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