The difference between French and English can be summed up in the difference between the English word therefore, and its French cousin donc.
Think about these words in purely aesthetic terms. Therefore makes me think of possibilities and conclusive arguments. Donc makes me think of what happens to that silly Wild E. Coyote after he’s clonked on the head by a small rock that indicates the large anvil is about to drop.
Side note: Although its wonderful to learn and think in another language, I have definitely had my “gulp, help!” moments.
The word donc is frequently used in Paris. The movie ends after midnight, donc we will eat beforehand. Even though there is no one in the café, this side is reserved for eating lunch, donc you must move three tables over. It is Sunday, donc the supermarket is closed (although the beautiful outdoor food markets, marchés, remain open on Sundays). I suppose the word donc makes me think of “duh.” Duh. Of course this side of the café is reserved for déjeuner.
Therefore is much more suggestive. English is less straight forward than French. In English I would probably put the suggestion before the cause. “Lets eat dinner before the movie because it doesn’t get out until midnight.” The suggestion comes first, then the problem.
Perhaps its a bit American to hide the problem in the solution. Health care bill, anyone?