doze off / fall asleep

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Seeda, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. Seeda Banned

    Metz
    法语 / French (FR)
    Hi,

    Just out of curiosity, what's the difference between to doze off and to fall asleep ? The other day, a friend of mine told me, "I read two stories to my sister and she finally dozed off". But that friend isn't a native, therefore I hope I'm not wondering about that in vain...
    It seems to me that nuances between synonyms have more importance in English than they do in French, this is why I'd like to know, thank you :)
     
  2. Old Novice

    Old Novice Senior Member

    Massachusetts
    USA, English
    In my experience, the connotation of "doze off" is that it typically is not the result of a conscious decision to get some sleep. You "doze off" even when you are not trying to fall asleep, as in a meeting or when you're hoping for one more story. "Fall asleep" is more purely descriptive and lacks such connotations.
     
  3. Topsie

    Topsie Senior Member

    Avignon, France
    English-UK
    I may be wrong, but I (instinctively) feel that when you doze off you're semi-conscious, but when you fall asleep you're oblivious to what's going on!
     
  4. Old Novice

    Old Novice Senior Member

    Massachusetts
    USA, English
    To me, to "doze" implies to sleep lightly, that is, to be easily awakened or semi-conscious. But to "doze off" means to fall asleep without really intending to.
     
  5. Seeda Banned

    Metz
    法语 / French (FR)
    So I guess to doze off is the perfect equivalent to s'assoupir and to fall asleep merely means s'endormir. I was confused since all dictionaries give s'endormir for to doze off.
    Thank you so much for your replies :D
     
  6. Old Novice

    Old Novice Senior Member

    Massachusetts
    USA, English
    Thanks, I hadn't heard s'assoupir before. But I see that the WR dico gives "doze off" and "nod off" as its meanings, and I would use those two as synonyms.
     

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