Dear MrP and all the teachers who understand French:

A/ Is my understanding of the English sentences correct ?

1) Bill rolled out of the room.

Bill sortit de la pièce en se dandinant / en titubant / en se balançant d’un pied sur l’autre ?

2) Our blazing rows make our downstairs neighbour hit the ceiling.

a) Nos disputes cinglantes font sauter au plafond notre voisin du dessous.

b) A nous entendre nous disputer de façon aussi violente le voisin du dessous en vient à frapper le plafond.

B/ What is the English equivalent of the following quote?

"Science sans conscience est ruine de l’âme."

C/ Is this a proverb ?

"Different strokes for different folks."

(Do you know of a site that gives a translation of French or English proverbs?)

D/ I hope you may be right. (correct English?)

Thank you.

Best wishes,

Hello Hela

1) Bill rolled out of the room.

I think "se dandinant" is best here. "En titubant" might be closer to "Bill reeled out of the room".

2) Our blazing rows make our downstairs neighbour hit the ceiling.

I would say B. The neighbour is hitting the ceiling with a broom or other object. A would be closer to the metaphorical "hit the roof".

3)"Science sans conscience n'est que ruine de l’âme."

=> Knowledge without conscience is but the ruin of the soul.

4) "Different strokes for different folks."

I think it's an American saying; but I'm not sure where it comes from. Sometimes you hear it in BrE.

I did find a French/English proverbs site the other day – I'll see if I can rediscover it!

5) I hope you may be right. (correct English?)

It sounds a little mannered to me. I suppose it might be used to mean "I hope you will be proved right". Maybe it's more common in AmE.

See you,

1. I don't feel there's enough context to say exactly how to translate "rolled" in that sentence. If the guy is on fire and attempting to put the fire out, he may literally be rolling (rouler). Maybe he's wearing roller skates. Maybe the reference is to thunder, in which case we need a word that suggests a huge force and/or suggests that he's quite large.

2. I didn't know whether to take this literally (frapper le plafond) or figuratively (sortir de ses gonds). Maybe that ambiguity is the untranslatable part!

3. Mr. P. has done this one.

4. I think it's from an American song.

5. I hope you're right. (This is the most common, ordinary, standard way to say it, at least in AmE.)

[I hope you may be right sounds too much like I hope it is possible that you are right and I don't think the mere possibility is what is hoped for.]

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2. Maybe that ambiguity is the untranslatable part!
Yes, I agree, on 2nd thoughts. I'd forgotten figurative "hit the ceiling". (I don't think it's used much in BrE, except as in "glass ceiling"; but now I can "hear" it in AmE.)

There's the expression "sauter au plafond", but alas I don't see any possibility of crossing it with "taper au plafond" (the former being the figurative one).
I had no idea that "sauter au plafond" was possible in French to mean "go into a rage"!
Thanks, Pieanne!
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You're welcome, CJ... [A] There's also "grimper aux murs", "grimper au plafond", "hurler", etc...