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"Do you eat fish?"

Translation:Manges-tu des poissons ?

January 15, 2013



Is "du" "de le"? When should we say "mange de" , and when should we say "mange" only? Thanks!


Don't think of "mange du" as being one thing. "Mange" is just a verb. "Du" is an article (partitive) that modifies the noun "poisson". Any time you use a noun in French, you need to put an article in front of it. You just need to choose between the different options, based on the context.

But to answer your second question, when there's no object (i.e. when the verb is intransitive), you can say "mange" only. For instance, "je mange" ("I eat"). There's no "du" because there's no object.


I put 'manges-tu des poissons' and got it right.


When asking a question, which form is more common? "Manges-tu" or "Tu manges?"


The latter and in 2nd rank: "est-ce que tu manges ?".

The formal "manges-tu ?" is mainly used in writing.


What about mangez-vous? I wrote that and it accepted it, but is it uncommon?


it's not uncommon, but it implies something slightly different. vous can be singular or plural, but when you use it as a singular it's considered more respectful. so "mangez-vous" is just the more respectful version of "manges-tu"


Yes, "du" is a shortening of "de le"; "de la" and "de l' " are not shortened.

I'm not sure about the answer on your second question. I generally understand "de" to mean "of" in English.

"mange" is the present tense for I and he/she/it, translated into English as [I/he/she/it] eats (present simple) or [I/he/she/it] is eating (present progressive). French doesn't really have a progressive tense as far as I'm aware, thus states everything in the present simple. English 500 years ago also didn't have this progressive tense (whither goest thou)


And German, related to English, is only now getting a similar form:

Ich bin am Arbeiten — I am at-the working (note that working acts as a noun)


Why is "Manges-tu les poissons?" wrong? As I understand it we use le/la/les to refer to something is general?


the meaning is "you eat some fish", which translates in the partitive "du" poisson (which is singular in French, not collective).


But in the question it does not say some fish, it says "Do you eat fish?" suggesting that it is a question of whether you eat fish in general, not do you eat some fish. How can it be du in this case instead of les?


'Les' translates to a plural of 'the': 'les filles' becomes 'the girls' and 'les garcons' becomes 'the boys', so, 'les poissons' becomes 'the fish'. The question is not "Do you eat THE fish?", it's "Do you eat fish?". The word 'les' refers to a specific item, 'de' and 'du' are used more generally.

Ex. 'Le fromage' is 'the cheese', but 'du fromage' is just 'cheese'


Then, why you have to say "le poisson" and not "du poisson"? "le" translates as "the"


Not sure what you mean. "Du" is the correct particle in this sentence, not "le".


I asked because "le" was the correct answer according to Duolingo... Thanks


there's object here so you need to relate your verb to it. and "du" equals to "de+le". (Any time you use a noun in French, you need to put an article in front of it)


Isn't "Avez vous mangez poisson?" the same? I got it wrong because I thought "avez vous" means "have you" but also means "do you"


"vous mangez" is the simple present tense (no auxiliary)

"vous avez mangé" is the compound past tense, formed with auxiliary "avoir", conjugated to agree with "vous" + past participle "mangé" which is invariable.

You cannot use "poisson" by itself, it needs an article:

If the English is "the fish", you translate to "le poisson";

"the fishes" = "les poissons"

"to eat fish" = "manger du poisson"; this is the partitive article meaning "some fish", formed with preposition "de" + definite article "le" (poisson is masculine), and "de+le" is contacted to "du".

"to eat soup" = "manger de la soupe" (soupe is feminine)

"to eat one fish" = "manger un poisson"

"to eat fish(es)" = "manger des poissons" (des is the plural of un/une)


Since 'poisson' in french is uncountable. Just like you never see 'des laits'.


I agree. That was my interpretation of the sentence. J'aime le chocolat = I like chocolate.


In English, fish is both singular and plural. "Fish" is a collective noun- most unusual to say "fishes"!! In a restaurant, you never say, of say sardines, "I'll have the fishes".


Just so you know (some people may not know that), "Tu manges du poisson?" and "Vous mangez du poisson?" are also right.

I mean, in French you don't have to put the verb in front of the pronoun when asking a question, unless you are in a situation of much formality


I said "vous mangez du poisson?", and it marked me correct. What do you think? And how do we decide to use vous vs tu? And does the word order matter here? (ie "mangez vous" vs "vous mangez")


As you know, whereas English has only "you", French has the familiar "tu" for family, friends, colleagues, etc. and "vous" which is the single respectful equivalent of "tu" (ie one person) you use with people you don't now or in formal context (your boss, a policeman, etc.) and again "vous" to talk to several persons.

So, when the English is "do you eat fish?" you can translate to "tu" or "vous"

Now, when it comes to interrogative sentences, French has 3 constructions, going from very formal to standard to relaxed/oral.

  • manges-tu ? or mangez-vous ? are formal, to be used in writing

  • est-ce que tu manges ? or est-ce que vous mangez ? are standard and correspond exactly to "do you eat?"

