The French They Never Taught You 23: talk about, read about, write about

July 14, 2015

"To talk about something" in French is parler de quelque chose. Students learn to replace de phrases with ce dont, so "what you're talking about" is ce dont tu parles.

 

It would be logical to assume that the verbs "to read" (lire) and "to write" (écrire) work the same way as "to talk" (parler), but in fact, they don't: you cannot say "lire de quelque chose" or "écrire de quelque chose" in French. 

 

Instead, "to read about something" is lire quelque chose sur X. For example, "I read about it in Le Monde" is J'ai lu quelque chose là-dessus dans Le Monde.

 

"We read about him yesterday" is Nous avons lu quelque chose à son sujet hier.

 

"To write about something" works the same way.

 

"He writes about social policy" is Il écrit sur les questions de politique sociale.

 

But an even better way to translate it is to use the verbs décrire or traiter.

For example, "They wrote about their experiences" could be translated as Ils ont décrit leurs expériences.

 

"She writes about archeology." Elle traite de questions d'archéologie.

 

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