FR: have been + V-ing

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mysteriouscreep

Senior Member
English
Comment dirait-on quelque chose comme "We have been expecting you" ou "I have been going out with him for a year" ? Est-ce que ...

Nous t'avons attendu et Je sortais avec lui depuis un an ?
 
  • benouze75

    New Member
    France / French
    "Nous t'avons attendu" est bien formulé.

    pour "je sortais avec lui depuis un an", cela veut dire que ça n'était pas fini à ce moment là.

    C'est ce que tu voulais dire?
     

    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    Je sortais avec lui depuis un an
    But it means that it's over
    "Je sortais avec lui depuis an quand il a décidé de me larguer":
    "I had been going out with him for a year when he decided to dump me".


    So I would rather say:
    "I have been going out with him for a year"
    "Je sors avec lui depuis un an"
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    "We have been expecting you."
    Je traduirais ça comme « Nous t'attendions ». There are probably more expressive translations that the natives can suggest, but I would definitely use the imparfait in the translation.

    DearPrudence said:
    "I have been going out with him for a year"
    "Je sors avec lui depuis un an."
    Tout à fait d'accord. :thumbsup:
     

    tilt

    Senior Member
    French French
    I agree with Ousider about Nous t'attendions for the same reason as DearPrudence is right about Je sors avec lui depuis un an.
    N
    ous t'avons attendu would mean that you were not expected any more when you arrived: Nous t'avons attendu une heure avant de partir, i.e.We have been expecting you for one hour before to leave.

    And for the same reason too, you should write c'est ce que je voulais savoir, and not c'est ce que j'ai voulu savoir. :rolleyes:
     

    geostan

    Senior Member
    English Canada
    "We have been expecting you."
    Je traduirais ça comme « Nous t'attendions ». There are probably more expressive translations that the natives can suggest, but I would definitely use the imparfait in the translation.

    Tout à fait d'accord. :thumbsup:
    There doesn't seem to be a general rule about this example, but I agree with the choice of tense. Note that if a time expression were added, the present tense would be required.

    And what would one write for the following example?

    What have you been doing? - I've been watering the lawn.
    Qu'as-tu fait? - J'ai arrosé la pelouse.

    Would anyone use the imperfect here?
     

    geostan

    Senior Member
    English Canada
    Nous t'avons attendu une heure avant de partir, i.e.We have been expecting you for one hour before to leave.
    You would have to translate the French sentence by:

    We waited for you (for) an hour before leaving.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    What have you been doing? - I've been watering the lawn.
    Qu'as-tu fait? - J'ai arrosé la pelouse.

    Would anyone use the imperfect here?
    The tenses used would be the same as in English. (only, the continuous wouldn't be translated in the first case).

    1. Possible context
    I left him for a while to go shopping. Now, I'm back
    Qu'est-ce que tu as fait ?(= pendant que j'étais parti)
    What have you been doing?

    2. Possible context
    Similar situation. I'm back from shopping. When he sees me, he stops whatever he was doing.
    Qu'est-ce que tu faisais ? / Qu'est-ce que tu étais en train de faire ? (= quand je suis arrivé)
    What were you doing ?
     

    geostan

    Senior Member
    English Canada
    Your #2 context doesn't work from the English point of view because you could not say: "What have you been doing when I arrived?" But perhaps that is not what you're getting at.

    The present perfect progressive in English without a time expression does not seem to have a clear cut translation into French. The English is almost idiomatic. What does seem clear to me is that the action, whatever it was, was already completed when I asked the question, hence the passé composé in French. But in this one case French may not be able to distinguish between the simple past, the present perfect and the present perfect progressive (again, without a time expression). The passé composé performs a triple function.

    But on occasion, the French imperfect is an idiomatic translation of the present perfect progressive, e.g. I have been waiting for you, I've been expecting you.

    It's quite an interesting puzzle.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Your #2 context doesn't work from the English point of view because you could not say: "What have you been doing when I arrived?" But perhaps that is not what you're getting at.
    You're right on both counts.
    I was just trying to show that (for once) French and English would use (morphologically) similar tenses in this particular case . Therefore, to your question...
    What have you been doing? - I've been watering the lawn.
    Qu'as-tu fait? - J'ai arrosé la pelouse.

    Would anyone use the imperfect here?
    ...my answser is "I would not".
    Sorry for being unclear.
     

    tubes

    Member
    UK, English
    Hello,

    This is my first post; I'm glad to be here!

    I know there have already been posts on this subject before, but I can't seem to find one which quite answers my questions.

    (1) How does one translate "What have you been up to?" into French?

    (2) How does one answer such a question in French? For example, in English, one might say "I've been working at the supermarket."

    I've seen answers to (2) which suggest one uses the present, but only in a translation of something like

    "For the past week, I've been working at the supermarket.",

    in which case it looks like the translation is along the lines of

    "Depuis une semaine, je travaille au supermarché."

    What happens, as is natural, when you want to drop the "For the past week" part, and just answer "I've been working at the supermarket."? I only ask because this is very common in English.

    Many thanks,

    Tubes.
     

    geostan

    Senior Member
    English Canada
    This is a use I addressed in a recent thread, but I don't keep track of them so I can't indicate where it is. It's a tough one to answer, because it depends on whether or not the action is still going on.

    If I say: "What have you been doing? - I've been watering the lawn." the actions are obviously over, otherwise you wouldn't be asking the question. So in this case, I would use the passé composé.

    In your case of the supermarket, it's trickier because you are probably still working at the supermarket, even if you are not doing it at the moment the question is asked. I would probably say it as follows:

    Que fais-tu ces jours-ci? - Je travaille au supermarché.

    As I said earlier, a definitive answer is difficult for this particular use of the English present perfect progressive tense, but I think this should help.

    Cheers!
     

    lemonjelly

    Member
    france (francophone natif)
    (1) Je traduirai par "Alors, qu'est-ce-que tu deviens"
    (2) En ce moment je travaille dans un supermarché.

    En ce moment means that the speaker thinks it is just a temporary situation.

    I work at the supermarket = Je travaille au supermarché

    For the past week, I've been working at the supermarket
    = Depuis une semaine je travaille au supermarché.

    When you drop "for the past week" nothing change, the sentence is still "je travaille au supermarché" (you can add "en ce moment".)

    If the speaker doesn't work anymore at the supermarket, the answer will be : J'ai travaillé au supermarché .

    Voilà;)
     

    konungursvia

    Banned
    Canada (English)
    A mon avis, on employerait normalement le présent de l'indicatif dans ce cas, souvent suivi de depuis.... On t'attend depuis longtemps... Nous vous attendons depuis ce matin....
     
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