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  5. "Il nous offre un café."

"Il nous offre un café."

Translation:He is buying us a cup of coffee.

January 2, 2013



So if I understand the options for "offre" correctly, you can tell whether he is giving you a coffee, buying you a coffee or offering you a coffee! Must make going to the cafe very confusing.


Sorry, I should have written "can't tell" not "can"


But if you are at the cafe... aren't all those three things effectively the same?


Not quite.

Suppose you decline the offer, and he doesn't buy the coffee after all.


Exactly. If I am offered a coffee, then I reasonably assume that I still have the option to accept or decline. If somebody offers me a coffee, then goes and buys it without waiting for my answer, it would feel really strange.


I thought 'to buy' was 'acheter'!


Yes, I would like to know the correct distinction between acheter and offrir.

Google translate: "Offrir ou acheter" -> "Provide or purchase".


As I understand it, in french you would never be so rude as to say, "Je vous achète un café." The idea of "buying" something for another is a little insulting. But if someone says, "Je vous offre un café ?" they are offering (to buy) you a cup of coffee. To which you may say, "Merci, vous êtes très gentil." But one would not use "acheter" in reference to the situation.


It's a good explanation. However, I'm not sure if we should stick to literal translation or we should go further and translate "offrir un café" to "buy a coffee". Even if we want to consider the cultural difference it's ok to translate "buying a coffee" to "offrir un café" not the other way around. In this lesson we have a similar situation about the verb "mentir" which is not accepted as "to tell a lie" because it's literal translation is "lying".


this is an excellent answer and is very similar in greek and to those f us of a certain age in english as well


Thank you. I wondered what the difference was between the two. Apparently, no small distinction.


From an answer on another thread which I can't find now (I think by Sitesurf) I believe that while both can mean "buy", offrir has connotations of giving or offering wheras acheter is more about money, and that using "acheter" to offer to buy someone something is therefore a bit awkward and direct.


'Buys us a coffee' . . . shouldn't 'buys us coffee' work?


I think it has to be "a coffee" since it says "un café".


Yeah, but I've seen other questions in Duolingo that accepts without the 'a', and even sometime gives the answer without the 'a'. Saying that though, I always play safe now and include it!


I agree. I don't think I've ever heard an english speaker say "He's buying a coffee," for instance, and if I heard "He's buying coffee" I would assume he's buying just one cup.

Although, if I heard "He's buying us coffee," I WOULD assume he was buying us each a cup, but largely because it would be odd for him to buy a group of multiple people just one coffee. Which is to say, I don't think you're ever likely to encounter this sentence in the real world.


Being an English speaker I have to disagree with your first sentence. You will commonly hear people saying "Oh, he's out buying a coffee" or "Are you going to buy me a coffee, then?". If you said "He's out buying coffee", it would be assumed he was buying, as you said, brewed coffee for the whole group or, possibly, buying dry coffee from the supermarket. However, within the context of going into a cafe, "Are you going to buy me coffee?" is perfectly acceptable, the open-ended nature of the number of cups making the invitation seem less time-limited.


I am an English speaker and I say ' I am buying a coffee', 'he is buying a coffee'.


It's actually more common for someone (American) to go to Starbucks and say "I'm going to buy a coffee" if you said "I'm going to buy coffee" the assumption would be that you were getting a bag of coffee grinds or more than one coffee.


I live in America, am 55, own a business and buy a lot of coffee. I do not recall ever hearing anyone saying they were buying "A" coffee. It has always been just coffee. If you address a group and say you are buying coffee, they will know it means coffee for all. But I would never go to Starbucks, and neither do my kind of people since the CEO said our kind was not welcome there. It is only since the advent of the trendy crowd buying $3 and $4 "coffee" at places like Starbucs that people have started saying "a" coffee.


I had to Google it... I gather "your kind of people" are gun owners - since the Starbucks CEO said guns were not welcome there. (...you could leave the gun behind, you know; then you'd be welcome there. They used to do that in old West saloons, right? just ribbing you) It's funny, because "my kind" of people also refrain from patronizing Starbucks: my kind is leftist progressives who dislike how big and corporate it is. How do they make any money with both sides avoiding them?


