FR: present simple / present continuous

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by Gargouille, Nov 15, 2006.

  1. Gargouille New Member

    English, U.S.A.
    (Me corrigez, s'il vous plait.)

    Il y a treize ans depuis j'apprenais le francais en lycee et, maintenant, je voudrais me derouiller ma memoire. J'aurai besoin de beaucoup d'aide.

    Ma premier question est a propros de conjugasion de verbes continu. Je commprends qu'on traduirait: "he walks," comme, "il marche," mais comment on dit: "he is walking"? "Il est marcher"?

    Merci d'avance.
  2. Qcumber Senior Member

    UK English
    Il y a treize ans que j'ai appris le francais au lycée et, maintenant, je voudrais me dérouiller ma mémoire. J'aurai besoin de beaucoup d'aide.
    Ma première question est à propros de conjugaison de verbes à l'aspect continu. Je comprends qu'on traduise: "he walks," par "il marche," mais comment dit-on: "he is walking"? :)

    Il marche.
    Il est en train de marcher.

    Il marchait.
    Il était en train de marcher.
  3. Gargouille New Member

    English, U.S.A.
    Merci. Ainsi, on peut dire, "est en train de" + l'infinitif pour toutes verbes a la forme continue?

    I am thinking --> Je suis en train de penser.
    He is speaking --> Il est en train de parler.
  4. titi22 Senior Member

    french FRANCE
    yes. je suis en train de te répondre, par exemple...;)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2013
  5. Qcumber Senior Member

    UK English
    I am thinking --> Je suis en train de penser.
    Better. > Je suis en train de réfléchir. > Je réfléchis.
    Par exemple:Tais-toi, je réfléchis.
  6. sun-and-happiness Senior Member

    Mon livre de francais dit que pour traduire, par example, I run, I'm running, I do run on a seulement une forme en francais je cours. Est-il vrai? Est-ce qu'il n'y a pas une forme pour exprimer le -ing anglais? Merci beaucoup d'avance.
  7. Bamérique

    Bamérique Senior Member

    French (France)
    Your book is correct for translating those 3 present forms.

    The -ing in English is not equivalent to ONE thing in French.

    You might find "-ing" translated as "-ant"

    Il parle en dormant = He talks while sleeping

    -ant is a present participle. It's typically used with "en" (while, by, upon)

    He's sleeping = il dort
    He's eating = Il mange
    He speaks while eating = Il parle en mangeant

  8. alantrick Junior Member

    English - Western Canada
    That's true; however, "He's sleeping" isn't exactly the same as "Il dort" though that's how you would normally translate it. In English there are two forms that correspond to this:

    1. He's sleeping (l'aspect progressif en français)
    2. He sleeps (non-progressif peut-être*)
    In English, we use the first normally, but will use the second for cases that are not progressive. So

    1. He's sleeping upstairs
    2. "Let's shave his head while he sleeps"
    This is in contrast to the "être en train de" in French which is definitley "marked" (I don't know the French for that). From what I gather, it's only used when necessary.

    * One might call it 'unmarked' but I think the previous one is less marked. "Unmarked" is funny linguistic speech for which one is "used by defaut' so-to-speak, "marked" being something that you only use in particular circumstances.
  9. Kalana Junior Member

    French - France
    You can translate "-ing" to "en train de".
    He's running - Il est en train de courir.

    But it's generally used when someone ask you a question about something/someone. For example :

    1. What are you doing ? - Qu'est-ce que tu fais ?
    I'm eating. - Je suis en train de manger.
    You can also say :
    What are you doing ? - Qu'est-ce que tu es en train de faire ?
    I'm eating. - Je mange.

    2. Why isn't John here yet ? - Pourquoi John n'est pas encore là ?
    Because he's doing shopping. - Parce qu'il est en train de faire des courses.
  10. LILOIA Senior Member

    "être en train de" is used very parsimoniously in French (it's a bit "lourd"), only to emphasize, and it's not compulsory, as in English.

