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ca a ete gentil (bien) de faire ca

English translation: c'était gentil (bien) de faire ça/cela

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18:31 May 23, 2001
French to English translations [Non-PRO]
French term or phrase: ca a ete gentil (bien) de faire ca
You would you use the passe composé here, right?

Because this is seen as something that "happened" (completed action) at a given time ("de faire ca"--or when you or whoever did that, it)

Otherwise, if I said " c'était gentil, la fete!, it would be in the imperfect because it would not be considered a completed action in the past. This would be how something was perceived (that was going on in the past). The party was nice!

Am I right cause this translation I am working on has tons of expressions of this sort.
Scott
English translation:c'était gentil (bien) de faire ça/cela
Explanation:
c'était de bien de faire ça/cela

"ça a été bien de faire ça" is wrong in French.
What you say about "completed action" in the past, etc is not as clear in French as it is in English.
As a rule, French verbs seldom behave like English ones.
We don't stress "completed actions/incompleted actions" so much (what is
called in grammar "aspect"), but we stress "duration" as opposed to short, well-defined actions.

For example :

"Hier, tu es allé voir ton grand-père à l'hôpital - c'était gentil de faire ça."
Yesterday you went to visit your grandfather at the hospital : it was kind of you to do so.
"tu es allé" is passé composé, because it happened once at a determined time.
But "c'était gentil" is imperfect : though it happened yesterday, we don't use passé composé in that case, because it is not an action, but some kind of
appreciation I formulate afterwards. Also : it means that I consider such
actions to be good "in general". So I use imperfect.

I don't know the context for your sentence, but, whatever it is, we cannot use
passé composé with that type of sentence.

Hope it helps !








Selected response from:

Carole Reade-Kentros
Local time: 00:44
Grading comment
Thank you Carole. I appreciate your explanation.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
naComment
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
nac'était gentil (bien) de faire ça/celaCarole Reade-Kentros


  

Answers


3 hrs
c'était gentil (bien) de faire ça/cela


Explanation:
c'était de bien de faire ça/cela

"ça a été bien de faire ça" is wrong in French.
What you say about "completed action" in the past, etc is not as clear in French as it is in English.
As a rule, French verbs seldom behave like English ones.
We don't stress "completed actions/incompleted actions" so much (what is
called in grammar "aspect"), but we stress "duration" as opposed to short, well-defined actions.

For example :

"Hier, tu es allé voir ton grand-père à l'hôpital - c'était gentil de faire ça."
Yesterday you went to visit your grandfather at the hospital : it was kind of you to do so.
"tu es allé" is passé composé, because it happened once at a determined time.
But "c'était gentil" is imperfect : though it happened yesterday, we don't use passé composé in that case, because it is not an action, but some kind of
appreciation I formulate afterwards. Also : it means that I consider such
actions to be good "in general". So I use imperfect.

I don't know the context for your sentence, but, whatever it is, we cannot use
passé composé with that type of sentence.

Hope it helps !











    native French speaker
Carole Reade-Kentros
Local time: 00:44
PRO pts in pair: 90
Grading comment
Thank you Carole. I appreciate your explanation.
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8 hrs
Comment


Explanation:
I would have preferred to post this to your e-mail but none has been provided.

Carole has very kindly replied to your question. Perhaps this is not the appropriate forum for your question as it is not strictly speaking a request for terminological assistance but rather a matter relating to grammar. I find answering questions of this type difficult, as I am always left with the feeling that whilst one particular sentence in one particular set of circumstances may have been translated for the asker, the assistance being sought is not being provided.

Taking the case in point, choice of tense is one of the trickiest things about translating into English. I have taught English in language schools (18+), schools (5-15), adult evening classes and university. Whatever the level of expertise, choice of tense has its subtleties and can be difficult.

This site states its principles quite clearly (INFO) and it strikes me that grammar assistance is not part of the aims. Indeed, you say that your text has lots of these sorts of expressions of this sort. I trust Carole’s answer is of assistance but I have just spent about 20 minutes looking through one of my trusty grammar texts and more than 5 pages are given over to the choice between the perfect, past historic and imperfect.


“A Comprehensive French Grammar, 4th ed., Glanville Price, Byrne & Churchill” (paras 405-411 for the choice between the perfect, past historic and imperfect ). This work is comprehensive and gives clear explanations on subtle points.

As to specific tricky questions, “L’Anglais de A à Z, Swan & Houdart, Hatier” is excellent, restating the point of grammar involved – which usually makes you run to your favourite grammar text to get it straight again.

I have been translating professionally since 1994, did so for many years withint the framework of previous employment and still use my grammar texts!

Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Local time: 23:44
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 4431
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