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FR: Si nous partions plus tard le vendredi, nous mettrions moins de temps

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by Glat64, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Glat64 Senior Member

    Vendée, France
    English
    Bonsoir tout le monde,

    Dans la phrase suivant....

    Si nous partions plus tard le vendredi, nous mettrions moins de temps.


    Est-ce que 'had' en anglais une bonne traduction pour partions et mettrions ?

    If we had left later on Friday, we would have had less time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  2. Gil Senior Member

    Français, Canada
    Suggestion:
    If we left earlier on Fridays, we would save time
     
  3. moustic Senior Member

    near Limoges
    British English
    I agree with Gil (except for earlier ... :))
     
  4. Santana2002 Senior Member

    France
    English, from Ireland
    alternative suggestion: "Had we left later on Friday, we would have saved time."
     
  5. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    I'm afraid that's not quite what the French sentence says. :)

    "Had we left earlier" or "if we had left earlier" would be a pluperfect: si nous étions partis plus tôt. The statement is then completed by a past conditional: "...we would have saved time", nous aurions mis moins de temps. Taken together, we have here a hypothesis about a counterfactual situation, one that in reality did not come to pass: we left when we did on the Friday in question, not earlier.... but if we had left earlier, we can guess how things might have turned out differently.

    But the French sentence uses an imperfect, si nous partions plus tôt. This expresses a conjecture about something that has not yet come to pass, or about a generic/repeated situation. In English, we use a preterit or a past subjunctive: "if we left earlier" or "If we were to leave earlier." The statement is then completed by a present conditional: "...we would save time", nous mettrions moins de temps.

    A further note: the original says si nous partions plus tôt le vendredi. The definite article indicates not "on Friday" but "on Fridays," so we are talking about a repeated action here.

    Gil's translation is the right one: If we left [were to leave] earlier on Fridays, we would save time.

    Glat64, all this leads me to ask: which direction were you really trying to translate? Did you find that French sentence somewhere and want to be sure you'd understood it properly? Or did you have an English sentence you were trying to express correctly in French?
     
  6. Santana2002 Senior Member

    France
    English, from Ireland
    Thank you, Jann, for taking the time to compose that crystal clear explanation! (& sorry for confusing the issue with my incorrect interpretation) :eek:
     
  7. Glat64 Senior Member

    Vendée, France
    English
    Thanks everyone. I found the phrase on an online test for the conditional and it was the use of mettre that really threw me. I have since found on the forum dictionary that "mettre du temps" translates as "take time" (I missed it first time round) and it makes more sense now. "If we left later on Fridays, we would take less time." Must be to avoid the rush hour traffic !
     
  8. H.M.V. Junior Member

    Lille, France
    Français
    One last thing, I don't know if that's useful to you but I want to make sure everything has been said.
    If you say "we would have had less time", you're saying in French "nous aurions moins de temps" or "nous perdrions du temps". Basically, by leaving later you are losing or wasting time.

    Also, in your first message : "Dans la phrase suivante...."
    (if you just forgot to put it there, that will help others ;))
     
  9. Oddmania

    Oddmania Senior Member

    France
    French
    Pas tout à fait! :) We would have had less time → Nous aurions eu moins de temps.

    Je suis d'accord avec vous concernant le sens du verbe, néanmoins.
     
  10. H.M.V. Junior Member

    Lille, France
    Français
    Bonne précision en effet, petite confusion de temps.
     
  11. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    I beg to disagree. :) The definite article does not necessarily imply it is a repeated action. Besides, if it were one, the main verb would be in the imparfait, not the conditional.

    Si nous partions plus tard le vendredi, nous mettrions moins de temps. = If we left later on Friday, we would save time. (counterfactual condition, e.g., we will leave early on Friday)
    Si nous partions plus tard le vendredi, nous mettions moins de temps. = If we left later on Fridays, we would save time. (habit)

    By the way, the original sentence reads plus tard, not plus tôt;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  12. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    I don't see how the use of the definite article necessarily implies a repeated action in the past. You could have the same type of repetition as a conditional sentence expressing a generality. Further, I could see the use of ce rather than le to express a specific Friday. Like Jann, I would have interpreted it as a repetition.
     
  13. Gil Senior Member

    Français, Canada
    Merci. Tu as raison. C'est later qu'il fallait écrire:eek:
     
  14. Gil Senior Member

    Français, Canada
    earlier should be replaced by later. I still think the rest is O.K. And "le vendredi" with the article implies a repeated action.
     
  15. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    :confused: Erm… I just said the opposite: the use of the definite article does not necessarily imply a repeated action in the past.
    This is definitely possible in English, but not in French. In French, the conditional in the apodosis excludes the possibility of a repeated action in the past.
     
  16. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    This sentence means I suggest that, in the future, we leave later on Fridays, so that we would spend less time in the traffic and trips would be faster.
    I agree.
    Not in the past in the original sentence: in the future!
    Were it a "one-shot" vendredi, I would either drop the article (plus tard vendredi) or specify which vendredi (le vendredi 13 février).
    This is exactly as in je pars à ma maison de campagne le vendredi, et j'en reviens le dimanche. This is my habit.
    It would need a heavy context to read it as a one-shot process; while je pars à ma maison de campagne vendredi, et j'en reviens dimanche is clearly a one-shot plan for next W-E.
    This is a completely different animal, where "si" means "when": all the action is situated in the past,and there is no conditional.
    Although here also the definite "le" implies repetition indeed...
     
  17. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    C'est une question de contexte :

    Nous partirons jeudi soir ou vendredi matin. Si nous partions plus tard le vendredi, nous mettrions moins de temps.

    Ce n'est clairement pas une habitude… :rolleyes:
     
  18. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    C'est ce que je disais avec mon "heavy context". Mais ici il s'agit d'une phrase isolée, tirée d'un test...
     

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