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Comment traduire « to have been doing something » ?

French Language Asked on October 24, 2021

En anglais, je dirais « I have been reading this book all day » ou « I have been working on it since yesterday. »

Comment peut-on le dire en français?

Franchement, quand j’essaie de le traduire en ma tête, la première chose à laquelle je pense est simplement d’utiliser le présent: « J’y travaille depuis hier. »

Mais ça n’a pas le même sens, si ?


In English, I would say “I have been reading this book all day” or “I have been working on it since yesterday.”

How can I intimate that notion in French?

Honestly, when I try to translate it in my head, the first thing that comes to mind is to simply use the present tense, which I know is correct (to an extent) in this case.

But it doesn’t have quite the same meaning…does it?

4 Answers

Here's a rule of thumb:

French does not have the present perfect tense (have + passed participle: have gone, have seen, have had, etc. ) and it also doesn't have the continuous present perfect tense (have been + [verb] ing).

So decide when your action took place. If it continues until the present, use present tense in French plus DEPUIS. If it is no longer occuring, use imperfect tense (most of the time) plus depuis.

The French say: Je lis depuis ce matin.

I have been reading since this morning

You have to translate INTO French using the present tense or the imperfect tense: J'allais à la piscine depuis l'été 2007 . I had been going to the pool since the summer of 2007.

Answered by Lambie on October 24, 2021

Pour traduire « I have been reading this book all day », je dirais « j'ai lu ce bouquin toute la journée » (tu n'avais rien d'autre à faire ?...)

« I have been working on it since yesterday. » Si je devais traduire ça, je dirais « j'ai travaillé dessus toute la journée ».

J'ai pris ce message comme si on me demandait de traduire l'anglais en français (et je ne parle pas super bien l'anglais pourtant).

Answered by BENARD Patrick on October 24, 2021

I would indeed use the present. If need be, I would use different intonation or vocabulary depending on the meaning I want to convey.

I have been reading this book all day:

  • If you want to convey that you had to but did not want to:

    Je me tape ce bouquin depuis ce matin. (Fam.)

  • If you want to convey that you couldn’t get out of it:

    Je suis plongé dans ce livre depuis ce matin.

I use “depuis ce matin” because you couldn’t use “toute la journée” in French without using a past tense, and that tends to imply that the action is now over.

I have been working on it since yesterday:

Je suis/bosse là-dessus depuis hier!

Answered by Édouard on October 24, 2021

Voici ce que je dirais:

J'ai passé la journée à lire ce livre
J'ai lu ce livre toute la journée

Dans les deux cas j'utilise le passé composé. Tu as cependant raison, la signification n'est pas exactement la même puisque le Present Perfect Continuous en anglais est utilisé spécifiquement pour dire qu'une action a débuté dans le passé, durée un certain temps, et est maintenant terminée. Le passé composé ne fait pas ces distinctions. Donc

I have read this book

Se traduirait aussi par:

J'ai lu ce livre

Answered by Zonata on October 24, 2021

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