  • tu manges ? or vous mangez ? are informal, for day to day conversations: the form is that of a statement (no inversion, no interrogative word), only a question mark is added at the end, when your voice raises on the last syllable.


Very helpful! Thanks!


I don't know what the difference between mange, manges,mangez, mangent, mangeon, etc. is. Do y'all have any tips on remembering them as well? I'm miffed.


How did you get to this level then?! :-P


in French (as well as many other languages, like my native Czech) verbs change based on the person they refer to. So 'eat' is different after I and different after you. In French you always apparently have to still say I and you and he (Je, tu, il) but in many other languages you can often skip the pronoun and just say the verb, because the verb in that particular form only refers to me or you or him or us... Nevertheless in French it is: Je mange tu manges il mange nous mangeons vous mangez ils mangent

the only similar thing in english is the third person: He/she eatS


I highly recommend Michel Thomas's French program... it helped me tremendously with understanding verbs.


whats the difference in meaning between Manges-tu du poisson? and Manges-tu des poissons?

Does the first one mean Do you eat fish? as in the context: - "I prefer not to eat meat like pork or beef" - "Do you eat fish or are you a vegan?"

Does the second one mean eating fish as in the context: - "I ate fishes with fries" - "You mean those little fried fishes - anchovies?"


The difference is in the size of the fish.

"Du poisson" will mean "(some) some salmon" for example

"Des poissons" will mean "(some) sardines" for example.


Thank you so much!


Why is it 'Tu manges DES poissons' but 'Tu aimes LES poissons'?


Poisson can be countable or uncountable.

1) "tu manges des poissons": this is the plural of "tu manges un poisson" (remember that in English, article "a" has no plural form).

2) "tu aimes les poissons": verb "aimer" suggests a generality (I like ... in general), to be constructed with definite articles le, la or les.

In this case, it is not about liking fish as food but liking fish as animals.

If "le poisson" was used in singular, it would be about liking fish as food: "tu aimes LE poisson".


I don't recall them presenting us with the sentence structure of a question. Why do they spring things on us they've not yet taught? It happens a bit.


The answer to your question is in post nb32 on this page.


I don't understand why is it "mangez-vous le poison" and "manges-tu du poisson"?


"du poisson" is fish in general. "le poisson" is definite: this one, on the table, right now.


Also correct "Mangez-vous des poisson."


Manges-tu des poissons is also correct?


If you ask someone "do you eat fish?" like "do you eat meat?" (= animal proteins) , you would not use plural "poissons", but "du poisson", like "de la viande".

But if you see someone with plenty of tiny fishes on his/her plate, you can indeed as the question you propose.


Where is the "Do" in the french translation? All you say is "You eat fish".


English questions are built with verb "do".

French questions are different:

  • formal = inversion verb-subject pronoun = "manges-tu du poisson ?"

  • standard = use of an interrogative expression = "est-ce que tu manges du poisson ?"

  • informal / relaxed = built as a statement but with a question mark at the end and voice raising on the last syllable: "tu manges du poisson ?"


Thank you so much! I've seen your other replies and you're really helpful, thanks. :)


Lol I put vous mangez du poisson, and got it right!


Hi, I used <mangez vous le poisson> and it was marked right. However, no one seems to think it's correct. As I understand from the discussion <du poisson> means 'some fish' and <le poisson> refers to the collective concrete noun i.e. 'fish'.

So my question is . . . do <mangez vous du poisson> and <mangez vous le poisson> mean the same thing? Or do they have different meanings, and what are they?


mangez-vous du poisson ? is a question about your habits (do you eat fish?) or about what you are doing at this very moment (are you eating fish?)

mangez-vous le poisson ? can only be about a specific fish (do you eat the fish?) , the one I served you, the one you bought this morning, the one we talked about earlier.

If that fish is a sardine (une sardine), it is also quite normal to call it "the fish/le poisson" referring to one whole animal.

If fish is meant as "several fishes", but still described as "fish", there will be an ambiguity to translate "fish" into either "du poisson" or "des poissons". The debate is still open...


Thank you sitesurf for your reply, I appreciate it. I am struggling with this, purely because of something from an earlier lesson. If I were to say j'aime le poisson, would that mean that I liked a specific known/previously mentioned fish, or would it mean that I liked fish in general? However if I said j'aime du poisson, would that then mean that I liked fish in general or would it mean that I liked some fish? If it is the case that with j'aime . . . I use "le" but I use "du" with Mangez-vous . . . then what is the rule?

Do you see where my confusion is coming from (perhaps I have misunderstood the use of collective nouns in French completely)?


