FR: I didn't really disapprove of it

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by abcde2, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. abcde2 Member

    I am translating a literary text and am unsure of whether to use the imperfect or past historic here:

    The speaker has just described some rude behaviour that took place in a train he is currently on:

    "I didn't really disapprove of it; I noted it, like an anthropologist and understood it, as an Englishman'

    My attempt was to first use the imperfect and then switch to the past historic:
    Je ne le désapprouvais vraiment pas ; je le remarquai comme un anthropologue, et le compris comme un Anglais.

    Merci beaucoup!
  2. Jeanne75 Senior Member

    French - France

    I personnally would go for "passé simple" for all the verbs but it depends on the context.

    With "imparfait" it means that deep inside, you did not really disapprove.

    With "passé simple" it means that you did not state clearly that you did not approve.

    Je ne le désapprouvais vraiment pas = I really did not disapprove him = you agreed
    Je ne le désapprouvais pas vraiment = I did not really disapprove him = you were mixed.

    For "as an English man" I would say en tant qu'Anglais - if you are English, en tant que, if you are not but understand as if you were English, comme.

  3. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    :eek: Really? It just would never occur to me to use the passé simple for désapprouver in such an example. As far as I'm concerned, I would use only the imparfait. (But the passé simple is appropriate for the other verbs.)
  4. Jeanne75 Senior Member

    French - France
    Yes, really...

    But again only if "désapprouver" means telling you do not agree - and not just "not agree".
    Je le désapprouvai = I told him I did not agree.
    Je ne le désapprouvai pas vraiment = I did not tell him clearly that I did not agree.

    Otherwise I fully agree, I would use "imparfait".
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013

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