It can be confusing!
Gente: people; A gente: we/us, or the people
It only means we/us if it has an "a" before "gente".
A trick to try (unless someone has a better idea) off the top of my head: when you see "a gente", see if you can use we or us as a translation (this will be the most common use of a gente), and if it makes sense, use it. If it doesn't, change it to "the people".
However, Portuguese is not like English. So, in that case the verb changes as well, it would be 'nós moramos' indeed. 'Nós mora' is incorrect. Então, would the translation 'the people' really be a mistake in this/ese particular case/s? Isn't it just a question of context ?
Yes, it is all in the context--thanks for pointing it out!
A gente quer ir ao cinema agora -- We want to go to the movies now
(Can also be said as "Nós queremos ir ao cinema agora", never as "A gente queremos ir ao cinema agora")
O que eu devo fazer com toda essa gente? -- What should I do with all those people?
(Can also be written as "O que devo fazer com todas essas pessoas" or "...todo esse povo")
Some are impossible to know out of context, like for example:
A gente quer mais pizza -- "We want more pizza" and/or "The people want more pizza"
Maybe it comes from "we the people want more pizza". I think that's a good way to think about it. That's why it can mean both unless you are specific. I can say that usually it means "we", but it is important to remember that it can mean "the people". =)
I wrote the people and it was marked wrong so is duolingo wrong? I still don't understand if it means we why it isn't moramos.
Because "a gente" is singular and conjugated the same way as "ele/ela/você". See, for example: http://www.semantica-portuguese.com/a-gente-18608/ or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnWCVZ6IN7Y.
If you say "The people live here" it is the same as saying "They live here". When you use "a gente", it means that you are part of the group, like "We live here". I hope you understand what I am trying to explain, my English is not so good...
Not necessarily. If someone makes noises, you can say to him, "Hey, calm down, the people live here!" and then you are part of the group as well.
But I wouldn't say that in English; I'd say: ‘Hey, calm down, people live here!’ (no ‘the’).
It can be used as both in Brazil. I don't believe they use it as "we" in Portugal though.
Thank you for pointing this out. My friends from the Azores remind me when I attempt an expression from Duolingo that resonates in Brazil but falls flat there. It makes it more interesting and a lot of fun. Thanks also to Duo for making this course such an enjoyable experience.
When you say "the people" (as pessoas - they) you mean a group of people not includding you. "A gente" (we) means a group that you are includded in. And when you say "A gente" you have to use the verb in the third person singular. I hope you undertand, my English is not so good... ;-)
Following the thread here, it remains unclear to me whether duolingo is incorrect in marking "the people live here" as wrong. How would you say "the people live here" in Portuguese if not "a gente mora aqui"?
The people live here = As pessoas moram aqui / O povo mora aqui Looking at Davu's and Vivasaurus' comments it seems that it is rare for people to use "A gente" as "The people" but not completely incorrect. IT seems Duo is teaching the popular meaning of the word but rejecting the literal. In another thread I saw that "a gente" can be used in a derogatory way for a group of people but I have not actually researched that one.
"a gente mora" is a simplified way to avoid the first person plural: nos moramos - used all the time.
Does the picture for "a gente" (in the bus) gives the idea of people, instead of us? (Can it be explained that it also means us. How was I supposed to know if I don't read the comment of vivisaurus?)
Is there any reason why you'd use a gente instead of nos, or are they interchangeable?
In informal speech they are interchangeable. Using "a gente" means you don't need to use the longer 1st person plural conjugations (as emeyr says). It is worth reading vivisaurus's comment that "a gente" can still mean "the people" in some contexts. I have read elsewhere that because "a gente" has such a strong connection with "we/us", the meaning "the people" must be conveyed with "as pessoas" or "o povo".
So, when using "a genre", is it correct to conjucate it as if you were using the endings for "nós" or the endings for "ele/ela/você"?