Ahh. I had a thought. Is there a difference between the English usage of collective nouns and the French. i.e. 'Fish' in English means the category of fish. So I can say, 'I like fish', and 'Do you eat fish?' and I am using the collective in both instances. Whereas in French it means 'all fish'. So when I say, <j'aime le poisson> it means I like all fish i.e. any fish will do from all of them, BUT I cannot say, <Mangez-vous le poisson>, meaning the category, as one cannot eat 'all fish'. However, I can say <Mangez-vous du poisson> as I then mean a feasibly edible portion of fish. Am I correct or have I just wandered off the reservation?


The devil is in the details, in this case: in the verb

  • manger le poisson (specific)

  • manger du poisson (a piece of)

  • aimer le poisson (generality) : all appreciation verbs (aimer, détester, préférer, haïr, apprécier, adorer) are naturally constructed with definite articles le, le or les, whether or not the noun is countable or uncountable, singular or plural.

In other words, you won't say "j'aime du poisson, but "j'aime manger du poisson"

  • j'aime le poisson (with a drop of lemon juice on top)

  • j'aime les poissons (as species, in the sea or in an aquarium)


Thank you so much. That's really cleared that up for me. So much for trying to be clever. It's interesting that duolingo introduces this subtlety so early on, but I suppose it must be raised somewhere and they have already covered collective nouns. Thanks again, I'm very grateful.


I agree, these subtleties are tough but they are very usual in day-to-day life, so you have to learn them early. And thanks for the lingot!


I got it with "Vous mangez des poissons" I'm going to assume one if more formal when addressing a boss?


Yes, or just addressing two or more people, since "vous" is also plural.


Is "manges-toi du poisson" incorrect?


"Manges-tu du poisson" should have been correct. I'm not sure if duolingo would have accepted it, since we're in a Plural lesson and I think it was expecting "Manges-tu des poissons"


"manges-toi du poisson" would translate roughly to "eat yourself some fish." Kinda weird. When you say manges-toi you are saying it like a command. "Toi" is a direct object, "tu" is the subject.


is "faire tu manges des poissons" not right?


"faire" is not used to ask questions in French as "do" is.

to ask a question in French, 3 solutions:

  • formal: manges-tu du poisson ? - with inversion Verb-Subject pronoun and a hyphen

  • standard: est-ce que tu manges du poisson ? - [est-ce que] is an interrogative word, followed by the question constructed as a statement

  • relaxed/oral: tu manges du poisson ? - only the question mark at the end indicates that it is a question and in oral, your voice has to rise at the end.

About "des poissons": in English "fish" means "des poissons", but if you refer to "fish in general", you have to use the partitive "du" (= preposition "de" + definite article "le", contracted in "du").


Why 'Tu manges de poisson?' is wrong?


because you need an article and "de" is only a preposition.

to make it work, you should use "du" which is the contractiof preposition "de" and article "le" (masculine singular)


Doesn't "le" before a noun mean "in general"? As in "do you like fish" as opposed to "do you like salmon"


Yes, definite articles are used for generalities (les chats voient dans le noir = cats can see in the dark).

And with appreciation verbs (aimer, adorer, préférer, détester, haïr, apprécier), the sentence is automatically considered as a "generality", therefore the object is introduced by articles le, la or les.

Do you like fish, salmon, music, strawberries = "Aimes-tu le poisson, le saumon, la musique, les fraises ?"


When did Duo ever teach us to use Mangez?


Just now. Congratulations!

When Duo presents a new verb for you to learn, it expects you to show some initiative to look up all conjugations of that verb. There have been copious examples using different conjugations of the verb "manger".


How do I know when to say "Tu manges" or "Manges-tu"? Is there a more appropriate situation to use one over the other?


"tu manges" is a statement: you eat

"manges-tu ?" is a formal question: do you eat?


Why do i need the article des?


When asking "do you eat fish" that person is referring to fish in plural. As if referring to every fish in the sea.


Is it right? "Vous mangez du poisson ?"


how do you make things bold print


How on earth am I to learn words if when a click them Coz I'm not sure something else comes up??? So I write 'faire vous mangent poissons' manges-tu is new to me and didn't show when I needed the help. Since I've only been tested on 'do you' once?? a while ago??


Why is the 'tu' necessary. Doesn't manges already imply 'tu'? In Italian we typically drop the pronoun unless making emphasis. I thought it would work the same in French.


... and it does not. Pronouns are required everywhere, except in imperative, of course.


I put 'voulez-vous mangez du poisson?' and got it wrong... is the 'voulez' redundant?


voulez-vous manger du poisson ? = do you want to eat fish?


I wrote "Est-ce que tu manges des poisson?" and it says this sentence is wrong. Why?


des poissons


It would be helpful to have a segment on questions before mixing them in


Once again I forgot the article. X(


I am totally confused if Mangez vous du poisons or Manges tu des poisson, which one is correct? (When I select Mangez vous du poisons, was wrong)


Please don't repeat your questions. Answers will not come faster.

  • du poisson is singular

  • des poissons is plural

In French un/le poisson - des/les poissons is a countable noun.

Depending on the size of the fish, either you eat a piece of fish = some fish = du poisson or you eat one or several poissons (fish/fishes).

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