Coffee's french questions

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Coffee
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Coffee's french questions

Postby Coffee » Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:19 pm

Hi,

I’ve just started to learn French.
I am using busuu, a german textbook and assimil. So, I’m good covered with materials.
But a few questions came up:

1. I wrote the sentence « Je suis blonde et les yeux bleus » it was corrected to « Je suis blonde aux yeux bleus »
I looked up « aux ». It means “to the, at the”.
Actually I wanted to say “I am blond and have blue eyes.”
I don’t see the point, why should I use “aux”?

2. “Anne a les cheveux bruns” is one of the example sentence.
Les cheveux bruns means brown hair.
Okay, but is « les » not a definite article?
Either in German or English I would use an article there. Is it just something I must get used to in French?

Have a nice Sunday evening,
coffee
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Re: Coffee's french questions

Postby tarvos » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:09 pm

Coffee wrote:Hi,

I’ve just started to learn French.
I am using busuu, a german textbook and assimil. So, I’m good covered with materials.
But a few questions came up:


All right. I'm not a native speaker of French, but I'll explain it to the best of my knowledge:

1. I wrote the sentence « Je suis blonde et les yeux bleus » it was corrected to « Je suis blonde aux yeux bleus »
I looked up « aux ». It means “to the, at the”.
Actually I wanted to say “I am blond and have blue eyes.”
I don’t see the point, why should I use “aux”?


In your sentence, you left out the way to say "have blue eyes." You used a German sentence structure here (pardon my terrible spelling):

"Ich bin blond und blau-augig (oder: ich habe blaue Augen)". In French, we don't say that someone "is blue-eyed" but we say that they "are at blue eyes": elle est aux yeux bleus. We say aux because it's a contraction of à + les which always leads to "aux" and is mandatory.

In short:


Je suis à les yeux bleus ---> Je suis aux yeux bleus.

Alternatively, you could use the verb to have: "Je suis blonde et j'ai les yeux bleus", but it sounds more parsimonious with one verb, so that's why that structure was suggested to you.

2. “Anne a les cheveux bruns” is one of the example sentence.
Les cheveux bruns means brown hair.
Okay, but is « les » not a definite article?
Either in German or English I would use an article there. Is it just something I must get used to in French?


Yes. It's a definite article and in French these types of sentences always require a definite article, unlike English or German.
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Re: Coffee's french questions

Postby Arnaud » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:20 pm

Coffee wrote:Hi,

I’ve just started to learn French.
I am using busuu, a german textbook and assimil. So, I’m good covered with materials.
But a few questions came up:

1. I wrote the sentence « Je suis blonde et les yeux bleus » it was corrected to « Je suis blonde aux yeux bleus »
I looked up « aux ». It means “to the, at the”.
Actually I wanted to say “I am blond and have blue eyes.”
I don’t see the point, why should I use “aux”?

2. “Anne a les cheveux bruns” is one of the example sentence.
Les cheveux bruns means brown hair.
Okay, but is « les » not a definite article?
Either in German or English I would use an article there. Is it just something I must get used to in French?

Have a nice Sunday evening,
coffee

1. "Aux", "au" "à la" means also "with": Thé au citron, tarte à la confiture, brune aux yeux verts, etc.
2. Didn't understand the question, I let someone else answer. "Les" is a definite article, plural of le or la.

@Tarvos: I don't understand your explanation: "J'ai les yeux bleus" is the only way to say you have blue eyes, "je suis aux yeux bleus" is something I never heard or said (I have blue eyes !). But you can say "c'est une femme aux yeux bleus"...don't ask me why, I don't know...
Edit: using "à" for "with" is usually a big source of mistakes for non-native speakers, so use it only in fixed expressions you have already seen in native material and don't try to create your own sentences with it, because usually it's a disaster.
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Re: Coffee's french questions

Postby tarvos » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:35 pm

Yeah, I had never heard of it solo before either. I'd phrase it the way you phrased it. I'd never thought of the "c'est" construction before, thanks.

I clearly haven't spoken French in too long, hah.
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Re: Coffee's french questions

Postby Coffee » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:56 pm

Thank you very much for the explanations.
I think I got it.
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Re: Coffee's french questions

Postby Coffee » Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:05 pm

Hi,

I’ve another question about the verb „travailler“. First I taught it is “travailler à”, but then I read a few example sentences. Is there any rule, when to use “travailler à” and when “traivailler dans”? Is that something I just must learn by heart?

Example sentences
Le médecin travaille à l‘hôpital.
L’homme au foyer travaille à la maison.
Le professeur travaille à l’école.

