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Le nombre de fois/Combien de fois

Helena F.B2Kwiziq community member

Le nombre de fois/Combien de fois

I translated "how many times" (I've got lost) as "combien de fois" rather than "le nombre de fois".  This was not listed as an alternative, but according to my Reverso app they are both acceptable in this context.  When would you use one rather than the other?

Asked 2 years ago
CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Helena,

You are correct that 'combien de fois' is acceptable as well. It has now been added as a correct alternative. ;-)

Merci et bonne journée !

Jim J.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Helena,

Any machine translation needs to be taken as guidance only not definitive.

The point here to keep in mind - just what role in this context does the word "combien" take?

It is an adverb so normally needs to modify a verb. If you had written ça fait combien .... that would be valid because "combien" would be modifying the verb faire (fait).

So to simply write  "combien de fois" is probably acceptable in everyday speech but perhaps not in a grammar exercise.

Hope this helps.

Jim

Chris W.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

In my opinion, "combien de fois" is perfectly ok. However, it isn't the only way to express this. In English, too, you can say, "If you knew the number of times I got lost..." True, it is less common than "how many times..." but in French both are ok.

Le nombre de fois/Combien de fois

I translated "how many times" (I've got lost) as "combien de fois" rather than "le nombre de fois".  This was not listed as an alternative, but according to my Reverso app they are both acceptable in this context.  When would you use one rather than the other?

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