a small detour may be in order

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by pachomius, May 19, 2007.

  1. pachomius

    pachomius Senior Member

    USA / American English
    I am writing an essay where I am imagining how things may be in the future. I would like to say that 'a small detour may be in order' (may be called for). Does this work: Un petit détour soit en ordre

    Or is 'in order' an English idiom with a different idiomatic translation in French?

    Also, I looked up 'detour' in the WR dictionary and found only 'crochet' and 'circuit'. Why isn't détour included?
  2. aftereight Member

    London, UK
    Regarding the translation of "detour" : yes, "détour" works too and should be included.

    Then about your first question : it doesn't work, for two reasons. First, as you suspected, this phrase is only used as such in English. In French one could say : "Un petit détour sera à envisager", but I don't think there's a particular phrase that directly translates "may be in order".
    Then, would this phrase have existed in French, your attemps still contains a grammar mistake : you should have written "un petit détour sera en ordre" or maybe "un petit détour serait en ordre", but not "soit" which is the "subjonctif" form, used in sentences like "Il est possible qu'il soit absent demain". Never on its own, then.

    Hope that helps !
  3. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    On peut bien s'offrir un petit détour/ Rien de mal si l'on s'offre une petite excursion supplémentaire.

    N.B. may be in order does not mean the same as may be called for. The first phrase is to do with permission, the second with necessity dependant on conditions as yet unknown.
  4. pachomius

    pachomius Senior Member

    USA / American English
    Thank you very much! I keep forgetting that 'may' does not necessarily translate to the subjunctive!

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