à la cérémonie ou à la réception

Andrious

Senior Member
Hi all,

In an exercise of a book it says: Marthe Marchand a le plaisir de vous faire part du mariage de son fils Pierre avec mademoiselle Clara Santini et vous prie d'assister à la cérémonie en l'église Sainte-Marguerite ou à la réception qui suivra, à partir de 15 heures, dans les salons de l'hôtel de ville.

How come it's not "et" instead of "ou" here? We could use "et" here, right?

Thanks in advance
 
  • Philippides

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    I would have used "et".
    I guess that the intended meaning is that you can choose to go only to the church or to the reception
     

    guillaumedemanzac

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England Home Counties
    If you're not religious, go to the reception. The polite form gives you the choice but doesn't mean either/or as it would in English.
    My French cheque book says M ou Mme Bailey whereas my joint account in England was Mr and Mrs Bailey.
    Difference in culture!!! If you go to the church, you would normally go to the reception as well but a lot of French are anti-religion and hate the church for what it has done - France is a real secular society and god has a small 'g'.
     

    OLN

    Senior Member
    French - France, ♀
    Whatever reason a guest may have to attend only the ceremony or the reception is fine. Leaving the choice at the guest's discretion is being polite.
     
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    Barbanellie

    Senior Member
    français
    This is a case where in English people would use "and/or". However in French, "ou" implies "and/or" (and the form "et/ou" is an anglicisme).

    So basically, the sentence says that people have the choice of attending either the ceremony, or the reception, or both. If you use "et", then you change the meaning completely, because you remove the possibility of choice of going to only one of them
     

    Philippides

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    This is a case where in English people would use "and/or". However in French, "ou" implies "and/or" (and the form "et/ou" is an anglicisme).
    Indeed in French, "ou" can be understood as exclusive (either ... or) or non-exclusive (both choices are valid). Isn't it the same in English? The form "et/ou" is always more used. I didn't see it as an anglicism but rather as a poor knowledge of French...

    So basically, the sentence says that people have the choice of attending either the ceremony, or the reception, or both. If you use "et", then you change the meaning completely, because you remove the possibility of choice of going to only one of them
    I tend to disagree here: inviting you to the ceremony and the reception does not mean that you have to attend both.
     

    Barbanellie

    Senior Member
    français
    I didn't see it as an anglicism but rather as a poor knowledge of French...
    Well, in Quebec it is considered an anglicism :) See here for more info: http://bdl.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/bdl/gabarit_bdl.asp?T1=et/ou&T3.x=0&T3.y=0

    does not mean that you have to attend both
    This is probably a question of perception and context. If someone tells me "je vous prie d'assister à la cérémonie et à la réception", I do not see it as a choice and that the perons expects me to show up for both. But if the sentence were "Vous pouvez assister à la cérémonie et à la réception", the use of "pouvoir" implies I am given the choice, but again using the word "et" to me implies strongly that they would wish me to be there for both.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Indeed in French, "ou" can be understood as exclusive (either ... or) or non-exclusive (both choices are valid). Isn't it the same in English? ...
    No it isn't, and for a long time I was confused when translating "ou". Now I simply ignore the French without a qualm, and write whatever an English person would say.

    In the OP's circumstances, nobody in Britain would invite you to "the church or the reception". It would either be "the church" (if they don't want to give you a meal) or "the church and afterwards at..." the reception (if you're an honoured guest), or sometimes nowadays just "The evening reception" (which is a disco for a wide range of friends).
     

    guillaumedemanzac

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England Home Counties
    I agree and, in spite of my comments about god and the church, I would still go to the church (where everyone is invited anyway - even locals from the village go to the church ceremony without invitation - ) and the reception/disco/party where only invited quests turn up. So for me it is "church and reception - followed by evening party for the kids" [...]

    Moderator note: Discussion off-topic to the translation question removed.
     
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    OLN

    Senior Member
    French - France, ♀
    If someone tells me "je vous prie d'assister à la cérémonie et à la réception", I do not see it as a choice and that the perons expects me to show up for both. (...)
    the word "et" to me implies strongly that they would wish me to be there for both.
    Ce choix du verbe prier conditionne effectivement la suite. Curieux qu'aucun anglophone n'ait traduit le verbe (request your presence?). :)

    Il faut avouer que la formulation n'est pas d'une grande élégance, comme si on avait eu "et/ou" en tête, mais qu'on n'aura pas été jusqu'à l'écrire.

    Il y avait probablement moyen de le formuler simplement.
    - ... a la joie de vous faire part du mariage de son fils P. avec mademoiselle C.S. qui sera célébré en l'église... à... heures... et vous convie/espère votre présence à la réception qui suivra...
    - ... de son fils P. avec mademoiselle C.S. et vous convie à la célébration en l'église... et à la réception qui suivra...
     
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