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  5. "Qu'en dites-vous ?"

"Qu'en dites-vous ?"

Translation:What do you say about it?

December 30, 2012

71 Comments


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

This sounds like "Quand dites-vous?" -- I'm not sure how I'd tell the difference in conversation.


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

The back translation of your proposal is "when do you say?".

In a conversation, in English, you would probably not understand "When do you say?" because it does not sound right.


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

But would "Quand dites vous" be a fine way to start a sentence? Like "Quand dites vous 'si'l vous plait' en francais?" (When do you say please in French?)


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

It sounds fine to me 'when did you say [you were available]?


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

I typed this and it was accepted!


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

I answered "Quand dites-vous" suspecting that I was wrong and it was accepted


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

I said Quand on July 2 and it was accepted.


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

I don't really understand this. Is it just an expression?


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

yes it is, I suspect in English I would say "so, what about it?"


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

So, it seems to me that they should highlight this as a whole expression, as they usually do with idioms.


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

That's about the best English comparison. Another less used phrase would be what say you? However that would only work when in response to previous remarks whereas so, what about it? could also refer to previous actions or circumstances that were the subject of discussion.


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

Thank you, Sitesurf. This was puzzling me too.


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

or : (So), what do you say about that peut-etre?


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

"Qu'en dites-vous?" = What do you say? / What do you think?


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

There is an applicable entry in this about page on this: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/pron_adverbial_2.htm

En also replaces de + noun with verbs and expressions that need de. Again, in French, you must include either de + something or its replacement en, even though "about/of it" is usually optional in English.

What do you think about my idea? What do you think (about it)? Que penses-tu de mon idée ? Qu'en penses-tu ? Wrong: Que penses-tu ?

What are the consequences of this decision? What are the consequences (of it)? Quelles sont les conséquences de cette décision ? Quelles en sont les conséquences ? Wrong: Quelles sont les conséquences ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Omnipotence456

Why isn't "What are you talking about?" correct?


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

The meaning of "qu'en dites-vous ?" is "what do you think about it?" or "what do you have to say about it?". The question is not an invitation to repeat but to express an opinion.


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

Could it be "what do you think"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/evelim1972

What is the pronuciation difference between "Qu'en" and "quand"/


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

There is none.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/evelim1972

So why can't it be "Quand dites-vous"? when do you say?


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

"quand dites-vous ?" would miss something: the object, ie what the person would say, because "dire" is used with an object.

  • quand dites-vous bonjour ? would work

"qu'en dites-vous ?" is not the same construction : "dire de qqch", ie "what do say about something?" - in this construction "en" expresses the English "about something".


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

we're probably so far from the original topic, but how would we ask the question ("when do you say it?")
as if someone introduced you to a new word/sentence, and you want to know when to use it, would it be;
quand dites-vous ça ?
or
quand le dites-vous ?


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

Yes, both are correct to translate when do you say it.


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

I typed quand dites vous. It gives me correct


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/007varun.desai

what is en used for????


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

"en" is a pronoun, meaning "de+something" and refers to something that was mentioned before.

  • J'ai entendu dire que les impôts allaient encore augmenter. Qu'en dites-vous ?

(I heard that taxes were to increase again. What do you think about that?)


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

Hi Sitesurf. Reading your example, above...: do you synchronise tenses in French, too? or is it you being 'anglicised' in the process of continuously helping us-poor-French-learning souls?


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

How would you say "What do you say about them?"?

The answer to that might help me see why this expression refers to "it" as opposed to a general pronoun.


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

"en" replaces a previous word or a sentence or a whole speech we don't know about.

That is why, in real life, depending on what was said before, you will know if it is about "him, it, them, that..."


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

Ah, very helpful. Merci! :D


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

Hmmmmm....I wrote "Quand dites-vous" and got it right. Is that an error? Cuz it was a total shot in the dark.


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

I am a native French and English bilingual speaker.

It is often used as a rhetorical question form of "I told you so!", usually after the "destinataire" undergoes some unfortunate event/accident. The use of "vous" implies that the speaker has respect for the "destinataire" (the reader/the audience/the recipient).

It is also (more rarely) used authentically as asking what a someone's opinion/criticism is on a specific matter/topic. "Qu'en pensez-vous?" is more current for this meaning.

Direct translation: What (Qu') do you (vous) [have to] say (dites) about it (en)? Although the direct translation above (original post) is accurate, the "[have to]" seems to better encompass the French meaning, especially the fact that this short phrase can be provocative. *keep in mind that French expressions (not necessarily full-fledged idioms) tend to be quite ambiguous, and rely heavily on contexte and tone.

hopefully that helps, just passing through and saw some confusion in the comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ronnie-JA

This is a most excellent post. Merci beaucoup!


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

"What do you have to say about it" isn't an acceptable translation?


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

In your proposal there is a notion of "must" which would translate in "qu'avez-vous à dire à ce sujet ?"


