We are family!
Save 15% on all annual Premium plans »

Use of 'Arriver a (with accent)

BrianC1Kwiziq community member

Use of 'Arriver a (with accent)

In the two examples above, the expression ''They can't believe'' is translated as Ils n'arrivent pas a croire. I believe it could also be translated as Ils ne peuvent pas croire. If so, is there a preference in spoken French?

Asked 6 months ago
CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Brian,

In French, "pouvoir" has a more neutral tone than "ne pas arriver à" (which implies a failure in succeeding). In the case of "cannot believe [something]" using "ne pas arriver à + [verb]" is correct (it means that you cannot picture something as possible rather than "cannot do [something]").

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Ne pouvoir pas faire qqc means that you can't do something but not that you failed trying.

N'arriver pas à faire qqc expresses the failure, i.e., you tried but failed.

Use of 'Arriver a (with accent)

In the two examples above, the expression ''They can't believe'' is translated as Ils n'arrivent pas a croire. I believe it could also be translated as Ils ne peuvent pas croire. If so, is there a preference in spoken French?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level
Thinking...