FR: faire un tour / faire (un) demi-tour

LMorland

Senior Member
American English
Bonsoir !

My husband just asked me why there is an indefinite article in the first expression -- faire un tour -- but not in the second: faire demi-tour.

I thought about it, and I had no good response, except that perhaps demi-tour is a fixed expression, like rendez-vous (which also does not take an article). However, that's not a sufficient explanation. Can someone explain it to me (us)?

Merci beaucoup d'avance !
 
Last edited:
  • mnewcomb71

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Pour moi, c'est plutôt une question de ce que ces deux phrases veulent dire:

    Faire un tour = to go around, to take a tour
    Faire demi-tour = to turn around.
     

    geostan

    Senior Member
    English Canada
    Bonsoir !

    My husband just asked me why there is a definite article in the first expression -- faire un tour -- but not in the second: faire demi-tour.

    I thought about it, and I had no good response, except that perhaps demi-tour is a fixed expression, like rendez-vous (which also does not take a definite article). However, that's not a sufficient explanation.
    I think it is a sufficient explanation. Not all questions can be answered from a linguistic point of view.

    Thus one says: faire un tour, faire le tour du monde.

    But: faire demi-tour

    It might have something to do with the military use of the term which does not use an article. But that is mere conjecture.

    Demi-tour! (About face!)
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    There is no article in faire demi-tour because it is just an idiomatic phrase. Moreover, in some contexts, it is definitely possible to have one (faire un demi-tour).

    P.S.: In faire un tour, the article is not definite but indefinite. ;)
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Il fit (un) demi-tour en donnant un grand coup de volant.
    Il fit (un) demi-tour sur la gauche.
    Il fit un brusque demi-tour. / Il fit brusquement demi-tour.
    Il fit un demi-tour de vis.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top