The comma just makes the horse seem a sad figure, like he would usually drink with his mate, but since the wagon accident and funeral...
But seriously, the commas do, I've noticed, crop up in odd places on Duo. Is that just me?
In English there would be no comma before "alone" unless it was being specifically emphasized.
Is there a translation with "seul" but without negation?
E.g.: Le cheval boit seul de l'eau?
There is no negation here, but "le cheval boit seul de l'eau" is grammatically correct.
could I understand your suggestion in the English translation like this: the horse does not drink anything else but water ?
My previous post was a translation for "the horse only drinks water", as a response to Anyabones.
The French sentence given for translation "Le cheval boit l'eau, seul" has "seul" describing the horse, not the water.
l'eau = la eau = the water = that water right there
de l'eau = de la eau = of the water = some water
l'eau = la eau = water in general, all the water in the world, the idea of water, all examples of water
La/le/les is a dual purpose article in French. It can mean either the very specific or the very general depending on context.
So the sentence "Le cheval boit l'eau, seul" could not mean "The horse drinks water, alone", right? I mean, if it was to drink "water", and not "the water", it would have to drink some water, not "all the water in the world" or "the idea of water". Therefore, "The horse drinks water, alone" has to be "Le cheval boit de l'eau, seul". Am I correct? Or just overthinking this? Thank you for your answer, northernguy!
You are correct.
de l'eau is taken as some water. English speakers drop the some a lot of the time
One problem is that difference between French and English. English speakers routinely drop the article and let the listener/reader figure out whether it was some or all.
I like music leaves unstated whether it is all music, all examples of music, all the music ever made, or just some music which quite likely will exclude much of the music made in the history of the world by all its varied cultures.
But the French don't leave out the article. It is the speaker/writer that has to figure out if he means the particular, the general or some. He can't just brush aside the difference because it seems like most of the time it doesn't matter much either way. The article is required so he has to choose the correct one.
Thank you very much, northernguy! I guess I understand it much better now. See you!
but for most of the other phrases we were not marked wrong for dropping 'the' - why here do they insist on us including 'the'?
l'eau = the water
de l'eau = some water
For more information, see answers to your question already posted on this thread.
Can someone please tell me the difference between seul and seule ? Thanks in advance :)
"seul" is masculine: un cheval seul ; "seule" is feminine: une vache seule
le cheval = masculine
itself = neuter
seul = alone = no gender assigned.
If you are going to use your preferred construction instead of alone,, you have to use the masculine form himself. The problem with doing that is using the masculine form in English suggests that you know that the horse is male.
It makes sense to change the French masculine to English neuter to avoid confusion but it isn't an accurate translation of the French. In those cases where an alternative, more accurate translation is available it is best to use that one.
I tried, "The horse is drinking water, by himself." Because naturally I imagined this sentence alludes to "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."
In addition, "l'eau" is "the water", not "water" which would be "de l'eau".
To me, in this sentence, “alone” is an adverb, and I suppose the translation would be “seulement”. However natives here explain it refers to the horse, not to the activity of drinking, thus is an adjective. Well, maybe, but how do I know?
"Seul(e)" is an adjective (alone), not an adverb. It may also be used as a noun, but it is adjective in this sentence.
How does one get back to the previous question after accidentally tripping the "comments" ❤❤❤❤❤ trap? Attempts are futile....
Why not the horse drinks water alone? Usually the simple present is accepted and Duo does not require the present progressive.
The problem with your answer is you left out a word.
The horse drinks the water alone. Talking about that water that we know about places it in the present in our conversation. Your sentence says that when the horse drinks water, it is alone. It is not at all what the French sentence says and places its actions outside the present tense.
The is in the French sentence and Duo wants to see it in the English translation.
Thanks, the article seemed completely unessential but I note the difference in meaning. Merci.
The lone horse drinks water. is a better English translation and means pretty much the same. I thought the object of this website was to translate a 'foreign' language into our own.
The purpose is to translate into English, which happens to be your own language. There are plenty of learners here who are not Anglophones.
However, I believe there is a nuance, that you may have grasped, since you say "pretty much the same".
The nuance is as follows: "le cheval seul boit l'eau" is the translation of what you suggest. It means (in both languages) that the "lonely horse" is drinking.
On the other hand, "le cheval boit l'eau, seul" = "the horse drinks the water, alone" means that the horse just happens to be alone at the time it is drinking.
the correct translation sounds like something no one would ever use outside the classroom. should "le cheval seul boit l'eau" be included in the system too, then? just to learn the contrast
Actually Duo does provide examples where seul is used to mean alone or lonely depending on the placement, as you suggest.
However, they don't use cheval in those other examples.
If we put in man, and tonic (as opposed to gin and tonic) would the grammar be the same, please? Obviously the variables would have already been mentioned as possibilities). On a totally different note, do the French consume Gin. It is a bit like Marmite, as we say.