1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "L'alcool est mauvais."

"L'alcool est mauvais."

Translation:The alcohol is bad.

January 5, 2013

65 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/roysharon3

can this also mean "alcohol is bad" in general? instead of "the alcohol is bad" where its specific to a certain drink? because when saying "les hommes" or "les femmes" it translates to just "men" and "women" in general


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NickelDoe

Yeah, as Toxic said, that is correct as well. (That's what I put, and got correct)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ahnaqsh

Yes, le/la/les can be used to refer to classes, things in general...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daKanga

Yes, I agree with you Ahnaqsh, If you want to check out more about the discussions of le / la / les, you might find it interesting to read about The great pig debate: le porc / le cochon / le sanglier , which also discusses this issue.
If you click on the light gray link above, it will take you there. To get back here, click the return button on your browser. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GetchaGrubbOn

I know that l'ecole hasn't been introduced yet but I could have sworn that's what I heard. Especially since l'alcool and mauvais don't fit together in any sentences I'd ever speak.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daKanga

Hi GetchaGrubbOn,
You might like to check out :
un alcool
une école
and this also has a sound file attached.
You might like to also check out examples of French Vowels.
There are lots of resources up on the internet - including on you tube.
I have started writing a bit - to get my head around it on: French Vowel Sounds. ( ps - it is about time for me to revisit this myself - and see if I should do some modifications on it - or refine it more - as I wrote this 7 months ago.
I hope that helps.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bennemann2

I can clearly hear the "L" sound in the first syllable, which excludes the possibility of école. You should sharpen your hearing :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cjdbass

Because school can never have a definite article?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AabLevellen

L'aLcool. L'école. First word combinations have two l sounds in the first syllable, the second has only one.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/trudy88

Why is "Alcohol is evil" incorrect?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

In English few people, if any, believe that alcohol itself is possessed by some kind of evil spirit. Saying alcohol is evil is a shorthand way of referring to its perceived impact on individuals and society. On the other hand if the only alternative is heavily polluted, disease ridden water then the alcoholic drink may be preferable.

I think you can assume that in these short sentences or phrases that Duolingo uses they are not trying to get into social commentary. They tend to start with the most common applications or the simplest just to teach.

To that end they used the phrase l'alcool est mauvais. The correct translation The alcohol is bad is what most English speakers would read into it because your phrase that alcohol is evil only works if you leave out the .


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Northernguy you are so sorted/perceptive linguistically. Do you teach professionally? Anyway.... my brother is very into special whiskey and recently showed me his prize bottle of 15 year single malt. So it was 15 years in the vat before it was bottled and cost a small fortune. Would you believe it had a Sell By date on the label????? After which date it is....what? :) JJ


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cacherecherche

outstanding salad vinegar, or possibly great for spicing up risotto!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jdiab

This is tricky because alcohol, due to its controversial nature in America especially, could be considered evil by some. However, the translation "bad" is usually used when referring to food items, which alcohol also falls under. I think this one could really go either way as well, but I hope that helps explain why the program is marking it incorrect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/F.Crawford

I know we haven't gotten to the adjective "mal" yet, but when do you use mal vs. mauvais?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chirrup

I was taught in school that 'mal' is used in the sense you might say, 'J'ai mal a la tete', or 'I have a bad head'. As far as I know, 'mal' is used as 'bad' to indicate pain or discomfort. Though please correct me if I'm wrong!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnnaBoten

I wonder if it's anything like 'bon' vs 'bien'? I am still having trouble sorting THAT out.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KatrinNissen

Mais le vin est bon


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Finbarra

The meaning for mauvais is given as 'bad' and 'evil,' yet 'alcohol is evil' is marked wrong. "Bad' is the only alternative??!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2270

"Mauvais" can be translated as "evil" in certain circumstances, usually having to do with one's thoughts or intentions. Otherwise, the standard interpretation would be "bad", "nasty", etc. When talking about "alcool", "mauvais" might be understood as "cheap" or "of poor quality".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AabLevellen

It is the more common English use, to say that the alcohol is bad rather than that it is evil.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/InDaHoood

The drink is bad, should also be accepted, and it makes more sense than "the alcohol is bad".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/artKarolina

Not really, because alcohol doesn't mean a drink. "Drink" to describe alcohol and other beverages is a colloquial use of the word in English and you can't translate "drink" back to "l'alcool".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/braulio09

boisson = drink no?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hunus

I believe drink is an alternate translation because 'drink' is a colloquialism for alcohol in English; Hey barkeep, could you grab me a drink?

