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Dear Teachers,

Would it be correct to say:

1) You a) look very posh.

b) You are looking very posh. (are both tenses possible ?)

2) a) The Titanic shipwreck caused the loss of many human lives.

b) The shipwreck of the Titanic caused the loss of many human lives.

3) They elected him president of the .

Ils l’ont élu Président des Etats Unis.

(Why is there a capital letter to « president » in French and not in English ?)

4) a) I hope you are right.

b) I hope you MAY be right. (correct ?)

5) A chocolate chip cookie biscuit.

6) Three thousand babies have been born this year with xxx illness.

(would you please help me find a name of a disease I can add here ?)

7) Could we please work this (what word/phrase can I insert here instead of “this”?) out?

8) “At this point, Boggis became aware of the three men, Rummins, Bert, and Claud, watching him intently. They had seen him stop and gasp and stare…. He MUST HAVE time to compose himself thoroughly before he said another word.”
[Roald Dahl, Parson's Pleasure]
Does “Must Have” express a necessity in the past here? Is it also called an “emphatic MUST”?

Comments  
Hi Hela,

Would it be correct to say:

1) You a) look very posh.

b) You are looking very posh. (are both tenses possible ?)

Both are OK. 'Posh' is more BrE, I'd say.

2) a) The Titanic shipwreck caused the loss of many human lives.

b) The shipwreck of the Titanic caused the loss of many human lives.

Both are OK. I like B better. However, it's rather unnecessaryto say 'human'. I wouldn't expect you to be talking about cows and dogs. I'd say the 'sinking' would be a more common term than the 'shipwreck'.

3) They elected him president of the United States.

Ils l’ont élu Président des Etats Unis.



(Why is there a capital letter to « president » in French and not in English ?)

In English, if you are thinking of it as a unique title, as we usually do, put a capital 'P'. If you are thinking of him as one of several presidents, eg president of IBM, president of the Home and School Association, president of Uruguay, etc., use lower case.

I wouldn't want to start discussing when capitalization is used in French.

4 ) a) I hope you are right.

b) I hope you MAY be right. (correct ?)

A is fine. B sounds a little odd. It sounds kind of 'doubly unreal'.



5) A chocolate chip cookie biscuit.

In BrE, say 'biscuit. In AmE, say 'cookie'. Don't say both.



6) Three thousand babies have been born this year with *** illness.

(would you please help me find a name of a disease I can add here ?)

If it has a name like this, we normally say 'disease' rather than 'illness'. eg Crohn's disease.


7) Could we please work this (what word/phrase can I insert here instead of “this”?) out?

Could we please work this problem out? Or, rather oddly, you could say 'solution' instead of 'problem'.

8) “At this point, Boggis became aware of the three men, Rummins, Bert, and Claud, watching him intently. They had seen him stop and gasp and stare…. He MUST HAVE time to compose himself thoroughly before he said another word.”
[Roald Dahl, Parson's Pleasure]
Does “Must Have” express a necessity in the past here? Yes. Is it also called an “emphatic MUST”?
I'm not familiar with the term 'emphatic must'. The example doesn't seem greatly emphatic to me. This form of words is also rather uncommon. It sounds literary and somewhat old-fashioned.

Best wishes, Clive

1) You a) look very posh.

b) You are looking very posh.

Just as a footnote: in BrE, "to look posh" can mean both "to have an upper-middle or upper-class appearance" and "to be wearing expensive clothes".

But for the latter meaning, it may be more usual to say e.g. "that's a very posh dress you've got on".

(It may also be worth noting that "posh" is one of those words that set some speakers' teeth on edge. Not everyone would react well to a description of themselves as "posh"!)

MrP
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Thanks to both of you.

So would it be possible to translate (according to context) "you look very posh" by "tu fais très snob / collet-monté (?)" and "you're looking very posh" by "tu es très élégant" ?

And "to work something out" or "work out something" could mean either a) to find a solution to a problem; or b) to come to an agreement about sthg. Correct ?

Best wishes
Hi Hela,

So would it be possible to translate (according to context) "you look very posh" by "tu fais très snob / collet-monté (?)"

I think 'tu fais tres snob' is more like 'you are very smart', in the sense of very fashionable.

Perhaps 'collet-monte' might be better translated as 'prim and proper'.

For 'posh', how about c'est bath, c'est chic, c'est chouette'? Or maye ca fait riche?

and "you're looking very posh" by "tu es très élégant" ? Doesn't this sounds more like 'You are very elegant'.

And "to work something out" or "work out something" could mean either a) to find a solution to a problem; or b) to come to an agreement about sthg. Correct ? Yes. It's basically the same thing in a way, isn't it?

Best wishes, Clive
Thanks for the answer, Clive. Now how would you translate "You look (and "you are looking") very posh" into French ?

See you soon.

Hela
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Hi Hela,

Today I asked my French-speaking student from Morocco.

He suggested simply vous etes tres elegant or perhaps vous semblez tres elegant.

Best wishes, Clive
8) “At this point, Boggis became aware of the three men, Rummins, Bert, and Claud, watching him intently. They had seen him stop and gasp and stare…. He MUST HAVE time to compose himself thoroughly before he said another word.”
[Roald Dahl, Parson's Pleasure]
Does “Must Have” express a necessity in the past here?

I think a translation would be:
He NEEDED time
to compose himself thoroughly before he said another word.

Also, on posh
huppe
is another Fr translation indicated by dictionaries.
Sometimes, might be mondain.