FR: has been trying

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by oxleem, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. oxleem Member

    I am trying to translate the following sentence

    So it is the arrival at a place that someone has been trying to reach

    and so far i have
    Donc il est l’arrivee a un endroit que quelqu’un

    but i am unsure of the tense for the rest of the sentence, can anyone tell me how i could write it. thanks
  2. Punky Zoé

    Punky Zoé Senior Member

    France - français
    Could you please give us more of the context?
    My try "C'est donc l'arrivée en un lieu que quelqu'un cherchait à/essayer d' atteindre' ?
  3. mnewcomb71 Senior Member

    Detroit, MI
    USA - English
    Je ne comprends pas la phrase en anglais.
  4. martaghavi Member

    How do we translate 'present perfect continuous' of English in French? for example, how can we translate this sentence into French?
    "He has been trying to be different"

    Thank you
  5. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    If there is no time expression such as for 4 days, then you probably should use the passe composé.
    Il a essayé d'être différent.

    P.Z. I think you meant to write essayait d'atteindre. BTW, why would you choose the imperfect? I know there are a few expressions
    where the imperfect is the appropriate translation of the English present perfect progressive. An example I've seen is
    Ah, vous voila enfin! Je vous attendais. (Ah!, there you are at last. I've been waiting for you.)
  6. Oddmania

    Oddmania Senior Member


    Martaghavi, it really depends on the context. Do you happen to have a few surrounding sentences? I can't help but think that a few more words are needed in French for the meaning to be translated accurately.

    Il a essayé d'être différent sounds like he tried to; but failed.
    And Il essaye sounds like he tries to be different, as if he'd made a habit of it.

    If the P.P Continuous tense implies something recent that's been happening continuously/repeatedly, what about Il a toujours essayé d'être différent or Il n'a cessé d'essayer de se démarquer (possibly, depending on the context).

    By the way Geostan, when we say Je vous attendais, it doesn't really translate I've been waiting for you. I mean, I've been waiting is what most English people would say in this situation, while Je vous attendais is what we would tend to say. Much like when you say See you later! while we'd say A plus! This is not a straightforward translation, but it would sound awkward if it was translated differently.

    It goes for your example too. When I hear Je vous attendais, I instinctively translate it as I was waiting for you at first, and then change it into I've been waiting for you because I know this is what English people would say. Je vous attendais is definitely meant to describe what Person A was doing when Person B came in (or slightly before they came in). English people are probably simply more used to describing what they have been doing instead.
  7. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada

    I agree with your interpretation of the use of the imperfect in French, but we are talking about a translation, at least that is what oxteem said he was looking for.

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