L’infirmière travaille dans une clinique.
Les vendeurs travaillent dans un magasin.
Le serveur travaille dans un restaurant.
Ils travaillent dans un bureau.
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Re: Coffee's french questions

Postby Arnaud » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:28 am

As nobody answered, I'm going to answer but I'm not qualified and I'm afraid my explanation won't be of great help or is perhaps wrong.

Coffee wrote:Hi,

I’ve another question about the verb „travailler“. First I taught it is “travailler à”, but then I read a few example sentences. Is there any rule, when to use “travailler à” and when “traivailler dans”? Is that something I just must learn by heart?

Example sentences
Le médecin travaille à l‘hôpital.
L’homme au foyer travaille à la maison.
Le professeur travaille à l’école.

L’infirmière travaille dans une clinique.
Les vendeurs travaillent dans un magasin.
Le serveur travaille dans un restaurant.
Ils travaillent dans un bureau.

You can use both "dans" and "à", the problem is related with the use of the article and how hospital, house and school can both mean the institution and the place/building. In the first group, it's the institution that is implied (the doctor doesn't work as a private physician, he works for the public system of health, the teacher doesn't work at the university). The second group, the place is implied: clinic, shop, restaurant are not institutions (and can't be), they are places. The problem is that in the first group, even if the institution is implied, it can also mean the building/place, as usually if you work at the hospital, you also work in a hospital, I don't know if the subtility is apparent in english or not with the preposition in/at.
Same for "à la maison": it means that the person works home (and at the same time when you work home, you work in a house/flat (dans une maison/ un appart), not an office or a factory)

You can write: Le médecin travaille dans un hôpital (which one ? can the implied question)
You can write: L'infirmière travaille à/dans la clinique du professeur X (une clinique is not specific, it can be any clinique, la clinique du professeur X is specific and you can use both à and dans). If you write "L'infirmière travaille à la clinique" you and your interlocutor know which clinic it is, but without context it can sounds a little weird and "dans une" will be prefered.

If I write: Je vais au magasin chercher du pain, you and I know which shop I'm talking about (probably always the same shop)
If I write: Je vais dans un magasin chercher du pain, it can be any shop that I'll find on my way, it's not specified.
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Re: Coffee's french questions

Postby garyb » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:16 pm

I was unsure about this for a long time. There's a great explanation of this in one of the first lessons of "Grammaire progressive du français Niveau perfectionnement"; I don't have a copy to hand but if somebody else does and wants to summarise it that could be very useful! But Arnaud's explanation sums it up well.
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Re: Coffee's french questions

Postby s_allard » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:30 pm

Arnaud wrote:As nobody answered, I'm going to answer but I'm not qualified and I'm afraid my explanation won't be of great help or is perhaps wrong.

Coffee wrote:Hi,

I’ve another question about the verb „travailler“. First I taught it is “travailler à”, but then I read a few example sentences. Is there any rule, when to use “travailler à” and when “traivailler dans”? Is that something I just must learn by heart?

Example sentences
Le médecin travaille à l‘hôpital.
L’homme au foyer travaille à la maison.
Le professeur travaille à l’école.

L’infirmière travaille dans une clinique.
Les vendeurs travaillent dans un magasin.
Le serveur travaille dans un restaurant.
Ils travaillent dans un bureau.

You can use both "dans" and "à", the problem is related with the use of the article and how hospital, house and school can both mean the institution and the place/building. In the first group, it's the institution that is implied (the doctor doesn't work as a private physician, he works for the public system of health, the teacher doesn't work at the university). The second group, the place is implied: clinic, shop, restaurant are not institutions (and can't be), they are places. The problem is that in the first group, even if the institution is implied, it can also mean the building/place, as usually if you work at the hospital, you also work in a hospital, I don't know if the subtility is apparent in english or not with the preposition in/at.
Same for "à la maison": it means that the person works home (and at the same time when you work home, you work in a house/flat (dans une maison/ un appart), not an office or a factory)

You can write: Le médecin travaille dans un hôpital (which one ? can the implied question)
You can write: L'infirmière travaille à/dans la clinique du professeur X (une clinique is not specific, it can be any clinique, la clinique du professeur X is specific and you can use both à and dans). If you write "L'infirmière travaille à la clinique" you and your interlocutor know which clinic it is, but without context it can sounds a little weird and "dans une" will be prefered.

If I write: Je vais au magasin chercher du pain, you and I know which shop I'm talking about (probably always the same shop)
If I write: Je vais dans un magasin chercher du pain, it can be any shop that I'll find on my way, it's not specified.

Although I have my little differences, I really think that Arnaud's answer is excellent. Congrats.
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Re: Coffee's french questions

Postby tastyonions » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:48 pm

One can also "travailler pour" and "travailler chez." Oh, the fun. ;)
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