FR: How much milk is there?

t k

Senior Member
Korean - Korea
When i want to ask how much milk there is left, can I say these?

1. Combien de lait est-il?
2. Combien de lait est là?
3. Combien de lait y a-t-il?
4. Combien de lait avon nous?

Which one is the most popular question?
Are there other popular ones?
Thanks. --- tk
 
  • LeMigueux

    Senior Member
    français (Belgique)
    Hello,

    Milk being an uncountable, I wouldn't use "combien", or I would use it with a complement such as "de litres", "de bouteilles". Or "Quelle quantité de lait ?"
    Then, if your question is really about how much milk there is left, I wouldn't use "est" but "reste".

    1. Combien de bouteilles de lait reste-t-il ? Quelle quantité de lait reste-t-il ? > OK
    2. We wouldn't put the question using "là", except if the question is precisely about the place where the milk remains.
    3. Combien de bouteilles de lait y a-t-il ? Quelle quantité de lait y a-t-il ? > OK but it sounds to me like we are still waiting for the following of the sentance. Combien de bouteilles de lait y a-t-il dans le frigo ? Quelle quantité de lait y a-t-il en réserve ?
    4. Combien de bouteilles de lait avons-nous ? Quelle quantité de lait avons-nous ? > OK (avons takes an "s" and the inversion requires a dash)

    This said, the most common way of saying it in would simply be: "Que reste-t-il comme lait ?" or, in spoken French "Qu'est-ce qu'il reste comme lait ?"

    Best.
     

    OLN

    Senior Member
    French - France, ♀
    3. Je dirais plus naturellement Combien y a-t-il de lait ?

    1. et 2. sont évidemment faux. There is = il y a, pas il est.

    Déjà dit par LeMigueux, mais note que ton titre est "How much milk is there?", pas "How much milk is left?" (on pourrait alors dire Combien de lait avons-nous encore ?).
    Il faut choisir ! :)


    (trait d'union se dit hyphen ; dash= tiret)
     

    LeMigueux

    Senior Member
    français (Belgique)
    The title of the post is "How much milk is there", but then t k's question is: "When i want to ask how much milk there is left, can I say these?"
    That confused me indeed, and that is the reason why I insisted on it in my reply:
    if your question is really about how much milk there is left
    (Et merci OLN pour la correction dash/hyphen.)
     

    t k

    Senior Member
    Korean - Korea
    Thanks a lot.
    Would you then consider this natural and common?

    Quelle quantité y a-t-il de lait ?

    As regards "Que reste-t-il comme lait ?" and "Qu'est-ce qu'il reste comme lait ?", could you explain "comme lait"?
    My knowledge and some internet search leave me puzzled.
    Thanks again. --- tk
     

    LeMigueux

    Senior Member
    français (Belgique)
    Hello

    here, "comme" just means "as far as (the milk) is concerned".
    What sounds "natural and common" depends on the context, and on the language register you want to use.
    Furthermore since you haven't clarified yet if your question is "How much milk is there?" as in your title, or if you want to ask "how much milk there is left" as suggested by your first post, it is difficult to answer for the moment.
    If you provide these precisions, I'll try to help you with pleasure.
     

    t k

    Senior Member
    Korean - Korea
    Thanks, LeMigueux.

    As to the difference between "How much milk is there?" and "how much milk there is left", I was trying to form a question to my wife regarding the amount at home.
    In my mind they seem to mean the same.
    In this case, is "Quelle quantité y a-t-il de lait ?" proper and natural?
    Anything better?
    Thanks again. --- tk
     

    LeMigueux

    Senior Member
    français (Belgique)
    Hello t k,

    In this case, "Quelle quantité y a-t-il de lait ?" sounds strange.
    Because you're asking to your wife how much milk there is at home, I would use the "nous" (you and your wife) and say for instance "Que nous reste-t-il comme lait ?" or, a little less formal, "qu'est-ce qu'il nous reste comme lait ?". This is how I would put the question at home. This sounds to me the more natural and common way to ask this question in a daily life context.
    But these kinds of things may vary from one person to another.
    Indeed, you can also go along the lines of OLN's suggestion: "Quelle quantité de lait avons-nous encore ?". Or, if you accept to use "combien" with an uncountable, which in my humble opinion is wrong though very common, you can use OLN's suggestion as such: "Combien de lait avons-nous encore ?" or "Combien avons-nous encore de lait ?", which are the same and only differ on a euphonic point of view.

    hope this helps.
    Best
     

    Downbow

    Senior Member
    English - USA/Canada
    Déjà dit par LeMigueux, mais note que ton titre est "How much milk is there?", pas "How much milk is left?" (on pourrait alors dire Combien de lait avons-nous encore ?).
    Il faut choisir ! :)
    As to the difference between "How much milk is there?" and "how much milk there is left", I was trying to form a question to my wife regarding the amount at home.
    In my mind they seem to mean the same.
    To my mind as well they are identical. There may be a slight difference in emphasis, but if you ask how much milk there is [in the fridge], you are necessarily asking about the milk that is left there. In other words, will there be enough for breakfast?
     

    t k

    Senior Member
    Korean - Korea
    Thanks, LeMigueux. Your answer gave me further curiosity.
    In the following quote, I see that "nous" can be added.
    Could you tell me what the role of this optional part is?
    It seems to me that "il" is the subject of the sentence in each.
    Thanks again. --- tk

    1. Que reste-t-il comme lait ?
    2. Que nous reste-t-il comme lait ?
    3. Qu'est-ce qu'il reste comme lait ?
    4. Qu'est-ce qu'il nous reste comme lait ?
     

    LeMigueux

    Senior Member
    français (Belgique)
    Hello T k,

    I suggested to add "nous" because you provide the context of a family discussion where obviously the milk left, if there is some, will be available for you, the speaker (1st person singular), and your wife (making the plural necessary), hence the "nous" (1st person plural).
    Semantically, I would say that the "nous" allows you to involve your wife in the discussion a bit more than without it.
    Grammatically, you're right : in all examples, "il" is the impersonal subject of "reste", and "nous" is the indirect object of "reste" (il nous reste = il reste à/pour nous).

    I would have liked to give you a proper analysis of the part of speach of "comme" in this case, but it is far too technical for me. I did some research though. I found an essay in French about the analysis of "comme" in this and other similar cases. What emerges from it is that well known grammarians have proposed different interpretations for this use "comme". And at least you'll read other examples of this use that you might want to adapt to your needs ("Qu'est-ce que tu prends, comme train ?", etc.)

    As for Downbow's suggestion,

    To my mind as well they are identical. There may be a slight difference in emphasis, but if you ask how much milk there is [in the fridge], you are necessarily asking about the milk that is left there.
    I agree that, at least in French, both meanings (il y a / il reste) are similar in the context, but in the first case, as suggested by Downbow and as I already mentioned in my first reply, I would quite naturally wait for a complement (qu'y a-t-il comme lait > dans le frigo ?), whereas "Que (nous) reste-t-il comme lait" can be used absolutely (and can also accept a complement). I wouldn't make it a rule, though, this is just how I feel it.

    So much to say to answer to an apparently harmless question! I hope I'm not becoming too obscure!

    Best.
     

    t k

    Senior Member
    Korean - Korea
    Thanks, LeMigueux for the detailed answer.
    Your answer is a great help to me, a beginner of only 8 months into French, but with some idea on English grammar.
    Things are much clearer to me now, though the essay in French is beyong my reach.
    Best, --- tk
     
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