From the audio, should "ils ... offrent ..." be accepted? (It isn't currently)


This is my question too. I believe that "they" could offer to buy us a coffee and don't this there would be any difference in pronunciation.


My dictionary doesn't list "buy" as a translation for offrir. Are you sure it's correct?


It is more used in the sense of buying something as a gift. It's not used that way when it's just buying it for yourself.


So the context would be "He offers (to buy) us a coffee."


Is this sentence as strange as it sounds, in that he is only buying one cup of coffee for all of us?


In reality, it would not be understood that way. Despite the singularity of the grammar, it would be obvious that there would be one for each person.


My question is how can you tell the he is singular instead of plural because both he and offers (buys) sound the same when recited?


In many cases you wouldn't be able to tell, but here there would be a liaison between "offrent" and "un" so that you'd hear the t sound.


What word refers to cup?


"Un café" refers to a (cup of) coffee.


I am pretty sure 'is buying' is 'acheté' and 'offre' is 'is giving'.... I got it right because I checked but I don't know why they wouldn't say ' Il nous acheté un café'


It is only the cultural issue that if you want to say "buy someone a coffee" in France, we will use "offrir" instead of "acheter".


Even though offer is the wrong form in English, it seems misleading to have that as an answer when offers would work.


why would "Il nous offre un café." would not translate as "he offers us coffee"??


It's only that "un café" refers to a (cup of) coffee. "He offers us coffee" is an accepted answer, but in English we generally say "buy you a coffee", not "offer you a coffee". It's not a huge deal but we're here to learn what these terms refer to in French.


What about when you attend a business meeting and you are offered coffee? how would you say that in French?


It does not change the French (the verb "offrir" is used). IN ENGLISH, the implication is that out on the street, one person is going to buy a cup of coffee for someone else. In the context of a meeting or in your home, you are not "buying" anything, but "offering" it. The context influences the English, not the French. If you're still wondering about "un café", just know that it refers to "a (cup of) coffee". So in a business meeting or in your home, you could say to another, "Je vous offre un café ?" = May I offer you a (cup of) coffee?. The point is that you do not use "acheter" in French for this, no matter where you are.


to buy means acheter and to offer mean offrir. I think : He offers us a cup of coffee is better.


It is not better but it is more literal. In English, we would not generally say "offer someone a coffee" in this context but "buy someone a coffee". In French, however, we use the verb "offrir" rather than "acheter" for this purpose. If you're in your own home, you may absolutely "offer" someone a cup of coffee. But when you are visiting a coffee shop, using "offrir" refers to the idea of buying it for the other person. It's not considered polite to talk about who pays.


You are not buying coffee when you offerbit at home...?


Isn´t a coffee grammatically incorrect ? I thought that coffee is uncountable.


It's short for "a cup of coffee", which makes it countable.


"he offers us some coffee' seems like better English than the translation I was shown 'He offer us a coffee.' but it was rejected


And just to throw another English option in there "can I 'get' you a coffee"... General use :-

  1. "Can I buy you a coffee" = when payment is required.

  2. "Can I offer you a coffee" = Polite, more likely to be used at home /work / or heard from restaurant staff.... Think of it as from a 'host' who has the coffee, to a guest /customer.

  3. "Can I 'get' you a coffee' = can be used in all of these contexts and would imply "I'm buying" where payment is required. (Unless they were the restaurant /shop staff obviously)

Ps. Not suggesting this is a translation for the French in the question, just offering info.


I am confused..my answer was "He offered us coffee" obviously it was wrong, my Duolingo says the answer is "He gives us coffee" and here at the top the answer is different. It makes no sense and some comments here are helpful and others are so off topic.


Oh my... You're so wrong with this! I am working with french people for a decade now and when it comes to this, they are either "offering me a coffee" or "inviting me for a coffee", they never buy a cup of coffee (and bring it to me), as how this sounds!


This sentence sounds (sorry) very illigical for me. He offers/buys (whatever) us - PLURAL a cup -SINGULAR of coffee. So what is being offered is a cup of coffee with 5 straws or what?


This drove me nuts for a while. It turns out that it's implied that they get one each.

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