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  5. "Les hommes seuls boivent."

"Les hommes seuls boivent."

Translation:The men who are alone drink.

January 16, 2013



'seuls' here is 'lonely'? Can this also mean 'the men drink alone'?


Let me go through a few different examples and their meaning; if there is one I missed, just ask and I'll add it:

  • Les hommes seuls boivent, the original sentence. Out of context, it means Men who are alone drink. Les hommes seuls may mean single men, though les hommes célibataires would be more explicit. I'm not sure I like lonely as a translation for seul, here, as lonely is an emotion, while seul is not. Lonely is best translated as se sentir seul, to feel alone, in fact — the closest adjective we have is esseulé, but it can also mean casted out, forsaken. Finally, lonely has a sad connotation to me, hence I would not use solitaire to translate it, out of ambiguity, but it could fit. Now you may interpret seuls as only, which brings us to the second sentence.
  • Seuls les hommes boivent, Only men drink. If you do interpret seuls as only in the original sentence, then this sentence is to be preferred. It means unambiguously that only men drink.
  • Seulement les hommes boivent, Only men drink. With the adverbial form, it is even clearer.
  • Les hommes boivent seulement, Men only drink. This is valid, but one would rather say Les hommes ne font que boire, Men do nothing but drink.
  • Seuls, les hommes boivent, Alone, men drink. Now watch out for that vicious comma. Seul, only, has to be followed by some noun; seul, alone, has not. Hence if seul is, well, alone, then it is to be translated alone.
  • Les hommes boivent seuls, Men drink alone. No ambiguity, everything is clear.
  • Les hommes boivent, seuls, Men drink, alone. Isolated seul? Then it is alone.

A side note on the main problem: yes Les hommes seuls boivent can mean only men drink. But you'd know it not with the context but with the way it is said; there would be a strong emphasis on seuls. Again, Seuls les hommes boivent is to be preferred, but for style, one may use Les hommes SEULS boivent.

Sur ce, ça m'a donné soif, On that note, this made me thirsty. HTH!


TYSM for the effort you put into explaining this translation so clearly and thoroughly! So glad I didn't have to go far to find it.


thanx for sentences


That's just not clear to me. Why isnt "men are drinking alone" correct?


That'd be Les hommes boivent seuls. In Duo's sentence, seuls is an adjective of hommes, while here it'd be used as an adverb.


Thank you. It's starting to make sense. I think the issue is that the app is all test; no teaching.


So, technically, "only men drink", or even "only the men are drinking" should perhaps be accepted as an answer?


I'd not add them, even though they are "technically" correct, because it is not what should be understood at first from this sentence. But this is a personal opinion. :-)


I totaly agree avec toi


Thanks for your thorough help!!


Thank you for giving dis detailed explanation....please continue sharing like dis....it would save so much efforts for learners like me.

Merci beaucoup


cadilhac, could one also use 'les hommes seuls' as alternative for fr. 'célebataires', or how would one say 'the single men' in French?


Good point; I added that to my original reply. When the gender is established, les célibataires works best. Et pour ce qui est des hommes… Les célibataires boivent seuls, et ceux en couple arrêtent de boire, As for men… Those who are single drink alone, and those in a relationship stop drinking.


OK, so noted. And thank you ever so much for all your + + helpful input re this particular thread, cadilhac.


"Men who are alone drink", is it correct??


This is literally the first option in the post you are replying to.


I wrote "The men are only drinking". Could you tell me why that is wrong and what would be the correct French translation for this?


I might be wrong, but I think that would be "Les hommes boivent seuls"


I gave the answer 'the men drink alone' but the result was - wrong answer. I don't really understand why!


The men who are alone drink- it has no meaning in english how men can be drink :/ I think it must be the men drinks alone- smthng like that


"The men who are alone drink" makes perfect sense in English.


Thats what i thought


Tried that .. and considered wrong... it should have been accepted :(


I'm with you on this. In fact there was another question in which I had to translate the men drink alone, and I wrote this french translation (Les homes seals boivent.) and I got it right. I tried to send feedback, but they haven't replied.


This is too funny. Made me laugh.


Is there not a separate french word for 'lonely' rather than using the word 'alone' (seul)?


Good question. Duolingo wants us to translate from French to English as part of their business model. There is a big difference between alone and lonely . It would not necessarily be apparent in the context of some statements. I wonder which is the more common usage.


i think in this case... the seemingly direct translation... men alone drink...is an oxymoron. alone means singular men is plural....un homme seul... would this also indicate the man is single? as in not married?


Yes, "un homme seul" can mean "a single man".


In another question, it said to translate 'they read alone'. I put 'ils lisent seuls'. It was marked correct. Therefore, when this came, placing the 'seuls' before the verb 'boivent' I took that to mean that ONLY the men drank. Why did the 'seuls' come before the verb in this instance. Help, please.


