"Il devrait encore être sous garantie." "Il devrait toujours être sous garantie." This exercise uses "encore" exclusively here, but I was wondering if this was an example of a case where "encore" and "toujours" could be used interchangeably to mean "still"? It is a hard concept to grasp because of the other meanings of these 2 words, and one I just can't seem to get right. For example, could "Il devrait encore être sous garantie" have 2 possible meanings depending on context i.e. "It should (still or again) be under warranty", and could "Il devrait toujours être sous garantie" also have 2 possible meanings i.e. "It should (still or always) be under warranty" ?
Freeform Writing Exercise B2
The distinction between the two is very tricky. The context will help hugely in knowing which one to use over the other. Here is a summary of how to use them, in the majority of cases:
- Toujours = still → neutral tone / a fact / a permanence – a continuity
Tu es toujours là ? = Are you still here ? (on the phone – after a blank)
Je suis toujours à la recherche d’un appartement = I am still looking for a flat (a fact)
- Encore = still → reiteration that involves emotions / judgment / annoyance even
Tu es encore là !? = You are still here !? (annoyance)
Je suis encore à la recherche d’un appartement = I am still looking for my flat (once again - irritation)
As for the particular examples, you mention:
Il devrait encore être sous garantie = it should still be under warranty (reassurance)
Il devrait toujours être sous garantie = it should still be under warranty (a fact – neutral)
I hope this is helpful.
Bonne journée !
Paul - I share your general confusion over the distinction - especially as Laura Lawless states in the attached, and also covered on her social media sites, that when 'still' is the translation and 'continues' the meaning, 'toujours' is the better option. ThoughtCo also indicates the same - not sure if this is Laura's writing again, as they have removed the author credits. I have found the same suggested on a number of other sites too. Despite this, it seems 'encore' is commonly used in everyday French speech in this setting, so either may still be 'correct'.
When I think it is still/continuing, if I use toujours, I ignore the strikethroughs. There are other situations in which they are less or not interchangeable though.
My reference is www.cnrtl.fr
The synonymy between the two terms:-
Toujours --> continuellement, sans cesse, constamment.
Encore --> cependant, de plus, par surcroît, toujours
There is a much longer list in each case, but encore appears well down the table against toujours whereas toujours appears as above against encore. This suggests to me that toujours carries the sense of "always" in English whereas encore the sense of "again" in English but always dependant upon context and everyday usage / style.
Hope this helps.
Thanks Maarten and Jim. After reading the links I think that “toujours” should indeed have been an accepted alternative in the sentence in this exercise. Seems that we can’t use this construction without ambiguity in French. “Je suis encore ici” can mean both I am still here or I am here again, but equally “Je suis toujours ici” can mean both I am still here or I am always here. (Context usually helps though.)
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