    He's eating : "il mange" or "il est en train de manger" (comme on veut).
  11. sun-and-happiness Senior Member

    Liloia, tous les autres ont dit que l'on peut utiliser "être en train de", pourquoi est-ce que vous dites qu'il n'est pas très utilisée?
  12. LILOIA Senior Member

    Il n'est jamais obligatoire et on est très loin de l'utiliser comme en anglais.
    La plupart du temps, le présent progressif en anglais est traduit par un présent simple en français.
    e.g. It's raining : "il pleut" et non "il est en train de pleuvoir"
  13. alantrick Junior Member

    English - Western Canada
    Je suis d’accord.

    En anglais, on a dit "present simple" et "present progressive," mais dans le sens sémantique le "present progressive" est (en réalité) plus 'simple'. Voici un autre example avec aller:

    • Ce que tu veux dire : anglais : français
    • doit être progressif: "he's going": "il est en train d'aller"
    • est l'un ou l'autre: "he's going" : "il va"
    • ne peut pas être progressif: "he goes" : "il va"
    On dirait normalement "he's going" ou "il va".
  14. LILOIA Senior Member

    I would like an example when one would say in French : "Il est en train d'aller."
  15. alantrick Junior Member

    English - Western Canada
    I'm not sure this works, I'm not French and I'm half making it up; but it seems right to me.

    > Est-il à Paris ?
    > Non, mais il est en train d'y aller.

    Edit: Grâce à Google, un autre exemple.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2009
  16. LILOIA Senior Member

    Well, this dialogue sounds like a translation from the English. I can't figure out a situation when I would say that. I'd probably say : "Il y va en ce moment même" , but that's not the kind of sentence that would come to mind.
    What I am saying is that the progressive tenses in English are not systematically translated by "en train de" (by far).
    Take any page of any book and count the occurences of the present continuous in English and do the same with a French book : you will obviously find several in English, probably none in French.

    It's different with the simple past continuous (I was going / I was sleeping), as it is translated by our French "imparfait" (j'allais / je dormais).

    There MUST be something about these tenses somewhere in the WR.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2013
  17. alantrick Junior Member

    English - Western Canada
    Technically, this is aspect, not tense.

    Maybe this is more correct than my previous explanation:

    • In the present tense in English, the progressive must be marked (either by its presence or its absence). You can have progressive or non-progressive, but it has to be one or the other.
    • In French the present tense is not marked for progressiveness. In the very few cases where progressiveness is important, it might be specified on by an auxillary phrase (en train de, en voie de) or prepositions like "en ce moment même". However, this isn't strictly a grammatical feature and is dependant on the context. Also, in these situations you probably wouldn't simply use the present progresive in English either.
    It's similar to the difference between "his/her house" and "sa maison". In English the owner's gender must be marked, in French it is not. If for some odd reason it is important, the French will just change the gramatical structure (something like "la maison de lui" ou "la maison d'elle")
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2009
  18. RoblinSteel New Member

    I'm new here and new to French.

    I'm learning how to conjugate regular verbs in the present tense, but I'm not sure what kind of sentences I'm learning how to make--for example:

    Dictionary form: Parler (to speak)
    1. First person: (a) Je parle (singular); (b) Nous parlons (plural)
    2. Second person: (a) Tu parles (singular); (b) vous parlez (plural)
    3. Third person: (a) il/elle/on parle (singular); (b) ils/elles parlent (plural)

    So, for 1(a), would I be saying I speak? or I'm speaking? How bout 2(a), you speak? or speaking? To use a different verb, for example, is "Je apporte" "I bring" or "I'm bringing." So basically, would the above conjugations be similar to the ~ing form in English?

  19. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    Hello RoblinSteel and welcome!

    Actually, the present in French can be translated in English either as a present simple or as a present continuous depending on the exact context. Just remember that we don't have any continuous verb forms in French. :)
  20. RoblinSteel New Member

    Understood. Thank you so much for the quick response!
  21. lamy08 Senior Member

    and welcome to the forum!
  22. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    And indeed, as a side note, there is even a third way that we can translate the French present into English: the emphatic present.

    Thus je parle may be "I speak," "I am speaking" or "I do speak" depending on context... and conversely, all three English present tenses may be translated simply as je parle. :)

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