"They seem to be bad."

Translation:Ils semblent mauvais.

December 29, 2012

31 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/celesteaustral

Why aren't the adjectives in agreement with the subject? Elles - mauvaises, méchantes

April 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Another translation could indeed be "elles semblent mauvaises/méchantes".

April 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Joelinguo

mal, mauvais... sigh..!

November 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy

mal = adjective = modifies noun

mauvais = adverb = modifies verb.

Ils semblent mauvais

Mauvais talks about what they seem to be not what they actually are.

mauvais modifies semblent.

November 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Joelinguo

Merci beaucoup mon frere, wesh!

November 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/UmaObasi

And what does "Ils semblent mal" mean?

January 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

To me, it would mean "they seem/look uncomfortable"

January 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/UmaObasi

thanks

January 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/candaceh

méchant = mean, mauvais = bad. They are slightly different things, so why are both correct translations?

December 29, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

without any context, both should be acceptable

December 30, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/ujlw01

méchant also means naughty, as does bad.

January 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/sa_mills

Shouldn't this be 'Ils semblent être mauvais'? Another phrase was 'He seems rich' which DL translated as 'Il semble être riche'. Some consistency would be nice.

April 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

The use of "être" is optional here with "semblent" or "paraissent" to translate "seem/look"

April 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mere_des_chats

Sitesurf, I also assumed "être" was necessary except I used "avoir l'air". I wrote "Ils ont l'air être mauvais" but Duolingo didn't like the "être" and took it out.

So does that mean "avoir l'air" = "seems to be" so "être" is never needed because it is implied? How would you say "she seems (to be) happy"?

October 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Avoir l'air is used without "être" in general, although you can use it:

elle a l'air d'être heureuse - elle a l'air heureuse

note a slight nuance with: elle a l'air heureux (only the "air"=appearance is happy).

elle semble (être) heureuse = elle paraît heureuse.

Note that être, paraître, sembler, devenir, demeurer and rester are "state verbs", meaning that they describe a situation or a state, so there is a lot in common among these verbs, to which we could easily add "avoir l'air".

October 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/TeardropExplodes

Why not "Ils semblent malades" to mean "They seem to be bad" as bad could mean "ill" in this sentence?

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"bad" could mean "ill" with verb "feel", not with verb "be".

November 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/pattyclarke

Would "Ils semblent être maux." work?

November 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"des maux" is indeed the plural of "un mal" - noun - meaning ill (noun), discomfort, illness, problem, issue...

  • un mal de tête (headache) - des maux de tête (headhaches)

if "mal" does not have a determiner, it is either an adjective (mauvais, mauvaise, mauvais, mauvaises) after states verbs (être, sembler, paraître, devenir, rester) or an adverb after other verbs:

  • they seem bad = ils semblent mauvais / elles semblent mauvaises
  • this soup smells bad = cette soupe sent mauvais
November 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/pattyclarke

So would ""Ils semblent être mal." work? This puts "mal" after the state verb "être". If so, how does agreement work in this case?

November 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

No worry: "mal" is an adverb, and as such invariable.

November 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/pattyclarke

Thanks!

November 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/gpriddy

Can I say: Ils ont l'air d'être mauvais.

November 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Valencelectron

Why is it not "ils semblent d'être mauvais?"

March 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"sembler" is one of these verbs that do not need a preposition to introduce another verb in infinitive.

This is the whole list: aimer/aimer mieux, aller, compter, croire, daigner, devoir, entendre, espérer, faire, falloir, (s')imaginer, laisser, oser, penser, pouvoir, prétendre, savoir, sembler, sentir, valoir mieux, venir, voir and vouloir.

March 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/mikeb102

Why can't you say "ils semblent mechants?"

December 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

You can now, thanks.

December 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/JudeDike1

What about: ils semblent être mauvais ?

September 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JudeDike1

OK...it's been dealt with earlier

September 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Wmconlon

Could this not also be 'Elles semblent mauvaise.' ?

November 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/mere_des_chats

Elles semblent mauvaiseS.

Remember adjectives must agree not just in gender, but also quantity. You missed the S at the end.

November 23, 2018
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