FR: he thinks about which planet the alien came from

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by Sebastian2008, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. Sebastian2008 Junior Member

    English- USA
    Hi. I want to say "Paul thinks about which planet the alien came from" (I know...it's a weird story!). I am not sure my word order is correct. Can someone help me?

    Paul pense à de quelle planète l'étanger venait.

    That sounds so weird to me...but it's my only guess.
    Thanks,
     
  2. Jeanne75 Senior Member

    French - France
    Hello,

    L'étranger (ou peut-être ici extra-terrestre ?) venait d'une planète. Paul pense à cette planète =>

    Paul pense à la planète dont l'étranger venait / dont venait l'étranger.

    If Paul is not sure about which planet the alien comes from:
    Paul se demande de quelle planète l'étanger venait.

    Cheers
     
  3. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    :thumbsup: The word "which" in the English original tells us that Paul is indeed wondering where the alien is from.

    (Paul pense à la planète dont l'étranger venait = "Paul thinks about the planet the alien came from" -- in which case he may not know the identity of the planet, but he is thinking about what things must be like on that specific home planet, not wondering which home planet it could be.
     
  4. Sebastian2008 Junior Member

    English- USA
    Thank you! Both responses make sense to me; I don't fully understand the pronoun "dont" so I always forget about using it.

    Yes, Paul is wondering which planet he comes from, so I guess the 2nd option is better.
     
  5. Lang-learner

    Lang-learner Senior Member

    Paris
    France-french
    In fact it is not "dont" but "d'où" ... (la planète d'où venait... - ... where it came from...)

    ///
     
  6. Jeanne75 Senior Member

    French - France
  7. Lang-learner

    Lang-learner Senior Member

    Paris
    France-french
    You're right.

    But so much complex that damn french grammar ! :D

    ///
     
  8. Sebastian2008 Junior Member

    English- USA
    So then should I say "Paul pense à la planète d'où venait l'étranger" (Paul thinks about which planet the stranger comes from....as in, there are many possible planets this man could be from, and Paul ponders which one it could be.)
     
  9. Jeanne75 Senior Member

    French - France
    Hi there,

    No, you should not... we were just discussing French grammar (dont or d'où), say, for fun - sorry for the confusion.

    As stated by Jann, "Paul pense à la planète d'où (or dont ...) venait l'étranger" implies that Paul knows which specific planet it is and just figuring it in his mind. Whereas in your case Paul "is wondering which planet etc" => "se demande de quelle planète".

    Cheers
     
  10. Fred_C

    Fred_C Senior Member

    France
    Français
    Hi,
    Your sentence contains a question word, («which»), and that makes clear that paul is actually wondering which planet.
    The sentence «Paul pense à la planète d’où venait l’étranger» does not contain a question word. («où» is a relative pronoun, here). This sentence means exactly :
    «Paul thinks about the planet from which the alien came from», where the word «which» is no longer a question word, but a relative pronoun.

    You must say «Paul se demande de quelle planète venait l’étranger», which means «Paul wonders which planet the alien came from».
    I do not think it is possible to ask indirect questions whith the verb «penser» in French.
     
  11. Jeanne75 Senior Member

    French - France
    Hi,

    You are right: it is not possible to ask indirect questions whith the verb «penser» in French.

    Cheers
     
  12. Sebastian2008 Junior Member

    English- USA
    whew. Ok. I think I got it. Paul WONDERS which planet the alien came from = Paul se demande de quelle planète venait l'étranger.
     
  13. Jeanne75 Senior Member

    French - France
    Exactly ;-)
     

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