Why is it ‘Ils brûlent tout’ not ‘Ils sont brûlent tout’?

KevB2

Why is it ‘Ils brûlent tout’ not ‘Ils sont brûlent tout’?

Asked 1 year ago
MeganC1Correct answer
When you conjugate a verb in the present tense, it already means "is / are -ing." For example, "Ils parlent" may be translated as "They are speaking," or "they speak."
"Ils brûlent tout" translates to "They burn everything".This is one of the few cases where you can literally translate every word and get the right answer. Not many of those around ;) I am not sure why you would want to stick "sont" into the sentence. What exactly did you want to say? -- Chris.
KevB2
Thanks Claus, I agree with you and understand your explanation but the quiz question was to translate “They’re burning everything” hence I put sont in there for “are”, which was marked as being wrong.
RonC1
Bonjour Kev, There is a lesson here that addresses this topic exactly; however, I am unable to locate it but basically is says that in French unlike in English there is not a separate conjugation to say I am speaking, like in Megan's examples above. «Il parle» translates to «He speaks» OR «He is speaking». Claus gave a great example about the phrase in question by stating that there are not many times when the phrase in French can be translated word-for-word to English. I had a French instructor and her favorite phrase to the class when we attempted to translate was this: French is not simply English translated to French. There are too many syntax variables between the two for that to occur. Learning French is a totally different way of thinking about language.
KevB2
Thanks for your help everyone. I’m getting my head around it slowly ;-)
KevB2
This explains it in a bit more detail. https://www.cliffsnotes.com/study-guides/french/french-ii/french-ii-participles/present-participles
RonC1
Actually, the lesson from cliff notes is a totally different grammar point, what in English is known as a gerund, the -ing form of a verb when it is not functioning as a verb, i.e. He eats while talking ---> Il mange en parlant. So, one can see that these are two entirely different grammar structures. Here is the lesson that discusses le gerondif: Forming Le Gérondif: en + '-ant' (while/by + -ing)%252Fsearch%253Fs%253Ding

Why is it ‘Ils brûlent tout’ not ‘Ils sont brûlent tout’?

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