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Sentence confusion

VasanthaA2Kwiziq community member

Sentence confusion

Hello! I'm confused about the sentence: "Pour que tous les habitants comprennent, le roi François Ier décide en 1539 .... " If the English translation takes place in the past tense (the king François decided), why does the phrase seem to be conjugated in the present tense? Why not "le roi François Ier a décidé?" Merci!

Asked 10 months ago
MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Vasantha, English typically uses past tense in historical writing whereas French historical writing uses present tense primarily. 

Hence, the original French document uses present tense throughout, but that would not ‘sound’ right in English, and the translator has appropriately applied the tense shift during translation. 

See discussion in link :

 https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/historical-tenses/

Sentence confusion

Hello! I'm confused about the sentence: "Pour que tous les habitants comprennent, le roi François Ier décide en 1539 .... " If the English translation takes place in the past tense (the king François decided), why does the phrase seem to be conjugated in the present tense? Why not "le roi François Ier a décidé?" Merci!

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