Croire en/au

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Croire en/au

Postby Bacon » 2013-04-04, 18:19

Why do you say "Je crois en Dieu" and also "Je crois au Pere Noel"?

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Re: Croire en/au

Postby Emandir » 2013-04-04, 18:29

Bacon wrote:Why do you say "Je crois en Dieu" and also "Je crois au Pere Noel"?
Because it's "Dieu" but "le Père Noël".
We would say, for example, "Les Grecs croyaient aux dieux de l'Olympe."
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Re: Croire en/au

Postby Bacon » 2013-04-04, 23:04

But Dieu is a noun. Specifically, a masculine one.

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Re: Croire en/au

Postby Bacon » 2013-04-04, 23:04

But Dieu is a noun. Specifically, a masculine one.

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Re: Croire en/au

Postby JackFrost » 2013-04-05, 0:51

If you believe in someone (trust/confidence), you use "en": je crois en mon fils, je crois en toi, je crois en Pierre...
If you believe in the existence of something/someone, you use "à": je crois au père Noël, je crois à l'âme, je crois à l'immortalité, je crois au lapin de Pâques...

Croire en Dieu can also mean to believe in the existence of god. French is full of quirks that sometimes cannot be explained easily. It's just said like that.
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Re: Croire en/au

Postby Bacon » 2013-04-05, 1:33

Okay, so the answer is simply that there is no reason?

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Re: Croire en/au

Postby Bacon » 2013-04-05, 1:35

Don't you also say, "Je crois au diable"?

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Re: Croire en/au

Postby JackFrost » 2013-04-05, 3:34

Yep, "je crois au Diable". Google does show some results for "croit en Diable", but it's not very common (and sounds weird to me).

Okay, so the answer is simply that there is no reason?

There's still a chance that someone else knows the answer maybe. If I were you, I wouldn't let this question bug me too much. :?
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Re: Croire en/au

Postby Dormouse559 » 2013-04-05, 5:07

How would you say something like "I believe in (trust) John's friend"? "Je crois en l'ami de Jean"?
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Re: Croire en/au

Postby Bacon » 2013-04-06, 1:31

I'm not a native speaker, but I'm pretty that since there's an article, and it's required, you'd just say

Je crois dans l'ami de John.

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Re: Croire en/au

Postby JackFrost » 2013-04-06, 1:50

Actually, "en" is fine there since it's a person. That's what I'd say.
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Re: Croire en/au

Postby Bacon » 2013-04-06, 4:52

According to Google Translate, you'd say "Je crois en ami de Jake"

Would you just ditch the article?

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Re: Croire en/au

Postby melski » 2013-04-06, 10:21

You have to use the article >> Je crois en l'ami de Jake.
Google translate is still not 100% accurate !
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Re: Croire en/au

Postby Bacon » 2013-04-06, 17:16

melski wrote:You have to use the article >> Je crois en l'ami de Jake.
Google translate is still not 100% accurate !


I understand that. Believe me, I do. It's just that, you're always taught "dans is for the article" "en if for if there is no article".

I suppose we just caught two annoying French exceptions in this thread! Yay!

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Re: Croire en/au

Postby MillMaths » 2013-04-06, 21:06

Bacon wrote:Don't you also say, "Je crois au diable"?
croire au Diable / croire en Satan
croire en Dieu / croire au Seigneur

Si l’article défini est présent, utilise à ; sinon, utilise en. Rien n’est plus simple.

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Re: Croire en/au

Postby JackFrost » 2013-04-06, 21:53

Nehushtan wrote:Si l’article défini est présent, utilise à ; sinon, utilise en. Rien n’est plus simple.

No, it's not since we just settled the issue about "je crois en l'ami de Jake". The articles don't matter since it's all about trusting in someone or something (en) and believing in the existence of something or a fictive person (à). So according to your simplistic rule, if you say, "je crois à l'ami de Jake", you're believing that Jake's friend exists, not in him.

Bacon wrote:I understand that. Believe me, I do. It's just that, you're always taught "dans is for the article" "en if for if there is no article".

I suppose we just caught two annoying French exceptions in this thread! Yay!

It's because "croire en" is a fixed construction, so it doesn't care about the general rule you just listed above.
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Re: Croire en/au

Postby Emandir » 2013-04-06, 22:10

OK. This is confusing because it's not really clear.
I think that "croire en" + article is not correct, at least wasn't in classical French (that is XVIII-XIXth centuries' one.)
Now, in modern French, you'll find "croire en le/la/les" but I think it's a confusion with "avoir foi en" (which means almost the same) but not in "established" locution like "croire au diable, à l'Esprit Saint" etc.
And I must admit that I'm always embarassed when I have to say something like "I believe in Peter's friend"...
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