1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Ils ont un cheval."

"Ils ont un cheval."

Translation:They have a horse.

April 10, 2016

72 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lesmiserob

If I were listening to this, how would I know the difference between "Ils sont" and "Ils ont".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

ils sont un cheval = they are a horse - This does not make sense in any language.

"ils Sont" has a S sound

"ilS ont" has a Z sound


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nicola526448

It does if they are the two halves of a pantomime horse and someone is asking a third person what part they are playing ;-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yasmine322927

Its for gems like this that I come to the comment section. :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OpalTones

Lingot for the laugh, hahahahaha cough cough cough... excuse moi.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelRugaard

Sounded more as "Ils sont en cheval" to me


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Donatien803114

"Ils jouent un cheval" or "Ils sont déguisés en cheval" in that case.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Moohasha

DL continually gives us sentences that don't make sense, like "Je suis un chat". I had a hard time with this one as well. Your explanation of the S vs. Z sounds really helps.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jos388008

As a native english speaker if i was asked, maybe by a child, "Why are they eating grass?"

I would answer that child "Cause they're a horse, horses eat grass." Because if you dont know the gender of animals in the US, it is common to refer to it as IT or THEY.

So I understand the confusion here, because I thought the answer was THEY ARE A HORSE as well. The only reason I did not put it is because I expect other languages not to be as simple as we are with english. Other languages are much more eloquent with their words than English is


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

I don't think that using "they are a horse" instead of "it is a horse" is really simple.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deih580580

Ils sont = they are Ils ont = they have


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arpinsandie54

If elles ont is They've why is ils ont they have ? Confused here!! in fact I have started again from Level 13 Grateful for any help


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

ils ont = they have elles ont = they have

Also note that the 've contraction should not be used when "have" is a verb, but only when "have" is an auxiliary:

  • they have a horse
  • they've bought a horse

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CROISSANTGODDESS

I find it odd that the word "they" in French cannot be used to describe a person of unspecified gender; that even plurals and inanimate objects are gendered. What would you do if you simply didn't know the gender of someone ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

We use "ils ou elles", in plural as in singular "il ou elle" (he or she).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeterDarby4

They have a cave troll!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dvir737

What is the difference between " Ce " and " ils " ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"ce sont" can be the translation for "they are" if and only if the verb "être" is followed by a modified noun.

  • they are soldiers = ce sont des soldats.

This rule is very specific and only applies to the verb "être".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dvir737

You writed " only if the verb "être" ", and in the example you have written "ce sont " , could you please explain it to me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GyrnolSpwng

Sont is a conjugation of the verb être... je suis, tu es, il / elle / on est, nous sommes, vous êtes, ils / elles sont.

Also, in English we say wrote, not "writed".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

You suggested comparing the use of "ce" and "ils". I answered with the only case where one switches to the other ('ils' changing to 'ce').

This is not possible here, since you don't have the verb "être" but the verb "avoir":

  • "ils ont" = they have.

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/roy.leihong

Should the "ont" and the "un" be linked together in pronunciation? I think the pronunciation of Duo is very different from that of Google Translate.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"ils ont T un cheval" would be the best, but Duo's TTS is not perfect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tehreem.F.K

I dont understand why 'a' and 'ont' both mean have/has?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

If you know that "to have" can take the form of "have" or "has", you will understand that the French verb "avoir" can have various forms as well, depending on the subject.

French conjugations are much more extensive than English ones:

j'ai, tu as (informal singular "you"), il/elle/on a, nous avons, vous avez (formal singular or plural "you"), ils/elles ont.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SjRick

Why is the 'T' in ont audible here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Donatien803114

Becaues the next word (un) is begining by a vowel. It' a general rule in french with, of course, some exceptions.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/madelainedeutsch

Because the letter following it is a vowel.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Spacecandq

Ils means he and they right? So how do I know when someone is saying he and not they or vice versa.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/roy.leihong

Ils-they, il-he


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ryan711490

Whats the difference between avoir and ont? What scenario would you use a particular one?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"Avoir" is the infinitive - to have

"ont" is the conjugation for "ils/elles" in indicative present.

The full conjugation is: j'ai, tu as, il/elle/on a, nous avons, vous avez, ils/elles ont.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Philomena193576

Why is it they have got a horse and not just theu have a horse??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"They have got" is used in some places, notably in England, but "they have" is more common in American English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Suppremer

I'm having difficulties trying to differenciate Il (He) between Ils (They) i mean if you pronounce those, both sounds the same .


