Elizabeth (mangameep) wrote in little_details,

French language--"should be, should have been"; differences between French and English

(For the first question, Google Translate doesn't help much. For the second, I googled "differences between english and french" but found mostly stuff oriented toward French learners--I'm not really sure if it's the kind of thing I can search for.)

Setting: Paris, 1873, if that's at all relevant.

First, someone finds that his (male) friend, whom he supposed was a zombie, is actually alive and well. Naturally he is confused, and so are his verb tenses. How would you say in French:

"You should not be alive. You should be dead; rather, you should have been dead,"

or something along those lines? What verbs would you use, and how would you conjugate them?

Second, more generally, I'd like to write some dialogue and narration in English, but under the pretense that it has been translated from French. Obviously this means avoiding idiomatic expressions, but are there any other differences between French and English that I should be aware of? Constructions that aren't available, things like that? Or, heck, stuff that'd just be fun to work with? I speak practically no French myself, so I don't know whether there even are any differences that would be relevant, but if anybody has anything interesting, I'd love to know about it.


EDIT: Thanks, everyone! I've gotten some good translations and vocabulary, and some interesting facts about French. For the second question, though, I'm looking not so much to write a French character as to write a fake (fluently) translated text. That is, what are some aspects of my native English that would never appear in something that had originally been written in French? Sorry, I didn't explain that very well…
Tags: ~languages: french

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