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I don't know if this will help anyone, but, I take notes on every word that I learn, writing down if it is either feminine, or masculine, and how Duolingo says to use it.
If I could, I would give you lingots for that (unfortunately, my version of the program does not have that feature).
Edit: I have got lingots now...
Okay, is it une because it's about the woman eating or is the noun feminine? How do I know when a noun is masculine or feminine?
It is "une" because the noun "orange" is feminine. A lot of figuring it out is pure memorization, but there are some rules to help you figure it out. This website has some good indicators: http://www.french-linguistics.co.uk/grammar/le_or_la_in_french.shtml or you can grab a set of Bescherelles to really get a handle on French grammar.
A noun is a word that represents a person, place, or thing, whether concrete (e.g., chair, dog) or abstract (idea, happiness). In French, all nouns have a gender - they are either masculine or feminine. The gender of some nouns makes sense (homme [man] is masculine, femme [woman] is feminine) but others don't: the words personne [person] and victime [victim] are always feminine, even when the person or victim is a man.
It is very important to learn a noun's gender along with the noun itself because articles, adjectives, some pronouns, and some verbs have to agree with nouns; that is, they change depending on the gender of the noun they modify.
There is no easy way to determine the gender of every noun, and you have to remember the gender with each word. But a number of patterns in suffixes and word endings are helpful: some tend to indicate masculine or feminine nouns (be careful with the exceptions).
Please have a look at this comment on noun genders in French:
It's pretty weird when you're used to English, but languages with masculine/feminine nouns come to memorization. There are some suffixes that are typically feminine or masculine, but there are even exceptions to those.
I used manges not mange. Why is it that La femme manges une orange is not correct?
French verbs are conjugated with different endings according to the subject: je mange, tu manges, il/elle/on mange, nous mangeons, vous (polite+plural) mangez, ils/elles mangent.
I would think it important that starting off in a new language that lessons in conjugation would be important at the very beginning. Too much is being left to 'guessing'. Would you happen to know why Duolingo doesn't take us through verbs/nouns/gender/conjugation? (Btw, thank you ever so much for your 'explanations', really appreciate some of the history you throw in there too - i.e. derivation of words from Latin, for example!)
"Orange" in French is much like English - it can mean the fruit, or the colour.
I wrote " the woman eats an orange." but the translation is "the woman is eating an orange." However the french word for "is", is not in the sentence.
The reason is that the continuous present "is eating" does not exist as a verbal form in French. so either you use the simple present: la femme mange; or you use the following formula: la femme est en train de manger.
I wrote: the woman ate an orange。Can't this sentence describe what had happened?Then how to describe things just happened? than you
"la femme vient de manger une orange": near past, equivalent to "the woman just ate an orange".
The French have at least three past tenses that I can think of. The most common, used for the general past is passé composé, which would translate as "la femme a mangé une orange".
This sentence was written in present tense - this is the simplest conjugation, and is used for things happening now - I eat and orange "je mange une orange", as well as things that are constant. For example, if I eat and orange every morning I might say: every morning, I eat an orange "chaque matin, je mange une orange".
Is there a way to learn to conjugate verbs at once on this site? I feel I would learn much better if I saw all together: I eat, she eats, they eat...etc...advice?
There are conjugation forms for each verb. When you want to know how to conjugate a verb, hover your mouse over it: click on the "conjugate " option, and you'll get a conjugation table.
Please also have a look at this comment on verb conjugations in French:
As you will soon realize, there is no grammar, syntax, conjugation or other recap lesson on this site.
i get confused , i dont know when i need to use , L´ o LE , and also with , mange and manges.
definite articles "le" and "la" are elided (vowel replaced by an apostrophe to ease pronounciation) in front of a vowel or non aspirate H: la pomme (fem), l'orange (fem), l'huile (fem) - le pain (masc), l'ananas (pineapple / masc), l'homme (masc).
when it comes to verbs, they are conjugated, ie their ending change according to the subject:
je mange, tu manges, il/elle/on mange, nous mangeons, vous mangez (polite singular and plural), ils/elles mangent.
Is it possible to write "La femme est mange une orange", or is the "est" unnecessary? Is there a functional difference between "is eating" and "eats"?
No you cannot use "est mange" (= is eat).
The reason is that the continuous present "is eating" does not exist as a verbal form in French. So either you use the simple present: "la femme mange"; or you use the following formula: "la femme est en train de manger".