How are you to tell that the subject is plural here? Is it because there's a /t/ sound in "sortent"? Would the /t/ be silent in "sort"?
In the challenge where we ask you to translate this sentence, you can tell that this is plural, since "ils" and "sortent" are 3rd person plural.
In the challenge where we ask you to listen to this sentence and type it in French, you can tell that this is plural, because "sortent" (3rd person plural) is pronounced differently from "sort" (3rd person singular).
You can practice with those links:
In natural American English, "dinner" is usually omitted. "What are you guys doing?" "We're going out to eat."
In French, "dîner" implies "in the evening/at night", that is why "we are going out to eat" is not accepted, because the latter sentence can mean in the morning, for lunch or in the evening.
I'd like to point out that in (British) English, dinner can be either in the evening or at midday. According to my dictionary, in many French speaking countries and in several parts of France dîner can also refer to the lunchtime meal.
I realise that this is a difficult issue of when the translations need to be either more precise or more natural... The problem is that the user has no way of knowing which one Duo wants e.g. when to type "the female cat is eating," rather than the (much more natural/likely) phrase "the cat is eating).
Either way DuoLingo is a fantastic resource, so many thanks to all involved.
That doesn't mean it shouldn't be accepted though. A French person might say in English "We're going out to eat", even when she is referring to dinner. Does that mean she is wrong?
An extreme example would be to think that Eskimos have a dozen different words for different kinds of snow. Is it wrong therefore to translate all of those words, in English, as simply "snow"?
But we're talking about cultural context here—in (Western) American English you wouldn't say "We're going out to eat dinner." It's not incorrect, but it's not natural (and would mark you as a non-native). You'd say, at dinner time, "we're going out to eat." That MEANS "we're going out to eat dinner". If it is the evening, "we're going out to eat" CANNOT mean "we're going out to eat breakfast".
Again, this is an issue of cultural context and appropriateness.
If you are telling someone in the morning that you are going out to eat at one point during the day, it would absolutely be appropriate to specify which meal you are going out for.. You would simply say that "we are going out for dinner/ lunch/ breakfast", which is an accepted translation. In France, "dîner" is a verb that implies a night-time meal, the same way as "déjeuner" is a verb that implies a day-time meal. I think that the sentence employs "dîner" for that exact reason -- to teach us about those issues of "cultural context and appropriateness" that you mentioned.
After all, we are here to learn French.. :)
And I do not think that saying: "We are going out to eat dinner" is unnatural at all. I doubted myself for a second there, but then said it out loud and it sounds completely valid, if maybe a little too proper.
Evidently, that "exception" is also the rule in Nord, pretty much the entire South of France, Belgium, and Switzerland. I would not be surprised if in some areas near dialectal borders, like Limosges, the term could mean either "go out to eat dinner" or "go out to eat lunch"—in other words, "go out to eat".
But what part of the US are you from, Sashee? Here (in the NorCal dialectal region), we wouldn't say "We're going out to eat dinner" earlier in the day—it would sound exceedingly stiff (thus non-native). We'd say "We're going out tonight.", or "we're going out to eat tonight" (to specify we'll be having dinner, instead of, say, going to a movie). Now, there is a different expression we'd use here that would also work: "We're going out for dinner." (Note the absence of "to eat" in this phrase.)
Just to clarify, I said in France before regarding the meaning of "dîner", because I am pretty sure that in Canada it implies lunch-time..
"What are you doing tonight?"... "We're going out to eat dinner." -- Perfectly normal sentence in American English. Yes, it's very common to leave out "dinner" based on context, but I would not agree that it's "unnatural".
Both are correct, but "Ils sortent dîner" sounds more idiomatic and is more frequent than "Ils sortent pour dîner".
How can I say that "they left the dinner". Like they were eating and then they leave?
Scroll down for the sentences at this site. https://dictionary.reverso.net/english-french/They+left+the+dinner
My thought when I saw this sentence was that they were eating dinner and then left dinner to do something else. Without an "a" it seems rather ambiguous, you Duo said I was wrong.
That was my idea too. I put 'they leave dinner' but it is the opposite.
Well, it is tricky because you don’t mean “leave dinner out for someone”, but actually to leave from the place where dinner is being held. In French that would be “partir de” or if you mean that you leave during dinner before it was done, than you could use “quitter”.
You could try reporting and give your general location for dialect reason, but they also have « Sortir pour dîner »
They are specifying that they are going out to eat dinner as opposed to lunch or breakfast.
When you say “dine out”, are you specifically meaning to “go out to eat dinner”? Or could it simply mean “eat out”, because then something is lost in the translation?
« Il sort » sounds similar, but the final ‘t’ is not pronounced in the singular and « Ils sortent » will pronounce that first ‘t’. So, you can tell plural for this verb, but there are other verbs that don’t have a difference in sound from singular to plural. In those cases, Duolingo usually accepts both as correct when the words are not spelled out in the Listen to Spanish and write it down in Spanish exercise. In some cases, the homonyms need to be reported to allow both to be accepted for that exercise.
"There are going out to eat" seems like a perfectly good translation. The alternative "They are going out to dine" is not something that (at least in my experience) a native English speaking would say.
“There” is probably a typo? “They are going out to eat dinner.” is also accepted as correct. Somehow they want you to specify dinner.