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/roy.leihong

You'll have to differentiate them according to the verb, e.g. ils ONT, il A. ils SONT, il EST.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tayo276006

why does he pronounce "ont un" like "ontun"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BinkyOuiOui

You pronounce the "t" and the end of "ont" when the next word begins with a vowel.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BinkyOuiOui

I should have written AT the end of "ont" (not 'and')


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jalibaby

Nous avons and ils sont? Is that right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"Nous avons" is "we have".

"Ils/Elles sont" is "they are".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JulioSeminario

The same sound: Ils sont un cheval


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

No, the sound is different: ils Zont vs ils Sont.

By the way, what would "they are a horse" mean?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/paul495788

One horse is the same as a horse, surely?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arabella210259

Yes it should be accepted


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/STARHERO208587

The question is "Is it in the back?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Autumn914038

That song has been everywhere!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PotatoMacc

The transformation of the french words in different sentence forms still confuses me up to this day.. XD


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

French verbs have extensive conjugations:

  • to have: I have, you have, he/she/it has, we have, you have, they have
  • avoir: J'ai, tu as, il/elle/on a, nous avons, vous avez, ils/elles ont.

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PotatoMacc

I'll try to remember that. Its just a bit confusing to me cause I already know 3 languages and my knowledge on those are making me question these word changes in French.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AliciaBarr900288

How do you know if to use "ont" as have or "as" as have?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thara2112

When do you use ai and ont?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SaraKate06

Ai is talking about yourself. So if you were to say "I have a horse" you would write, "J'ai une cheval." You use the word Ont if you are referring to someone else.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

J'ai un cheval (male)
J'ai une jument (female)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/barbara895733

No clear pronunciation of the s to hear the plural here. Sounds like il rather than ils.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

First, I can clearly hear the Z liaison between "ils" and "ont" [eelzon].

Then, if it were "il" the verb would be "a" [eela].


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sharvari292732

Here have also means 'a' and 'ont'. So which one to use


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/simon377229

So how do you say and pronounce ,he has a horse ,


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"Il a un cheval".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Daleswords

After the long discussion in "La longueur des bateaux est très différente," about how French treat plural possessives very differently than English speakers, doesn't this translate better to, "They have horses," or "They each have a horse.", i.e. one each? Or is there a difference and it could be either?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"Ils ont un cheval" can translate to:

  • they have a horse (they share one)
  • they (each) have a horse

"They have horses" can translate to:

  • ils/elles ont un cheval - each their own
  • ils/elles ont des chevaux - one or more each, shared or not

As you can tell, without context, there can be a degree of uncertainty or ambiguity in both languages. The main reason is that a horse is a possession that can be individual or shared.

When the thing possessed is usually not shared, you will have to remember that without context, a singular object owned by a plural subject conventionally means "each their own".

  • Les juges portent une robe noire = Judges wear black robes.
  • Elles tournent la tête = They turn their heads.

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Daleswords

Thanks again, Sitesurf. You always clarify. This one is going to take me some time to internalize. It is a fundamental difference in the way we think about plurals.

If I say, "They have a horse," in English, without context, the first impression is that there is only one horse and they are all sharing it. Any other interpretation would need context or clarification.

If you say, "Ils ont un cheval," in French without context or clarification, the first impression is that there are multiple horses and they each have one?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Context would tell, especially the number of people in "they".

If "they" are 2 individuals, the first interpretation will probably be "those two share the ownership of one horse".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JonathanM.34042

Can someone please explain to me what "Ont" in "Ils ont un cheval" means? They nvr really told the meaning. Just dropped it in there w/o ever highlighting the word. A-holes


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

This is the conjugation of the verb "avoir" (to have/possess) in present:

  • J'ai, tu as, il/elle/on a, nous avons, vous avez, ils/elles ont.

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DedenneTed

Why can't "Ils ont un cheval" be "They have one horse" and not "They have a horse"! Aren't both perfectly acceptable? Perhaps it was just a missing piece of code, but I would like to know if otherwise. Anyway, PLEASE up-vote this comment, or give me a lingot, if you don't leave any feedback


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Both "a horse" and "one horse" are accepted.

By the way, up- and down-votes have to be used with care and begging for lingots is not welcome in this community.

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.