all you have to do is ask

Bonjour

Ailleurs dans le forum j'ai lu qu'une bonne traduction de "all you have to do is ask" serait "tu n'as qu'à demander". Mais j'ai cherché partout et dans mon dictionnaire et dans le forum, et je n'arrive pas à trouver une équivalence qui n'utilise pas "ne".

Je sais que "ne + que" est un peu différent à l'anglais "only", mais voici ma question: est-ce que "avoir à faire" serait traduit par "to have to do", comme "tener que" en espagnol? Car je n'avais ni vu, ni lu, ni entendu rien de pareil avant de lire cela.

Merci à tous!
 
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  • kei28

    Member
    French - France
    You can also translate it by "tout ce que tu as à faire est de demander", if you do not want to use the negation ne.
     

    MGFrib

    Senior Member
    Français
    "avoir à" peut effectivement exprimer le devoir mais on ne l'emplois dans ce sens que pour des expressions figées telles que "j'ai à faire" (j'ai des obligations/j'ai du travail/je suis occupée) ou avec ne ... que "tu n'as qu'à le mettre au four" (tu dois juste le mettre au four/il suffit que tu le mette au four).

    En revanche, dans l'exemple que tu donnes, on utilisera plutôt le verbe devoir: "Je dois cuire le poulet". Dans ce contexte "avoir à" n'a pas vraiment de sens.
     

    JeanDeSponde

    Senior Member
    France, Français
    J'ai beaucoup à apprendre, nous avons à réfléchir, dites-nous ce que vous avez à dire...
    Ce n'est pas vraiment un devoir ou une obligation - cela désigne ce qui doit être accompli.
     

    Transfer_02

    Senior Member
    English - British
    There is a distinction in English between "to have" (possession) and "to have to" (obligation)

    J'ai à boire et à manger means I have (enough) to eat and drink (possession: on the table in front of you, it's your portion).
    I guess it could also mean I have to eat and drink (obligation: eg I must do it now before I can leave the table) but that is not the obvious meaning.
    So, maybe the sentence could be ambiguous out of context.
     
    But if I said that in English "I didn't know that; I have a lot to learn," the fact that I am saying I have a lot to learn directly implies that I intend to do so; perhaps I am required to do so for my job, or I wish to do so to better myself, but it means I am not giving up just because there was something I did not know...maybe there is a finer nuance to what you are saying than I am able to perceive...
     
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    Transfer_02

    Senior Member
    English - British
    But if I said that in English "I didn't know that; I have a lot to learn," the fact that I am saying I have a lot to learn directly implies that I intend to do so; perhaps I am required to do so for my job, or I wish to do so to better myself, but it means I am not giving up just because there was something I did not know...maybe there is a finer nuance to what you are asying than I am able to perceive...
    Yes, I agree. It fits with what I was saying about "possession". You (self-)appropriate the task/challenge.
     

    JeanDeSponde

    Senior Member
    France, Français
    I agree that's hard to explain...
    Suppose I say:
    Je viens d'être embauché dans votre service (department); donc j'aurai à travailler avec vous dès la semaine prochaine.
    That's OK - quite neutral.
    Now if I said je devrai travailler avec vous, or il faudra que je travaille avec vous, it would be rather impolite - like, I didn't want to, but I have to...
    This is what I meant with
    Ce n'est pas vraiment un devoir ou une obligation - cela désigne ce qui doit être accompli
     
    Je pense que je commence à comprendre...so the clause "j'ai à faire" means that I have something to do and not nothing, rather than that I must do something. Et donc, "j'ai à boire et à manger" veut plutôt dire que mon repas et ma boisson sont là, non pas que je dois les manger. Le verbe se conduit plutôt comme un nom qu'un verbe.

    Sorry Transfer, I know that's pretty much what you said but I notice therefore that the French and the English are not literal translations of one another, as to my mind, the literal translation of "all you have to do is ask" is "tout ce que tu dois faire est demander", whereas agreeing with what JeanDeSponde said, it is more a neutral statement of fact. Yes you have to ask or I won't know what you want or need me to do, but you are not obliged to ask.
     
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