"The water is good."

Translation:L'eau est bonne.

January 18, 2013

This discussion is locked.


OK, so who decided that water is a ... girl. Bonne not bon. got it.


I can think of a crude answer, but i might get blocked or banned.


N'importe quoi !!!! :(


I just took an intro to romance languages class, it's actually a fascinating explanation if you like linguistics!


Would you mind explaining then? :)


The work eau is from Middle French eau, eaue, which in turn is from Old French ewe, euwe, egua (“water”), and in turn from Latin aqua (“water”), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ekʷeh₂ (“water, flowing water”).

Every instance of those words is feminine, so the femininity of water has a long lineage.

There does exist another ancient word, wédōr ("water") whose gender is neutral, (wédōr comes to English via proto-Germanic), in Latin *wédōr appears as unda ("a wave") and in the romance languages it appears as

French: onde Spanish: onda Italian: onda

In Proto-language, *wódr̥ is a neuter noun but after it became Latin it gender-switched to feminine.

I also think it appears in Russian as vodka but don't quote me :D


wodka is from diminutive of woda, Polish for 'water'. Wiktionary gives this etymology for woda: "From Proto-Slavic voda, from Proto-Balto-Slavic wondōr, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *wódr̥."

(and yes, 'water' is fem. in both Polish and Russian.)


and in hebrew, it's neither... it is simply always plural... funny...


It is interesting that in Spanish "Agua" is in male gender.


It's actually not. Spanish doesn't collapse 'la' into words that start with vowels the way French and Italian do; instead, they change the article entirely.

"The feminine noun agua is like other feminine nouns starting with a stressed a sound in that it takes the definite article el (normally reserved for masculine nouns) in the singular when there is no intervening adjective--el agua. However, if an adjective intervenes between the article and the noun, the article reverts to la." Wiktionary


What's the difference between "bon" and "bien"? I translated it as "L'eau est bien"....


I think it's the difference between "good" and "well." You would say the water is good, but it doesn't really make sense to say the water is well.


What if it is well water?


Got it! Thanks!


Thanks, I made the same error.....certainly clears things up a bit for me. Bien = Well


I keep thinking things are male by default.


My best guess is that words that end in 'e' (but not 're') are feminine, and the rest are masculine, but there are always exceptions; of which duo never teaches us about.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.


Where can one find a "list" of what are female and what are male? Also, if you were to say that the water AND the bread are good, would that be male? Here I thought English had tricky rules to remember for people just learning that language!


Gender -> This is a good start: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/genderpatterns.htm or if you like statistics: http://www.fourmilab.ch/francais/gender.html

Plural -> If you have a group of nouns with female and male gender you use the male plural. The female plural is only used when there are only females in this group and no males. In your example you would use the male plural: L'eau et le pain sont bons. (f+m=m.pl) male plural: Le café et le repas sont bons. (m+m=m.pl) female plural: La pomme et la banane sont bonnes. (f+f=f.pl)


I think it's honestly harder to learn vocabulary gender that way, speaking from my experience with spanish and portuguese - It's honestly easier to just memorize their gender as they come up in different lessons because there's really no rule for which are which. Just a suggestion! :)


would it be wrong to use "c'est" instead of est?


Yes it would, because the "c" in "c'est" stands for "it", so by using "l'eau c'est bonne" one would be saying "the water it is good" which is of course not correct


Bon, bonne, or bien, ah. OK got it.


'Bon' and 'bonne' are adjectives (m & f respectively), derived from Latin "bonus" (good). 'Bien' is an adverb, derived from Latin "bene" (well).


I thought water was masculine. Isn't that why it is l'eau (le eau)?


I thought it was masculine as well but no, it is l'eau (la eau)


If the word starts with a vowel, then it's always l' Try it for yourself!!


Can we say "L'eau va!" for "The water is good"?


No. 'Va' comes from aller which means 'to go'. The phrase 'ça va' can be translated as "I'm doing well" etc. but the 'ça va' litterally means 'it goes'.


If water is "l'eau" then isn't it masculine? And if masculine why bonne, and not bon?


look above in the comments - someone already answered that question 0:)


Dont we only abbreviate the masculine article "le"? L'homme, L'elephant, L'oiseau

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