is familiar with] somebody else's job"?


I think I have already answered your questions earlier.


yes and no. what I was going for is, that if somebody talked about me saying "il connaît son métier", I would feel insulted, because I am not just familiar with my job, but I actually know what I'm doing. thus I would prefer being referred to as "il sait son métier". "il connaît son métier" sounds to me like a subtle way to say: he is a dabbler. But I assume it is an idiom.


If you remember that "connaître" is used with places and people, you will also understand the notion of "deep/extended knowledge" (connaissance profonde/étendue), which is also included in "connaître".

Don't feel insulted: "un métier" is a noble word, and "je sais son métier" only means that I know what he's doing for a living, not that I could do his job.


But I said he knows his work and was marked incorrect.


What about " he knows his craft" ?


From what sitesurf was saying below it seems craft is actually a better translation.

'"Un métier" is not a job, on principle. Un métier is a combination of knowledge and experience, whereas "un emploi" (job) is basically about work for money.' -Sitesurf


In English we say about your job to mean what we do for a living. The text is to be translated to English so that should be the accepted text imho.


This was my instinct as well. More natural, but less precise in terms of meaning.


I like the word métier. If you have visited the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris, it will bring good memories from a time when making a sign, a chair, a gate, a lock or a key was what we would consider an art today - before the days of mass production.


Can it be translated as "He know his job"? also


I used "He knows his stuff" colloquial English I know, but this phrase is very common in England. Does this translate to French like this?

  • il s'y connaît
  • il connaît son affaire
  • il sait de quoi il parle


Could you please explain the "s'y" part in your first sentence.
I think it's contraction of "si + y" but it doesn't click in my mind.

  • 'si' could mean 'if, so, yes' depending on different usage, but they didn't make sense to me.
  • what is the adverbial pronoun 'y' replacing here??


The "s' " is the reflexive pronoun "se" (il se connaît)

The "y" is elliptic and would refer to the field of knowledge.

  • il connaît beaucoup de choses en astronomie = il s'y connaît en astronomie.
  • colloquial: il y connaît quoi, en astronomie ? or il y connaît quoi, à l'astronomie ?

However, it is nearly "undecipherable" because the "s' " is not really justified. Just another weird idiomatic expression, I'm afraid.


Wow! I didn't even consider the reflexive pronoun as it still doesn't make any sense being reflexive in what!
But, as you said, it is an idiomatic expression; so we need to take it as is.

The adverbial pronoun 'y' is somewhat interesting here.
I always learned that 'y' replaces 'à + noun', and to me "beaucoup de choses" looks like the direct object of the verb 'connaît'.
Doesn't it make more sense to replace it with a direct object pronoun??
I've never encountered a phrase with a reflexive pronoun and a direct object pronoun, it's probably going to be ridiculously weird, and that's the reason for using 'y', or is there any grammar involved here??


I have found some more info, and I edited my previous message accordingly.

Actually "il se connaît à XX" was the ancient reflexive phrase, that evolved with time and became "il s'y connaît en XX" (= he has a good knowledge of XX).

Therefore, "y" and "en XX" represent the same thing in "je m'y connais en XX".

  • est-ce que tu t'y connais en astronomie ?
  • oui, je m'y connais.

"y" is therefore an indirect pronoun.


@Sitesurf: "I have found some more info, and I edited..."

It's interesting how thing change in time.
Different constructions evolve and leave a simple trace that will eventually feel like an idiom that doesn't make sense at all.... but it's good to know the roots of such expressions


Some ambiguity here. In a previous q Duo would not accept job for"metier". Now it does. The comments for that q pointed out that job and profession are somewhat different. Can a native speaker comment on whether the problem is with this q accepting it, or the other one not accepting it?


From French to English, this sentence can have a number of translations, like: he knows what he is doing; he knows his craft, his trade, his business... or his job.

"Un métier" is not a job, on principle. Un métier is a combination of knowledge and experience, whereas "un emploi" (job) is basically about work for money.

  • You can be jobless and have "un métier".
  • You can have "un métier" and a job that is not your "métier", like a software engineer giving math lessons.

From English to French, "he knows his job" would mostly translate to: "il connaît son travail" or "il sait ce qu'il fait"


I wasn't aware of that distinction with métier. Thx.


Thanks for your reply. As you can see, Duo's primary translation(for this specific sentence) is job. Do you think it should be corrected?


There are indeed other alternatives to "job" in the program, including the ones I listed above.


Regardless of the examples you gave above, DL just rejected "He knows his business". Which, I will point out, is usually a statement about a person's competence at whatever he's doing, not specifically about "business" in the sense of commerce. 27May15


Yes! My trusty old Cassell's F/E dictionary too gives 'business' as one of the translations for 'métier'. And in the E/F section it also gives 'métier' as a translation for 'business'.


According to the Concise O.E.D., métier as used in English, can also mean '(one's) forte' -- in addition to the alternative translations for the Fr. 'métier' already mentioned here (craft, trade, profession, business).


So un métier would be better translated as maybe 'a profession' or 'a career'?


Hey, Sitesurf, in this sentence, "il connaît son métier,'' is it true that you do not pronounce the the "t" in "connaît" because the next word starts with a consonant? If I can remember, the pronunciation of the final letter (if it is a consonant) depends on the first letter in the next word.



Except for the verb "être", other verbs do not often prompt liaisons.

So even if I said "il connaît une chanson", the liaison would not be mandatory.

However, it would be more fluid and nicer to my ear...


Sorry, but I still don't get it.


Not Sitesurf, but no, you do not pronounce the "t" in "connaît", certainly not when the next word begins with a consonant.

And, as Sitesurf explained, many people wouldn't pronounce it when the next word begins with a vowel, either - it is optional in that case.


Sitesurf and DianaM:



Rejected He knows his job even though thats the given translation in this discussion. Pendantic errors such as this are becoming severly irksome in that learning is hard enough without stupid obstacles being there.


he knows his job = il connaît son travail (colloquial: son boulot).

"un métier" is not a job; it is a speciality you have learned and practiced for long. The meaning is closer to "professional skill" than to "task".


I realize that métier means 'craft', but in English an idiomatic way to say it, I think, would be "He knows his business", meaning, he knows what he is doing. Wouldn't that be an appropriate translation?


"Il connaît son affaire" would probably be a better match for "he knows his business". This means that he knows what he is doing, be that his job or any other activity.


Why is "He knows his career" instead of craft alright?


"career" is "la carrière" and in French it describes your curriculum, ie the history of your professional life.

"le métier" is a mix of expertise and experience; this is why "trade" or "craft" is better.

[deactivated user]

    I think that "he understands his profession" should also be accepted as an alternate translation to "he knows his profession".


    to know - connaître/savoir to understand - comprendre


    The correct answer I got, when I typed "he knows his business," was "he knows his metier." The former seems to me to bear the meaning OK and the latter does not really seem colloquial English, but really only fit for occasional idioms.


    The trouble is the use of the word 'craft' has been really changing in the last few decades in the UK. Its traditional use is becoming quite outdated. Hence 'Arts & Crafts' and 'Craftwork' have rather pushed out 'he knows his craft', etc. In fact, I am sure that some young people would be puzzled by this meaning. It is just how language evolves. Everyday words to cover this include skill,- very skilled at his/her job; a skilled trade/job.

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