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Ma mère était le première personne j'ai connu qui recyclait--elle utilisait notre vieille vêtements à fabriquer les couettes.  Ces jours, le gens imaginitif changent les individuel clés du clavier de l'ordinateur aux boutons de manchettes, les boîtes de soda aux avions jouets, et les vieilles wagons de marchandises aux maisons.  Après la vie première d’un objet est fini, c’est bon connaître il peut avoir une vie nouvelle.


This is what I'm trying to say:


My mother was the first recycler I knew—she used our old clothes to make quilts.  Nowadays, imaginative people turn individual computer keyboard keys into cufflinks, pop cans into toy airplanes, and old boxcars into houses. Once an object’s first life has ended, it’s good to know it can have a new one.  

I'd appreciate any help.  Merci en avance, 



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Ma mère était la première personne que j'ai connu qui recyclait--elle utilisait notre vieux vêtements à fabriquer les couettes. Ces jours, les gens imaginitifs changent les clés individuelles du clavier de l'ordinateur aux boutons de manchettes, les boîtes de soda aux avions jouets, et les vieilles wagons de marchandises aux maisons. Après la première vie
d’un objet est fini, c’est bon à savoir qu' il peut avoir une nouvelle vie .
I'm sure I have made some mistakes too, but this is my attempt!
Thank you Pam, that's very helpful.

I still have lots of problems with the placement of adjectives, and I never can figure out whether I need to use à in front of an infinitive (à fabriquer, à savoir)--it always seems redundant. Do you happen to know any rule of thumb for this?

Hi Al!
Yes its called the "BAGS" rule, beauty, age, goodness and size tend to go before the noun, see

also,some adjectives take a different meaning depending upon where they are placed. For example, adjectives placed before a word tend to be the figurative sense of the word.
Mon ancienne maison--my former house, une maison ancienne, an old house.
Can you give me a hint which one is the correct answer in this case:
C'est un ....., il mesure 1,90 m
a: grand homme; b: haut homme; c: homme gros; d: homme grand.
A few tips:

- in English, whenever "that"/"which"/"who" is optional, you generally need que in French-- so "Ma mère est la première personne que j'ai connue qui...".
- be careful of vieux, masculine, vs vieille, feminine
- be careful of the plural: nos vieux vêtements
- for "nowadays", you could actually just say aujourd'hui and it would be understood to mean "today in general", "nowadays"; otherwise, the usual expression is de nos jours. If you use ces jours, it's more usual to qualify it: ces derniers jours ("these last few days"), ces jours-là ("during those days").
- when you have "to" before an infinitive meaning "in order to", the usual preposition is pour: elle utilisait nos vieux vêtements pour fabriquer.... In this particular case, another idiomatic way of saying it would be elle se servait de nos vieux vêtements pour....
- to say "change something into something", the preposition for "into" is en (changer/transformer qch en qch). You could also use the construction faire de qch qch, e.g. ils font de leur vieille camionette une nouvelle maison.
- for "Once an object's first life has ended", I think an idiomatic way of saying this would be Une fois un objet arrivé à la fin de sa première vie utile.
- for "It's good to know that...", think about maybe Il est rassurant de savoir que...
Thanks Neil--the comments about que and - when you have "to" before an infinitive meaning "in order to", the usual preposition is pour are particularly helpful.

I've long found it confusing to distinguish between when a preposition is needed before an infinitive and when it isn't. Your 'in order to' comment makes me think that as long as a simple declarative statement is made on its own (si vous veulez chanter, c'est bien) no preposition is required.

But, in a sentence like this: Je veux apprendre à le français pour aider à mon cerveau éviter devenir le fromage have I got the prepositions in the right place? (I understand apprendre and aider are prepositional verbs and must be followed by à.) I'm trying to say "I want to learn French to keep my brain from turning to cheese."

Hi Al,

Here's a correction:

Je veux apprendre à le français pour aider mon cerveau à éviter de devenir du fromage.

Constructions like apprendre à, commencer à and essayer de are always followed by a verb in its infinitive form, never by a noun.

Also, pay attention to the difference between le fromage (the cheese, i.e. a specific cheese) vs du fromage (cheese).
Merci Frank.

Are you saying that because there isn't an infinitive immediately following apprendre & aider in my example, the à isn't required? Also, why is the infinitive éviter in your example preceded by à. Doesn't the infinitive contain the preposition already? What am I missing?



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