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FR: un voleur (lui) a pris son portefeuille

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by hotjava, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. hotjava

    hotjava Senior Member

    Singapore
    English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghainese
    To translate "A thief has taken his wallet" , I thought it was

    Un voleur a pris son portefeuille.

    But in my grammar book, it is:

    Un voleur lui a pris son portefeuille.

    Is the Pronom Personnel "lui" really necessary here, since "son portefeuille" already captures the meaning?
     
  2. Missrapunzel

    Missrapunzel Senior Member

    Paris
    French (France)
    In your sentence, it means a thief has taken his wallet from him.
    Hope this helps.
     
  3. quinoa Senior Member

    french
    The problem comes from the owner. Whose is the wallet? the thief's or someone else's?
    the thief's one or someone else's.

    someone else's only.
     
  4. hotjava

    hotjava Senior Member

    Singapore
    English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghainese
    I see what you mean. In the English sentence, however , it is clear that the word "his" must refer to someone's else wallet, and not the thief's.

    My grammar book also has the following:
    Does this mean: I do not know what he took from them?

    Is this equivalent to: Je ne sais ce qu'il a pris à eux?
     
  5. Robobo New Member

    Lorraine, France
    Français - France Métropolitaine
    I think your grammar book is right.

    But isn't the correct translation "Je ne sais pas ce qu'il leur a pris." ?

    Here "from them" isn't translated "à eux" but "leur". So "
    I do not know what he took from them?" is tranlated as above, "Je ne sais pas ce qu'il leur a pris." .
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  6. radagasty Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    Australia, Cantonese
    I don't know that it is all that clear. Certainly, his being a thief does rather suggest that, but it is by no means impossible that he took his own wallet.
     
  7. hotjava

    hotjava Senior Member

    Singapore
    English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghainese
    True, let me then reword the English sentence as:
    There is no ambiguity now that the thief stole someone else' wallet.

    But in French, it seems that one must still include "lui" i.e. :

     
  8. quinoa Senior Member

    french
    Whether it's a "her" or a "him", we say :"Un voleur lui a volé ..."
     
  9. holmes0 New Member

    French - France
    "Je ne sais ce qu'il leur a pris" is perfectly correct though a bit "litteral" (nobody speaks like this any more except old-fashioned educated people

    "Je ne sais pas ce qu'il leur a pris" is correct and correponds to current spoken language

    "Je ne sais ce qu'il a pris à eux" is uncorrect though understandable (very young children language)

    Warning: "Je ne sais pas ce qu'il lui a pris" (I do not know what he took from him) is different from "Je ne sais pas ce qui lui a pris" (I do not know what took him= I do not know why he behave like this)
     

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