Tuesday, July 11, 2017

IS IT LATE OR IS HE LATE? 

(IL EST TARD. vs. IL EST EN RETARD.)







Tard and en retard can both be translated as late into English, but they are used to convey different things, and their usage often confuses learners.



1. tard (late in the day)

Il est tard.
(It is late.)



The adverb tard means being late in the day. "Il" here is the impersonal pronoun "it" and not the personal pronoun "he".

I often hear the above when students want to express the idea that someone is late for a meeting or an appointment. But that doesn't work. So don't say the following if you mean that people are not punctual:

Je suis tard.
Tu es tard.
Nous sommes tard.
Vous êtes tard. 
Ils sont tard.


Use

2. en retard (late for an appointment, not punctual) 

Je suis en retard.
(I am late.)

Tu es en retard.

(You are late.)

Il est en retard.

(He is late.)

Elle est en retard.

(She is late.)

On est en retard.

(One is late. We are late. They are late.) 

Nous sommes en retard.

(We are late.)

Vous êtes en retard.

(You are late.)

Ils sont en retard.

(They (m.) are late.)

Elles sont en retard.

(They (f.) are late.)



La réunion a commencé à 15h et le patron n'est pas encore là. Il est en retard. 
(The meeting started at 3pm and the boss is not here yet. He is late.)


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