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FR: Ils avaient tous beaucoup de peine pour moi

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by TaiChiChuan, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. TaiChiChuan Senior Member

    China
    Chinese-Mandarin
    In Camus's l'Etranger, there is a sentence: Ils avaient tous beaucoup de peine pour moi.
    And my question is about the pronoun tous, which I guess serves as an apposition of the subject of the sentence, Ils.
    In English, one says they all had but not they had all, here in French, why the author write ils avaient tous instead of ils tous avaient? Where should we place the apposition in French in such a situation?
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
  2. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    Ils tous avaient :cross: --> Ils avaient tous :tick:
    The word order Ils tous avaient is not possible in French. It's true that the word "all" has several possible locations in English, but French is not English. By the way, the translation won't use "had" in English. Instead, it will be something like "They all felt very sorry for me." We would not say "They felt all very sorry for me." :cross:

    For comparison, a second possibility uses tous as plural pronoun:
    Tous avaient beaucoup de peine pour moi.

    We can do the same thing with "all" in English, e.g., "All [of them] felt very sorry for me."
     
  3. TaiChiChuan Senior Member

    China
    Chinese-Mandarin
    Thanks very much for your explanation of the place of tous here in French and your reminder that avoir means feel here, like avoir peur, avoir faim, etc. And I must pay more attention to the differences between English and French.
     

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