Before we start, I have to clear something up

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Pure_Yvesil, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. Pure_Yvesil

    Pure_Yvesil Senior Member

    Avant de commencer, je dois tirer qqch au clair.

    Avant de commencer, je dois clarifier qqch.

    Avant de commencer, je dois mettre qqch droit.(I have to set something "straight" rather...)



    Would these three options be equally valid as a translation? Thanks!
     
  2. breagadoir Senior Member

    France since 1984
    English - Ireland & U.K.
    Only your second option would be correct.
     
  3. snarkhunter

    snarkhunter Senior Member

    France, Région parisienne
    French - France
    No (sorry). The first two options would be correct.

    Eclaircir, clarifier, tirer (ou mettre) les choses au clair, all mean the same.
     
  4. breagadoir Senior Member

    France since 1984
    English - Ireland & U.K.
    Another option : Avant de commencer je voudrais m'expliquer sur qqch (but only if the person is about to defend himself or apologise or accept blame for something).
     
  5. doinel

    doinel Senior Member

    Southern France
    France French
    On peut dire 'tirer quelque chose au clair' mais je ne sais pas si cela correspond exactement à clear something up'.
    Le tableau ( au mur) est de travers, il faut que je le mette ou remette droit .
     
  6. Pure_Yvesil

    Pure_Yvesil Senior Member

    I've consulted Larousse, who stated that "to set something straight" translates as: "mettre qqch droit". So I'm a bit puzzled why we couldn't use it in the figurative meaning here

    Breagadoir: why doesn't the first option feel right to you ? :confused:

    Doinel: the meaning behind "clear something up" would be the same as "clarifier qqch"...la personne en question veut éclairer une autre personne sur quelque chose.

    exemple:

    la rumeur court que je suis malade...

    bon, avant de commencer, je veux tirer quelque chose au clair: le soi-disant fait que je sois malade n'est qu'une rumeur !


    questions questions questions.... :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  7. breagadoir Senior Member

    France since 1984
    English - Ireland & U.K.
    I'm not a native French speaker so I bow to Snatchunter's greater knowledge in this; actually I wasn't even familiar with the first expression.
    However I can tell you that Larousse's expalnation of to make something straight is literal and not 'metaphorical'. For example : They wanted to make the sheet of metal straight because it had become bent during transportation.
     
  8. snarkhunter

    snarkhunter Senior Member

    France, Région parisienne
    French - France
    Actually, I would add that "mettre les choses au clair" more or less implies there is another person involved (at least one, that is), whereas "tirer les choses au clair" does not.
     
  9. breagadoir Senior Member

    France since 1984
    English - Ireland & U.K.
    Aha! 'Mettre les chose au clair' is for me a lot better than 'Tirer les choses au clair'.
     
  10. Pure_Yvesil

    Pure_Yvesil Senior Member

    so both mettre/tirer qqch au clair work for the "rumeur"-example I stated above ? :D
     
  11. snarkhunter

    snarkhunter Senior Member

    France, Région parisienne
    French - France
    In your example, you would (for instance):

    - "tirer au clair" who started the rumour, and why
    - "mettre au clair" the fact that you're not actually ill, i.e. inform anyone else who might believe so
     
  12. Pure_Yvesil

    Pure_Yvesil Senior Member

    So basically it's the contrary from what you said earlier, "tirer au clair" implies a person and "mettre au clair" a fact ?

    I do have a problem with the analogy though...if I follow your example, we'd have to say: "tirer au clair qqn", "mettre au clair qqch" no ?

    "Avant de commencer, je dois mettre au clair qqch: je ne suis pas malade !"

    "avant de commencer je dois tirer au clair qqn: Alex est un menteur"

    Unless you're simply talking about a slight nuance which is negligable ?

    "Avant de commencer je dois tirer/mettre au clair quelque chose: je ne suis pas malade"
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  13. snarkhunter

    snarkhunter Senior Member

    France, Région parisienne
    French - France
    ... Not al all ! I maintain my position:

    "mettre au clair" is something one generally does towards other people.

    "tirer au clair" is something one does to clarify an issue. There are not necessarily other peole involved there (though there might be some).


    Definitely not.
    In both cases, it is something.

    I hope things will be clearer this way.
     
  14. Pure_Yvesil

    Pure_Yvesil Senior Member

    aaaah now I understand ! But either way, the expression "mettre/tirer au clair quelque chose" would be acceptable in this case:

    "je dois tirer/mettre au clair qqch: je ne suis pas malade!"

    with a slight preference for "mettre", given the fact that it involves an explanation given to other people.


    :D do we agree?
     
  15. snarkhunter

    snarkhunter Senior Member

    France, Région parisienne
    French - France
    Yes indeed: in this very case, it would definitely be "mettre au clair".

    Here, "tirer au clair" would imply that you're still unsure about whether or not you're ill.
     

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