But when you use 'l'alcool' you don't mean just any drink in general.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Malichabel

it is very similar to nouveau :/ but if u hear it well it does say mauvais


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eavalis

What is the feminine form of the adjective "mauvais"? :/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/youngCynthia

Why can't it translate "the drink is terrible"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Because "Mauvais" doesn't mean "Terrible".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2270

Mainly because "l'alcool" is not "drink", but "alcohol". In this context, "mauvais" can mean "cheap" or "of poor quality".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jennicus

I translated this as 'the alcohol is terrible' and it was marked as wrong! In Australia we are much more likely to say 'the alcohol is terrible', than 'the alcohol is bad'. And terrible is given as one of the meanings of mauvais by Duo Lingo, so not sure what goes on there?!?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rwosjo

Kidding aside, how would one say "The (specific) alcohol is bad" as opposed to "alcohol (in general) is bad"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AhmadGhaem

Difference between mauvais et mal?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Basically, Mauvais=Bad and Mal=Evil. There is much more to it than that of course but this will do till much later in our learning.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AhmadGhaem

Thanks. I was wondering since "mal/pas mal" seems to be a standard way to answer when somebody asks how you're doing in French. Would it be weird to say "pas mauvais"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Well, I did say that there's much more to it. I afraid I'm not educated enough to answer because it is such a whole lesson of its own. However, to invite the grammarians here to clarify, my friend Claude-Henri in Marseilles says: "Par Mal", which seems to contest my original response. Ho Hum. Grammarians to the rescue please. Anyroad, just for this stage of the course I stand by my post as written.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fattouma18

I don't know why but it didnt accept poor for bad =as in poor quality and cheap


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SaSiNO97

Finally after multiple sentences of people drinking alcohol, there is one who tells the truth. Alhamdulillah


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ComicOzzie

she said "l'ecole"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Frologics

mauvais vs nouveau. Hard to tell


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AabLevellen

The two vowel sounds are different, both au versus ou and ais versus eau: mauvais is written mɔvε and nouveau is written nuvo in the International Phonetic Alphabeth (IPA).

The best way to sort this out is to practice your listening skill, as new sounds are really difficult to distinguish as a beginner. (Well, you are no beginner when I write this, but others that come later and read this might think the same.)

You can practice your oral understanding at www.forvo.com or by listening to the phrase at google translator (only for listening - the translations are not to be trusted). To experiment with the phonetic writing you can use this page for French http://learn-foreign-language-phonetics.com/french-phonetic-transcription-converter.php?site_language=english and this page for English http://learn-foreign-language-phonetics.com/english-phonetic-transcription-converter.php?site_language=english.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/almostcin

In some countries, it is not unusual for 'homemade' / 'backyard' alcohol to be produced in large quantities and bottled into empty genuine commercial bottles. It is mainly sold in clubs and bars (not on supermaket shelves) to increase profits. It is inferior in quality and frequently toxic, making the consumer 'high' or sick instead of drunk. This alcohol is indeed -and can indeed be called -'bad', just like any food product that has gone bad and should not be consumed. If you're accustomed to drinking and you happen to order a 'bad drink' you will usually know after the first one because you will feel like you've had a bottle rather than a serving.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jags02

Should additional synonyms be acceptable here such as yuch, gross and horrible?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

There are other definitions for mauvais but none or the synonyms you suggest is among them it seems.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/koshermal

Perhaps horrible, but yuch isn't a word, and gross is colloquial.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AabLevellen

Gros/disgusting=dégoutant, horrible=terrible. Not the exact synonyms for bad.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Khaled.tolba

I wanna know the difference between mauvais and mauvaise :/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

The adjective must agree with the gender of the noun/article. So Le garcon est mauvais. La femme est mauvaise. Also; Il est mauvais... Elle est mauvaise. But remember, if the gender is uncertain or indefinite always default to masculine, in this case mauvais. Hey! The explanation yet confuses, doesn't it? Go through it a few times, make a note of it and refer to it sometimes. It WILL happen for you, rest assured.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sumac49

Is it that wrong to translate mauvais as awful???


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

@Sumac49. Well, I would call "Awful" an interpretation of "Bad" but not a translation to English of "Mauvais" simply because I don't think "awful" comes under the list of possible translations of "mauvais".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/winter.pines

I wrote "The alcohol is awful" and got it wrong. Does "mauvais" mean that the alcohol has gone bad (e.g. wine turning to vinegar) or is referring the taste? If referring to the taste, is there a different french word which would be more equivalent to awful? Thanks!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Hi Winter. "Awful" has a few translations and none of them are "Bad" Terrible. Affreux. Epouvantable are three of them. They will, in context translate to Awful.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Tell that to an alcoholic, Lubomirini. The difference between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic is an alcoholic must Never drink. Nowthen, gange?....................................... Alcohol, legal, addictive and can kill. Gange? Non addictive, has never killed anyone and is illegal? Wonderful.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/grantwinter

how is it bad it is amazing it gets me drunk


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Doesn't bear any relation at all to the task sentence Grant. It Is Amazing=C'est Incroyable. Gets me drunk (and I'm not 100% on this) is I think Ca Me Saoul (with accent on the C)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/illustrium

Je ne suis pas d'accord. L'alcool est très bon.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/comptinerose

non, il n'est pas mauvais


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Qiset1
  • 1113

Tempted to add "um ok?. A tribute to South Park.

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.