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

I don't know if it makes any difference in the translation, but in the sentence "what do you have to say about it" the phrase "do you have" implies possession. C'est-à-dire "what do you have that you would share about the subject." At least, that's what I think Michael Greyjoy meant.


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

"what do you say" is good enough, i think.


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

...lol ...Quand dites-vous is now marked as correct.... still it means " what do you say about it"....


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

If the sentence was dictated, fine. But the translation will obviously change from French to English:

quand dites-vous ? = when do you say?

...which is weird, since those are incomplete questions.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Martijn-J

Sooo... it should be reported, right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ronnie-JA

I think the reason it was allowed is because the audio only exercise cannot distinguish between the two without more context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Martijn-J

Yeah, but according to Sitesurf it's an unnatural sentence. So we should be taught to go for the logical answer and not the garbage sentence. And apart from that, the translation given is still "What do you say about it?" when using "Quand".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ronnie-JA

I agree with you. But would you also agree that, inadvertently, by going through this process you've in fact learnt the difference?

Ultimately, as Sitesurf says, homophones exist in all languages and in speech it sounds the same but would be understood as "What..." because "When.... etc etc" doesn't make any sense without more information.

However, its grammatically possible to construct the sentence with quand, so there's also a recognition of that in the audio (at least, that's my take on it). Maybe what they should do to compromise is give an alternative English translation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Martijn-J

"But would you also agree that, inadvertently, by going through this process you've in fact learnt the difference? "

Yeah sure, but I should be able to rely on the lessons. I could have just as well said, "Oh, I guess 'Quand' means something like 'What about it'. Lesson learned!", and moved on. And that's terrible.

And like you say, they are homophones they need more information. And that is exactly what you are given here, more information.

And grammar shouldn't be the final ruling of correct language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ronnie-JA

I believe it was reported that qu'en sounded like quand in the audio, but quand was initially marked as incorrect, so many people complained. They then made it correct in recognition of the homophone but didn't distinguish the meaning. So now what we have is a halfway house between the two.

I'd say report it again but also how would they rectify this problem whilst retaining the simplicity of the program and recognising the homophone? If you have a good suggestion, put to to Duolingo and it might be an acceptable change. I'm not good enough to think of an elegant solution myself.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piscean59

Part phrases are difficult to identify. As I understood usage of en is supposed to avoid repeat of earlier phrase in a conversation. Suggest why not give full sentences?


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

is it wrong to say 'what do you tell about it' ?


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

I keep translating to English that makes sense stupidly... Apparently this is ok as "What do you say?" which as a stand alone sentence in English makes no sense. So I stupidly translated it to "What did you say?" to get it wrong but make way more sense in English.

Keep forgetting they want literal (but not sometimes...) translations.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ronnie-JA

In this case, its not really about being literal. Its about the simple idea of replacing previously introduced information with a pronoun. So "en" "y" are similar in that they're pronouns which replace content.

There's a logic to it - conversation can become more precise, concise flexible if used well. Its OK to decipher the English translation, but it's key to remember its function rather than just its translation, as French is very contextual & its difficult to get this concept right from one standalone sentence.


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

I was marked wrong before I could get started with my answer


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

That has happened to me when I hit "enter" by mistake.


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

Can 'en' be replaced with 'le/la' here? Is 'Que le dites-vous?' correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ronnie-JA

That would make "What do you say it?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/faraston3001

This sounds like "Quand dites-vous?" -- I'm not sure how I'd tell the difference in conversation.

i totally agree. sigh


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

Chances are that "quand dites-vous ?" will never be asked to you, since it you want to ask the question "when do you say?" you need something else, ie a complement to verb dire/say:

quand dites-vous bonjour ?

when do you say hello?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ronnie-JA

Ok, your insight is useful but the main issue for me remains the similarity of the pronunciation. Surely the course should acknowledge the conflict as well as the meaning when teaching the learner. For me, even though the translation of quand dites-vous doesn't make a lot of sense in French, its still difficult for a new learner to understand the difference in meaning without checking this forum or doing further research (which is not a bad thing in itself). The courses are becoming more tricky because there are many more of these aural conflicts.


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

There are homophones in all languages: see and sea for example, that you would probably not confuse, because they mean different things and there is always context when you use them. I agree that the lack of context in Duolingo makes things a bit harder for learners.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/faraston3001

right. i see. thanks Sitesurf


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

Duolingo accepted "Quand dites-vous."


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

What's the difference between dites and parles?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ronnie-JA

One is to tell or say, the other is to speak.


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

I can't work out what she's saying at all. Press the slow button and i think she should separate dites-vous into 2 words but it sounds like she's saying one word like veetvoo or reetroo or deetvoo. It would also help if she slowed down Qu' and en by leaving a gap. Isn't that what the slow mode is supposed to do? Show the gaps between the words, even those that run together in normal mode?


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

Would it be acceptable to say "What are you talking about?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ronnie-JA

No, to talk about is Parler de

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