How often...

Docbike

Senior Member
english, UK
Bonjour à tous.

If I want to say in French "how often do you go skiing?", for example, I understand that you need to stipulate a time period "combien de fois par an....", which may not be appropriate as I do not want to say "how many times a year...". WR also mentions "tous les combien" but doesn't explain how to use it. Can you please tell me the best way to say "how often do you..." without needing par jour/semaine/an etc? Thank you
 
  • Docbike

    Senior Member
    english, UK
    Thanks Gautier, but it's not quite the same, I think. "How often have you been sking?" for example would require a number (of times) rather than a frequency, like "only once ever". Any other thoughts?
     

    Gautier87

    New Member
    French
    "Tous les combien" is really close to "A quelle fréquence"; the answer could be like "I go every monday, once in a year, etc."

    If you want to know how many times a person has been skiing in its whole life, you can say "Combien de fois as-tu été skier?" (or more specific "En tout, combien de fois as-tu été skier ?"); you don't necessarily need to stipulate a time period; it's more the verb tense that indicates what you're asking. Here the person will answer : "J'y suis allé 3 fois" "I went three times"

    If you say "Combien de fois vas-tu skier?" it implies you're talking about a given period and you need to add an/semaine/aujourd'hui etc.

    I don't know if i answered your question, maybe i just don't understand well what you're asking :p
     

    Docbike

    Senior Member
    english, UK
    Thanks to all. I suspected there was no direct translation, but I now have a few ways of getting the idea across.
     

    Dawwn

    Senior Member
    Español (España)
    I was asking myself the same thing.

    Personally I have C1 level in french (not bad at all), regardless this weekend in Paris I couldn't find the words for: "How often does the train pass?"

    I know that "A quelle fréquence le train passe ?" could work, but I think it's not something we would say on a regular daily basis. Do you guys know another way of saying it?

    Thanks! :)
     

    Souxie

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Tous les combien le train passe (t-il) ?
    Combien de fois par jour/semaine... le train passe (t-il) ?
    Ou encore:
    Est-ce qu'il y a plusieurs trains par jour ?
    Il y a combien d'arrêts ici par jour/semaine... ?

    Et si la question n'est pas sur ce train spécifique mais sur le nombre de trains qui passent par cette voie:
    Il y a souvent des trains qui passent ici ?
     

    friasc

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    With 'tous les combien', is it incorrect to specify the period of time, for example

    Tu te rases tous les combien (de jours)? Vous allez chez le coiffeur tous les combien (de mois)?

    If this is an acceptable usage, then what if the period of time is feminine? Would one say, for example, 'les JO se tiennent toutes les combien d'années' ? Maybe this just isn't how people normally express themselves in everyday language, but it intrigues me. Thanks in advance
     

    friasc

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    Thank you. What would you say then if you wanted to make clear the period of time? Perhaps by adding an additional question for clarity, for example "ce visa est à renouveler à quelle fréquence / tous les combien, un an, deux ans ... ?"
     

    joelooc

    Senior Member
    French (Provence)
    "quelle est la durée de validité de ce visa?" would be what you are most likely to hear, the frequency would be in the answer: "il est à renouvelr tous les .."
     

    le chat noir

    Senior Member
    French
    I would never say "à quelle fréquence" in casual French, that sounds way too official or technical. "souvent" sounds much more natural to me.

    I'd say "[est-ce que] Tu vas souvent au ski ?" or "Tu fais souvent du ski ?" or "Tu skies souvent ?"

    As for a train, I'd rather say "[est-ce qu']Il y a beaucoup de trains pour...[city name] ?" or "Il y a souvent des trains pour... ?"

    "Tu skies tous les combien ?" sounds odd to me. It's rather used for a routine like "tu te rases tous les combien ?" (how often do you shave?).
    You could use it for a train, typically on a commuter line ("Le train pour Sarcelles passe tous les combien ?") but you rarely need that level of precision. If you simply ask "Il y a souvent des trains pour Sarcelles ?" the typical answer will tell you how often the train runs ("[Un] tous les quarts d'heure").

    It's a bit like "Vous avez l'heure ?" vs. "What time is it?". A smartass could answer "oui" ("yes, I know what time it is") but that's not the answer you'll usually get :D
     
    Last edited:

    friasc

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    Thank you for the clear and detailed replies. In the case of an event that occurs at regular intervals of years (tournaments, contests, elections, etc.) how would you ask the question? Would you just ask 'La coupe du monde a lieu tous les combien?'
     
    Top