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How do you know if it supposed to mean I am eating rice or I eat rice? In one possible translation you are actively doing something and in the other you are not.
In French, there is no continuous tense (we will always say: "Je mange", either it is in general, or in a definite moment).
So, if the meaning of the sentence is "in general", then use the English present simple, for ex: "(In general) I eat rice."
If the meaning of the sentence is "in a definite moment", then use the English present continuous, for ex: "(Now) I am eating rice."
I think of it as phrase that both explains the action (as in you telling your mouth "Eat Rice!") and describes it (as in, "[my mouth] is eating rice")
"du" is an partitive article, and is a contraction of "de + le".
It can be translated into:
"Je mange du pain" :
"I am eating bread" (No article in English)
"I am eating some bread"
"I am eating some of the bread" (as: "part of the")
"Je mange du riz." can translate to:
- "I am eating rice." or
- I am eating some rice."
It can both include "some" or not depending upon the situation. Since duolingo isn't asking for certain situations both answers are correct but if it's not then report it. Also, there are times that you have to put an article whatsoever into a sentence even though it's not needed because the tense isn't complete if you do not include it and will lead into grammatical errors.