Bojour, Why is "Nous ne savions pas lire avant" translated as "We couldn't read before" !! Whereas it ought to be "We did not know how to read before.

Answered! Jump to accepted answer.

jerin

Kwiziq community member

19 November 2018

3 replies

Bojour, Why is "Nous ne savions pas lire avant" translated as "We couldn't read before" !! Whereas it ought to be "We did not know how to read before.

This question relates to:
French lesson "Position of negation with two verbs (conjugated + infinitive)"

Chris

Kwiziq community member

19 November 2018

19/11/18

To me, either version is OK in English because "can" carries both meanings (to be able to something -- savoir,  and to have the opportunity to do somtehing -- pouvoir).

"I can read" thus can both mean that I have learned to read in school and also that I am in a position to read (as in "I can read the text if you want.")

For the sake of clarity, however, and to be absolutely clear, the translation "We didn't know how to read" would be better.

jerin

Kwiziq community member

19 November 2018

19/11/18

Thank you for the reply Chris. I appreciate it.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

20 November 2018

20/11/18

I completely agree with Chris's comprehensive answer :)

I've now changed the English accordingly.

Bonne journée !

Your answer

Login to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Think you've got all the answers?

Test your French to the CEFR standard

find your French level »
3398questions7120answers134,973users
How has your day been?