Seuls les hommes boivent = Only the men drink; Les hommes seuls boivent = Lonely men drink; Les hommes boivent seuls = The men alone


Seuls les hommes seuls boivent seuls - Only the lonely men drink alone?


wait, so what is the answer to this ? Les hommes seuls boivent. i put: the men drink alone (which was marked as correct) but you said it is 'Lonely men drink' ?


I put "Lonely men drink" and got it right. :/


I would suggest that "The lone men drink" is added to accepted answers


Yeah. Based on cadilhac's explanation above, it would even seem like "Lone" or "Single" should replace "Lonely" in the primary translation at the top of the page since seul refers to being physically alone as opposed to feeling emotionally bothered by ones being alone.

Moreover, as ThanKwee mentioned above, when seul comes after homme instead of before the noun, it's an expression that specifically means "single man" (as in relationship status). This reinforces the idea that the men in "les hommes seuls boivent" are single men, or lone men who aren't part of a couple. They are not necessarily emotionally lonely men.

If it weren't for the drinking, I don't even see why "lonely men." would be a correct translation at all of "les hommes seuls." Even in the context of the sentence, I could just as easily interpret it as an expression about rowdy single men drinking because they don't have a partner to keep them in line, as opposed to drinking because they are lonely.


Uhm why does it not accept "the lone men are drinking?"


I'd like to know too. Can't 'les hommes seuls' means the men who are alone/ by themselves?


Why isnt The men are drinking alone. Accepted


That got dark fast.


Lonely men drink. (I wonder whether 'lonely' is adverb or adjectiv?)


it is an adjective as explained above


Omg,Whattttttt??????? "Seul" comes after the noun???!! I had an example like this before, the "seul" wroted as one of the "bags" adjectives in french,exactly right before the noun,but here it's after the noun.there,i read the comment,but no one said to report it to duo,so every one accepted it. In that example it meant "only" .does the meaning of the adjective effect the situation they lay in?!! So if not,why did it come after the noun,here ,but,there,came before the noun????


Yes, ImanRashid1, the placement of seuls before/after the noun does change its meaning.

It confused me too, at first, when I noticed that in a different question "seul" was used to mean "only" and came before the noun, but it made more sense after reading the discussions. The explanation in that question's discussion was that "only" was a reference to number and thus in the N category of BANGS. When not used in this way, seul can go in different places. When I looked up seul in an online dictionary, it said that when seul comes AFTER homme instead of before, it's an expression that means "single man" (as in relationship status), and ThanKwee's comment above confirms this. (Further be aware that Duolingo has some questions where seul comes after a verb. In these cases it's an adverb that means "[doing action] alone", although as ThanKwee pointed out, seul used like this is a grammatical exception and needs to match the noun like an adjective instead of behaving like a normal adverb.)

  • (Adjective before noun): les seuls hommes = the only men

  • (Adjective after noun): les hommes seuls = the single men*

  • (Adverb after verb): les hommes boivent seuls = the men drink alone

*Yes, I know that Duolingo translates it as "lonely men" but I think it's more of a figurative interpretation based on the fact that they're single and also drinking.

Also, note that this doesn't necessarily follow the usual rule of thumb for adjectives that can come both before and after the noun. Duolingo's notes in the adjectives section say that usually when an adjective can come both before and after the noun, before indicates a figurative meaning while after indicates a literal meaning.


Very helpful.thank you so much.wish luck for you


"The lone men are drinking" - why not?


I wrote " the men drink alone" but was marked incorrect. It translated as " the men who are alone drink". How do I know the difference between the 'alone' referring to the men (subject) imstead of this adjective describing the verb?


Why isn't "The men drink alone" accepted for this? I'm a little lost on what this sentence is trying to convey, since the English translation isn't particularly natural.


I am awesome Plz leave a like


Ok im starting to understand. I said "the men drink alone", which was wrong BECAUSE "seuls" is the adjective for "homme" NOT for "boivent". So, the men are being described as lonely/alone and not their drinking habits. The placement of the adjective is crucial as it only applies to the word imediately before it


why it cant be "the men only drink" here? thanks for replying


Cadilhac went to a lot of trouble to explain in detail up above. I recommend that you read what he explained.


Why seuls? hommes ends with "es" shouldn't it match? Seules ??


Hommes = homme + s. Homme is masculine, and so takes the masculine form for the adjective.


i said "The men alone drink" but it's wrong... They have the same meaning though...


It means The men drink alone


Why is it not "Des hommes seuls boivent"?

It feels to me like "Les hommes seuls boivent" should translate to "The lonely men drink" whereas the "des" version would mean the more general "Lonely men drink".


If des is the indefinite article, then why isn't this Des hommes seuls boivent. Shouldn't the translation be The lonely men drink?


I put "the men drink alone" and it was correct, how does it mean the same as, " lonely men drink?"


why not "men alone drink" - just as good as the official one!


So which is it? The men drink alone. or The lonely men drink. ?

Because it says both are correct, but I'm pretty sure they don't mean the same thing in English.


how do you know when to use seuls, seules, etc?


