There should be a health warning on the lid of the Wednesday evening French intermediate class at the Modern Language School.
Something like “Beware! This class is dynamite!” It’s not just because people are lively and questioning, nor because they enjoy finding out more and more about French; it’s because they will not hesitate to ask questions and try and live with the answers…
For example, tonight, I was innocently trying to explain that if you go out “sortir” make its perfect tense with “être” but if you take something out, “sortir” makes its perfect tense with “avoir”… For example, “Je suis sortie du bar à 2 heures du matin.” and “Hier soir, j’ai sorti la poubelle sur le trottoir.”
From “sortir la poubelle”, to take the bin out, we very quickly got into deep waters about to take and to bring. Usually, to take is “prendre” and, as I keep pointing out, French is a grabbing language: we “prendre” a drink, a meal, a shower, a train, etc. BUT, when it comes to taking something or someone somewhere, it’s a different game.
So I had to come clean and confess that there are very special words in French for “to bring” and “to take” somewhere AND that they were different words for things (inanimate objects) and for people (or animals, living creatures).
I brought a dessert.
I’m taking my horse to the mountains.
I take some hotdogs home.
… as you will have seen from “plats à emporter” (take away food) in France.
Well, I’d love to tell you more about tonight’s class, but I’m too exhausted…