Hands and needles – les mains et les aiguilles

The pointers of a clock or watch are called “hands”: the second hand, the minute hand and the hour hand. Note that there is no final “s” to “second, minute, hour”. In French, hands turn into needles → les aiguilles d’une montre ou d’une horloge. L’aiguille des secondes, des minutes et des heures. The French … Lire plus

proposer (fr) vs propose (en)

The French proposer and the English to propose can be quite similar. For example: To put forward a plan or proposal: The committee proposed a new agreement. → Le comité a proposé un nouvel accord.  We proposed Ms Smith as Chair / Chairperson / Chairwoman. → Nous avons proposé Mme Smith en tant que Présidente. … Lire plus

the past simple and tense markers

I like to think of the past tense as a flag in the middle of a sentence to call out and mark tense. Training your ear to notice these “flags” or markers will help you better capture meaning. The English language aims for simplicity and reduces markers to a minimum. Have a look at the … Lire plus

(…) dans les combien?

Combien means how many or to how much. It makes no difference between countable and uncountable (mass) nouns: Combien de beurre? How much butter? Combien de fleurs? How many flowers? (…) dans les combien (no plural “s”) is a spoken expression meaning about how many, or about how much. It’s often used in money matters.  When you don’t want to ask exactly how much, say, C’est dans les combien? … Lire plus