Do it as long as/as much as you need to

temple09

Senior Member
English - British
Hi,

When I was with a French friend recently, we were about to leave the flat in order to go for a walk. However, we were slightly delayed because she was trying to reply to some important emails. She apologised for the delay as she was writing them. I wanted to express that I knew that it was important for her, and that I was happy to wait. I said -
"Ne t'en fais pas. Fais le tant que tu en a besoin"
I then wondered if it would have made any difference to the meaning if I had said "...autant que tu en a besoin".
Are the two interchangeable in this situation? (I wanted to say - "Please don't be sorry. Do it as much as you need" - i.e. please don't limit yourself)
 
  • laurent1513

    Senior Member
    French from France
    Hi,

    When I was with a French friend recently, we were about to leave the flat in order to go for a walk. However, we were slightly delayed because she was trying to reply to some important emails. She apologised for the delay as she was writing them. I wanted to express that I knew that it was important for her, and that I was happy to wait. I said -
    "Ne t'en fais pas. Fais le tant que tu en a besoin"
    I then wondered if it would have made any difference to the meaning if I had said "...autant que tu en a besoin".
    Are the two interchangeable in this situation? (I wanted to say - "Please don't be sorry. Do it as much as you need" - i.e. please don't limit yourself)
    Hi,
    Sorry, the two are not interchangeable... "Fais-le tant que tu en as besoin" : "do it as long as you need it". "Fais-le autant que tu en as besoin" : "do it as much as you need it".
     

    temple09

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Thank you for the reply laurent1513. I know that (in the dictionary) the two phrases are different. But in English, one could say either of them in the situation I explained and it would still be inviting her to take her time and finish what she needs to do. Could you possibly explain what the two examples actually mean (i.e. am I asking her to do something that is fundamentally different?)
     
    Thank you for the reply laurent1513. I know that (in the dictionary) the two phrases are different. But in English, one could say either of them in the situation I explained and it would still be inviting her to take her time and finish what she needs to do. Could you possibly explain what the two examples actually mean (i.e. am I asking her to do something that is fundamentally different?)
    I didn't understand why you asked this, or even what you were trying to ask.

    "Fais-le tant que tu en as besoin" : "do it as long as you need it".

    What didn't you understand about this phrase or its meaning?

    as long refers to time
    as much refers to quantity
     

    temple09

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Hi Sunny S. As I say - I know that the words translate differently. What I mean is that in the example I gave, the intention is the same. I.e. She may have needed to write 100 words. This would have taken her two minutes to complete. If I said to her "Do it as much as you need" or "Do it as long as you need", it doesn't mean that she will act any differently. It would still be 100 words. It would still her take 2 minutes. Hence - the intention is the same.
    That's why I asked if (despite the different translations for tant que/autant que) I am actually asking her to act in any way that is different, regardless of which I chose.
    Laurant's reply ("Sorry, the two are not interchangeable...") made me wonder if I would be asking her to act differently depending on which I chose, or if one is unsuitable for that situation.
     
    Laurant's reply ("Sorry, the two are not interchangeable...") made me wonder if I would be asking her to act differently depending on which I chose, or if one is unsuitable for that situation.
    =========
    OK, no, Laurant was correctly explaining that "as much as" is not equal to "as long as" in both English and French.

    As to being unsuitable, I don't see why both couldn't be used in this situation.
     

    Souxie

    Senior Member
    French - France
    I would say: prends ton temps.

    Plus, the phrase fais le tant que tu en a besoin could also be translated by do it whilst you need. (Or whilst you need to do it :confused:), because tant can be a synonym of pendant que.
     
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