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If the sentence were "Je préfère le pain au chocolat", how would you tell whether it means "I prefer the chocolate croissant" or "I prefer bread over chocolate"? Just context?
no, because it would mean that you eat both rice and bread, which is not intended here: it is about one OR the other.
Right, and "I prefer rice WITH bread" translates to "Je préfère le riz avec du pain."
I found her difficult to hear clearly. I listened about 15 times before I figured it was 'riz' and 'pain'.
"au" is the contraction of "à-le", singular (masc) ; "aux" is the contraction of "à-les" plural (fem and masc)
and like you said below, for the case of singular feminine it's "à la" and doesn't get contracted, right?
Right, "à la" is not contracted.
But "à la" , like "de la" can be elided (drop the vowel and replace it by an apostrophe) when the feminine noun starts with a vowel or a non aspirate H:
... à l'eau (fem)
... à l'huile (fem)
Unfortunately that is not the way the French say it. Verb "préférer" is constructed with preposition "à", not "sur".
aimer, adorer, détester, haïr, préférer, apprécier are appreciation verbs. They all introduce their object with a definite article:
j'aime le pain, j'adore les croissants (masc), je déteste la viande, je préfère le poisson...
It is getting quite difficult to tell when I'm hearing "au" or "ou". Is there some slight difference in enunciation that someone can point out? Otherwise, I really can't tell from Duo's recording, I'm sorry to say.
"au" sounds like "o" in "hello"
"ou" sounds like "ue" in "blue"
In French 'pain au chocolat' means bread with chocolate or chocolate bread then why not rice with bread for le riz au pain...confusing
You are right. Besides, the meal "riz au pain" does not exist, so it is another hint that shows that the sentence is about the fact that you prefer something to/over something else.
It needs an article and it has one: au is the contraction of à+le
with a feminine noun: "il préfère le riz à la soupe"
not English native speaker, please can someone tell me if I can use " i rather rice than bread"?
No you cannot say "I rather rice than bread".
You could say something like:
- "I would rather eat rice than bread.", which means: "J'aime mieux manger du riz que du pain." or "Je préfère manger du riz plutôt que du pain."
- "I think that rice is better than bread.", which means: "Je pense que le riz est meilleur que le pain."