Hm I thought being alone and being lonely were different?


"the lonely men are drinking" is correct :)


I got this right but why do we not include "the": The lonely men drink. It says just" lonely men drink", even though there is Les. Can someone explain?


could it not be " the men drink alone"? or would seuls and boivent have to be switched? or would that even make sense


Silly sentence, i nearly $hit myself of laughing


Yes, we do doulingo. Yes, we do.


Lonely men drink is NOT same as men drink alone yet duo gives the former as an alternative solution Why?


seuls =/= lonely.


I was asked to choose a missing word 'seules'


Can it also be 'The men drink by themselves"?


shouldnt this translate to the men drink alone???


The men drink by themselves. Why isn't this correct?


it should be "the men drink alone." it's funny when the sentence is translate that way!


Why is it not: the men drink alone?

[deactivated user]

    Would it be wrong to translate this as 'the men drink alone'?


    Yes, it would be wrong. "The men drink alone" = "Les hommes boivent seuls'". Please read the excellent detailed explanation by Cadilhac.


    The speech recognition on this is way better than the one on Rosetta Stone. I cant believe i spent 500 bucks on that load of crap


    i am in french and that is wrong. #raging #abouttokillcomputer


    i am in french and that is wrong. #raging #abouttokillcomputer


    'The men drink alone' should be accepted here as well.


    No it shouldnt because "alone" is the adjective for the men, it is not describing their drinking behaviour :)


    The men drink alone was wrong? Blah


    I said that the Men are drinking alone. I shall forever struggle:)


    I write alone men but..


    Shouldn't be: "The men drink alone" ?


    Too early in program to put more difficult sentence in for translation.


    Too early in program to put more difficult sentence in for translation.


    when writing 'the men drink on their own' -is a good translation and it doesn't count as a correct answer which should be fixed. it's not fair for people who understand the sentence and write it correctly as such to fail a simple task like this for this particular reason.


    Doesn't this mean "the men are drinking alone"


    Lonely men drink or the men who are alone drink. There is a difference. Witch one is correct?


    Thanks for the explanation...


    I wrote :The men drink alone. Why is that wrong?


    Duolingo translates the sentence literally, so when the adjective follows "men" (as it does in this case) it is describing the men as being alone/lonely. If the adjective was at the end of the sentence (after "drink") your answer would have been correct. So, "the alone men drink" insted of "the men drink alone". Hope that helps :)


    Ridiculous sentence


    "Are alone drink"?!?! What's this? ?


    There are so many extra words in this sentence correction that it would be very hard for a beginner to catch it. It seems like a more simple translation would fit better such as "the men drink alone."


    Why isnt it the lone men drink?


    Why can it not be the the men drink alone?


    "The men drink alone" is surely the same as "the men who are alone drink" Need to add that rather neater and more usual English phrasing as a correct alternative.


    "The men drink alone"?


    The sentence doesn't mention "who" in it. Wouldn't there be the french word "qui" in it if that were the case?


    Total b.s i know i put that word there duolingo is playing me


    how come 'the lonely men drinks' is incorrect?


    "Drinks" shouldn't be plural because "men" is already plural. That sentence would be incorrect in English for the same reason


    thank you for the clarification


    I answered with "Men drink lonely". Is it not correct?


    Can ANYONE help me to leave this discussion? I have tried all sources at Duolingo and none work??


    Whats wrong with men who drink alone?


    I think "the men drink alone" would be a correct answer too. I may be wrong though


    it should be the men drink alone


    Couldn't this also translate to "the men drink alone" ?


    What's thd difference between: The men drink alone and the Men are drinking alone?


    The french translation of this sentence does not make sense. In English the sentence would read The men drink alone or The men are drinking alone. "Les hommes seuls boivent" reads The men drink alone.


    I answered "the men drink alone" which I think is technically correct. Why is it not correct?


    I put "only men drink" I thought that seuls when used ith a plural meant "ONLY" I do not understand at all how it translates to the English sentence they have


    the lone men? no?


    the lone men? no?


    okay umm, the men who alone drink sounds weird wouldn't it be the men drink alone ?


    There should be a coma here just to make it easier to understand.


    I don't think they drank that much.


    100% of people got this wrong.


    Okay i guess im not the only one to say "the men drink alone" and i read through the other responses and still have no idea if this is correct outside of duolingo


    i put the men drinks alone . why is it incorrect?


    Hum, Can't it mean the men drink alone? Or am I being too loosey goosey about it?


    I don't see where "are" enters this picture. My English speaking mind sees "The men alone drink." Or I could also see, "The men drink alone." I just don't see, "The men who are alone drink." And I did read a few comments but I still don't get it.


    Why couldn't the answer translate to 'the men drink alone'


    I answered with 'the men drink alone' and this was incorrect, why?


    why can't it be 'the men drink alone'?


    Why is "the men drink alone" wrong? The meaning is the same.


    This question has been asked multiple times. The answer has been given multiple times. The most detailed and upvoted is on top. Please read first.

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