Hello, and welcome!
Each WordReference forum has a subculture of its own; here we seek to clarify how things work in the French-English section. As you get used to our practices, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when you contribute.
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Is my question about vocabulary or grammar?
If your question is about translation, word usage or meaning, if the answer could be found in a dictionary, a specialized glossary or a list of terms and expressions, then your question is considered a matter of vocabulary and should be posted in this forum. On the other hand, if your question is about a point of structure such as verb conjugation, agreement, prepositions, articles, pronouns, etc. then it belongs on the French-English Grammar forum.
Please search first!
You may find what you need in our dictionary or in our forum archives. Please search first before asking a question (rule 1). There are more than half a million threads in the French-English section of the forums, so chances are good that someone else will have asked for help on a similar topic. To search our archives for existing discussions, you have two options:
One thread = one question
These forums are organized on a "one question per thread" principle. Each thread needs to focus on a single, specific point of language or translation, so please ask only one question per thread (rule 2). If you have a second question—even a related one, or one about another part of the same passage—please open a second thread. Replies should stay on the topic of the the first post of the thread. If you wish to talk about another subject, open another thread. If you want to make an unrelated comment to another member, use the private message (PM) feature. WordReference is not a chatboard; please, no chit-chat.
How should I formulate my question?
Always provide the complete sentence and the general context (rule 3). Identify the specific problem you have, and explain your trouble. If at all possible, suggest a translation for the part in question. Forum members come here to give their help on a voluntary basis, so it is inappropriate to ask for their assistance without taking the trouble to work on a problem yourself first. If you do not speak a word of French, it is important to make that clear. Please note that providing your attempted translation or interpretation does not substitute for asking a specific question.
Generally speaking, the best title is the original word or phrase you wish to discuss, as it appears in the source text (rule 3). Do not use your attempted translation, lest your title contain mistakes. Kindly omit "translation please," "how do I say this," "I'm new," and the like. Please avoid quotation marks (") and ellipses (…). Titles are important because each entry in the dictionary is automatically linked to titles in the forum so that dictionary searches return our discussion threads in addition to translations.
What's the fuss about context?
Context and examples are crucial in linguistics. Where did you read the expression—in a novel, in a newspaper, in a scientific or technical document? Or did you hear the expression somewhere—on the television, on the radio, during a conversation with a friend? Otherwise, what idea are you trying to express, and under what circumstances? What is the general topic? If your question concerns a passage from a written work, the title, author, and date may be relevant. The sentences that precede and follow the bit you need help with will often shed light on your difficulty; please provide them if you can, accompanied by a link to the full, written source text (if available).
The context balancing act
As you provide context, please remember that citations are limited to four sentences or lines of verse, so you may need to trim your passage to the essential. Links to audio-visual content are permitted only with prior moderator approval (rule 4). Please do not highlight more than one part of a context passage; we can allow only one question per thread (rule 2). Finally, do not translate the entire context; it will not help us to focus on your question, and inexperienced members may not understand that we cannot rewrite your entire translation (see below).
Corrections and proofreading
These forums do not provide proofreading and rewriting of texts (rule 5). Please do not ask for opinions on, or general corrections to, a text, however short; that would be asking for proofreading. Replies that correct an entire passage or the whole context rather than focusing on the specific question are off-topic and may be shortened or deleted entirely. For more information, please see our proofreading policy.
Accepted written forms
We expect all members to do their best to write using standard written forms, with proper attention to spelling, capitalization, and punctuation (rule 11). Please remember that accent marks are required in French. If you need help inserting them, see our sticky. Except as a topic of discussion, chatspeak and SMS style are not acceptable.
Sources and accuracy
Please cite your sources, and link to them if possible. In fact, when you quote from a text, you must cite the source (rule 4). If you're asking a question, the source of the expression you need help with is an important part of the context. If you're answering a question, please make an effort to verify the accuracy of the information you provide. If you can substantiate your assertion with a link, please do so. And if you are unsure of your answer or suggested translation, please say so (rule 3).
Please avoid duplication
If you already posted your question in one of our other forums, please don't post it a second time here. If you realize a question might be more appropriate on a different forum, just click "Report" in the bottom left corner of the post and ask the moderators to move it rather than re-posting the question (or suggesting that the author re-post it) a second time elsewhere. Finally, please use the "Edit" link to avoid posting twice in a row.
When answering a thread
Feel free to direct people towards our dictionary or towards related threads that may be helpful. Please don't answer with "bare" links to other websites (rule 3); your reply needs to be useful even if your link stops working at some point in the future. Kindly report redundancy and duplications to the moderators by clicking "Report" in the bottom left corner of the post. And if you see a request that breaks a rule (e.g., multiple questions, or a request for proofreading), please do not post in the thread. Instead, please use the "Report" feature.
You may sometimes wish to quote another member's comments when you reply. To this end, there is a "Reply" link in the lower right corner of every post. If you do use the quote feature, please be considerate: quote judiciously, and trim the quote to the relevant portion of the message to spare people unnecessary scrolling. If you'd like to quote multiple messages, "+ Quote" can do that too, so please don't post several consecutive replies in the same thread. For clarity, please set any quoted text using the tag-based quote formatting that is built into our forum software, rather than resorting to italics, quotation marks, the word "citation:," or other means. For help with quoting, you'll find instructions, tips, and tricks here.
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We hope these details, intended to supplement the general forum rules, will give you a better sense of how the French-English Vocabulary forum works.
If you have even the slightest concern please feel free to contact a moderator.
The Moderator Team
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