"Les femmes nous écrivent des lettres."

Translation:The women are writing letters to us.

January 21, 2013

31 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/nbzain

How do we decide where "nous" goes in the sentence. In English, since "us" comes at the end, I would naturally look for French version to have it a somewhere near the end. Is there any rule on how we decide this? How about "Les femmes écrivent nous des lettres" - The women are writing us some letters.

March 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/margaritaguese
  • 23
  • 22
  • 18
  • 11
  • 10

nbzain, there is something called object pronouns that other languages use that I can explain to help you understand this sentence structure. I learned Spanish first, so that's where I got this knowledge, but it's the same in french. In spanish, the indirect object Nos means "to us". If I want to say the same sentence as this french one, I would say: "Las mujeres NOS ESCRIBEN las cartas". The same thing is happening here but if I literally translate the part in caps lock, it's "to us they write". In french, it's the same. The indirect object comes before the verb so for any action, it's going to be backwards. "to me they told" or "to him they passed" when you see the word order like this. I think most languages do this except English, so it's a little hard to get used to at first, but it helps to read the whole sentence before trying to translate something, so you can realize when they've thrown in one of these object pronouns. Hope that helps - let me know if I can explain more clearly!

May 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/K333222

I'm sorry but this has nothing to do with the "reflexive verbs" whatsoever. Reflexive verbs are those ones for which the subject and the object are one and the same grammatical person, which obviously is not the case here. In reflexive verbs, subject does an action to himself/herself/itself, so to speak. An example of a reflexive verb would be "s'aimer" = "to love oneself".

"Nous" is here an "indirect object pronoun". Indirect objects are nouns or pronouns in a sentence to or for whom/what the action of the verb occurs. Indirect object pronouns are placed before the verbs in French, as you have mentioned yourself. So, in this exercise we have:

Les femmes --> subject

écrivent --> verb

des lettres --> direct object

nous --> indirect object (but placed before the verb here, because that's the way it goes for object pronouns in French)

June 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/margaritaguese
  • 23
  • 22
  • 18
  • 11
  • 10

You are absolutely right! I meant object pronouns then *** :D haha The comparision example is the same though - people who are new to this object pronoun phenomenon can benefit from the knowledge that nous escrivent means they write to us, is all I meant to share here :) Thanks!

June 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mmarkey

I have to say your explanation would be a lot better for those of us learning french, if you stuck to french and didn't bring spanish into it.

June 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Wunel

To clarify for others in future who may share your difficulty understanding the example (myself included), the reason it is "Les femmes nous" is because when you are dealing with activities between 2 groups you introduce the subjects first, then move on to the action/s.

July 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/TaraUnscripted

This one is confusing me as well. What is the rule for writing two pronouns next to each other?

May 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/margaritaguese
  • 23
  • 22
  • 18
  • 11
  • 10

Check my explanation below and let me know if you have more questions :)

May 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/colt00

In fact, just when you use pronoun, you have to put it before the verb. for example: nous, tu, il before the verb to show 'to us, you, him". but if you want to say' to the man, to the boy', you cannot put them before the verb, just put them behind the verb, like in English. so if you want to say: the women are writing letter to the man. it is : les femmes ecrivent l'homme des lettres.

December 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/wilderplain

Is there a page somewhere that explains the grammar in the case of when "he does this for me" or "they are doing something to us"? I wouldn't have picked where 'nous' goes in this sentence.

March 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/pachamami

Well, you wrote this question some time ago so you've probably figured this out by now but just in case someone else is reading ... I've been referred to the French About.com page from this site a few times & it's helpful. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/objectpronouns_2.htm Good luck!

July 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/margaritaguese
  • 23
  • 22
  • 18
  • 11
  • 10

Hey wilderplain - in languages other than English, when they are doing something to him, to her, to me, to us or etc., the indirect object (in this case nous) goes before the verb, as a general rule. So like nous escrivent, er I am just recently studying French so I can't give you more French examples but in Spanish it's the same and it would be ME DIJERON (they told me) TE DIERON (they gave you) NOS DIJERON (they told us) etc. It's the same idea in French. Hope that helps!

May 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/4BOSS

I LOST BY A GLICTH

November 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Erin335

LOL

November 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/phlancelot

How does the "des" make this possessive? (if that is the right grammatical term)

How would you just say - "The women are writing some letters"

January 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/bucko
  • 25
  • 22
  • 13

The 'nous' in this sentence adds 'to us' in the English translation, if that's what you mean by possessive? "Des" here is the plural indefinite article discussed here http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/de-vs-du-de-la-des_2.htm . The English sentences "The women are writing letters" and "The women are writing some letters" have the same French translation as the 'des' is obligatory.

The women are writing [some] letters to us = Les femmes nous écrivent des lettres. The women are writing [some] letters = Les femmes écrivent des lettres.

January 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/phlancelot

ahhh that makes sense - I dont know why but my brain totally glanced over the "nous" in the sentence

merci beaucoup!

January 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Iamaweirdo

Keep it simple guys.

August 29, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/desrain

if it said vous instead of nous would it be the women write you letters?

January 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Wunel

Correct you are.

January 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/monoglot86
  • 22
  • 15
  • 10
  • 6

Could we use 'on' instead of 'nous' here?

August 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Erin335

Doesn't 'femmes' also mean ladies??

November 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/wizadofiz
  • 25
  • 25
  • 24
  • 23
  • 6
  • 1020

The women write letters to us? Not accepted?

May 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Roshni171

How would you say "The women are writing letters for us", meaning writing on our behalf?

July 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/monoglot86
  • 22
  • 15
  • 10
  • 6

Les femmes écrivent des lettres pour nous

July 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Roshni171

Merci pour votre réponse.

July 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/alaisL
  • 15
  • 5
  • 2

Why is "The women writes us letters" wrong?

October 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/georgeoftruth
Mod
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 24
  • 15
  • 14
  • 7
  • 1926

"Women" is plural, so you say "write" without the S.

October 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DeWayne119635

Why is it 'to us' and not 'for us'

November 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TommyGroovy

If this is "Women write us letters" how would you properly translate "We write women letters"?

December 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/georgeoftruth
Mod
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 24
  • 15
  • 14
  • 7
  • 1926
  • We write women letters = Nous écrivons des lettres aux femmes.
December 3, 2018
Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.