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  5. "It is pure sugar."

"It is pure sugar."

Translation:C'est du pur sucre.

January 22, 2013



Pur sucre....mmmmmm that is some pure sugar. Subjective

Sucre pur.....This has been certified to be pure sugar. Objective

Grand homme....great man. figurative

Homme grand....tall man. literal

How do we know which meaning applies? Because the position of the adjective tells us which meaning is intended. Subjective/ figurative adjectives go before the noun. Objective/ literal adjectives go after.

You can see that the intended meaning of an adjective changes by virtue of it's position. You can put good or old etc. either in front or after the noun depending on what you want to say.


Excellent Northernguy! This is new information for me and very helpful. Thanks.


Sitesurf responded to me, on anther thread, that only about ten per cent of French adjectives can be treated this way.


It should be noted that grand often comes before the noun even when the speaker means big, anyway.


You are correct. First a person learns the grammar rules etc. and then realizes that half the time it seems like people don't pay full attention to them when they talk. If you go to English grammar pages on the web you will find giant arguments raging about proper usage between individuals who have obviously spent a lot of time studying the issue.

I use a Chrome browser function to randomly translate English words to display French on web pages that I visit. Even I can see that their French is a little off from the original intent sometimes.


what is this browser function? I wantz it!



If you are using a Chrome browser, you can download a plugin that runs off Google Translate. It replaces content on web pages with words from any language you choose.

Its called Language Immersion. You can toggle it on and off as you wish on the fly. You can adjust the level of difficulty which is basically the percentage of words that appear in your target language. The substituted words are highlighted so you can mouse click each word back to English if you choose.

I use it for pages with content dealing with complex subjects that I know something about. Doing so lets me read complicated material with half the page in French, but do so naturally.

As I mentioned in the previous post, it is Google Translate based so even I can see it makes mistakes.

The downside is you have to use Google Chrome browser which I thoroughly dislike but that's just how it is. In my case, I only use the Chrome browser when I want to use the Language Immersion app.



I now have another reason to use Chrome. A new (to me) app available only on Chrome is Duolingo Notes. It works specifically with Duolingo.

I know it's tough to follow these posts because they are showing up out of sequence. The posts used to have a time stamp on them which lasted a long time but now the stamps disappear after a week or so. Makes it difficult to follow some threads.


Firefox has something called Mingaling that says it does the same thing. I am going to try it as I am a Firefox user for certain tasks.



Duolingo's Notes advantage over a spread sheet is that one click sends the question, Duo's answer/s and your answer to an ideal presentation app. Plus there is an additional field for user comments on each example.

The app stores the data chronologically but searches by letter. Inserting a letter into the search instantly discards any entry without the letter/s from the search, progressing until the user reaches only relevant examples.

The app runs in the browser so the icon is carried in the toolbar for instant access. Right clicking on the Duo continue button on each example does the save. Left clicking on the toolbar icon brings up the stored data.


That's cool NorthernGuy. I guess the name is self-descriptive. I keep all of my DL sessions in a structured spreadsheet for ease of reference and recording notes -- mine and others. Sounds like this tool will do some of that. I will have to check it out. Also, the s/s allows me to feed the French into Google/Translate so I can hear a much better rendering of spoken French.


JazzyFrench Thx for the link.

Had a look at mingaling. Very labor intensive. User has to create their own library. Does not automatically adjust for gender, number, tense and case.

I'm not sure if it can be made to adjust but if so it requires entering every alternative to the root word manually. Thus a thousand word library would require not only the thousand clicks to build the basic vocab but, assuming it is smart enough to handle it, also requires typing in the multiple spellings required. That would add up to several thousand user entries.

Eg: I clicked on you and accepted the offered alternative vous. Every instance of you on that page was translated as vous, but not tu, te, t', ....

I didn't try to find out if I could teach it how to select the appropriate person and number form to use for you. I could see that it would be far too much work (for me) to apply to any reasonable size vocab, if it is even possible.

Google's Language Immersion has the library with applicable usage already built and the power to apply it reasonably well. You just have to use the Chrome browser to be able to get it.



I load my browser with dozens of apps many of which are only available with Firefox. One that is very useful for me is Too Many Tabs. Apparently, it can be loaded into Chrome but I couldn't get it to install with just about any of its features working which is pretty well a deal breaker for me.

Chrome is an even bigger memory hog than Firefox. I understand the notion that their business model involves everything being stored on their servers, with the user's desktop so uncluttered that it hardly even exists.

Even so, this user likes to have everything at my finger tips, with a hundred of more tabs readily available at any moment. This conflicts with Chrome's basic philosophy.

I find it offensive that Google would release a browser full of memory leaks because they don't think it will be a problem for their users.


Many thanks NorthernGuy for this comprehensive review. I won't bother with it and will go straight to Chrome's Language Immersion. I use different browsers for different things according to their perceived strengths and weakness. Currently, I am doing Firefox for language training. I wish Language Immersion would be available for it.

BTW: What is it about Chrome that doesn't fit the bill for you?


This is the first explanation of that to finally make sense to me!


yes, why "du" required for "sucre" but not "eau" in a previous question?


Sucre requires an article. Either du = de le which is usually translated as some, or le = the.

In English, if we were referring to a particular type of pure sugar such as pure berry sugar, pure bakers special sugar, pure turbinado sugar etc. then we would we use the sugar. There is nothing to indicate that it in this sentence is referring to a particular one of the many types of pure sugar.

If we are referring to an unspecified type of pure sugar then English speakers say it is pure sugar. This is because English speakers routinely omit articles if they are not needed for clarity which in this case they are not.

However the article can't be dropped in French. Therefore the proper article has to be selected. Since we don't seem to be talking about a particular type of pure sugar but rather an unspecified type of pure sugar we use the indefinite du.

Someone might say ...but I didn't know there were different types of pure sugar so how could I get it right... My answer is ...if you are using le/ the then it seems you are saying that you do know that there is only one type of pure sugar and it is right there for us to talk about..

Pure doesn't make sugar any more specific than blue car requires the blue cars as opposed to some blue cars.


Here we're dealing with a 'partitive article' "de" meaning "some of". In this sentence, anglophone instinct would be to write 'C'est "de le" pur sucre.' BUT in french "de le" is contracted to "du". ... And "de les" to "des". (Similarly, "à le" becomes "au" and "à les" contracts to "aux".)

The four forms of the French partitive article are: DU: masculine singular. DE LA: feminine singular. DE L': masc. or fem. in front of a vowel or h muet. DES: masc. or fem. plural,

Source: French class. But also see here: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/articles_4.htm

For more info check out: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/articles.htm http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/preposition_a.htm


In this context, on a former question "the poor men drink soup", the answer was "le soupe" and not "de soupe" - So, how is "soup" different than "sugar" ?


le soupe would be incorrect as soupe is feminine.


@Northernguy think the confusion is not about having an article, it's about whether to use the partitive article versus the definite article in an indefinite/general sense.


The example given on this page is to translate English to French.

The English example doesn't include an article. Since French requires one, you have to choose which would be the correct article in the English sentence if one were included. Having done that, you then translate it into French.

There are two possible ways for Duo to be wrong as some posters are claiming. One is that Duo doesn't know the proper articles to use to translate English articles into French. The other is that Duo is using the wrong English articles to start with.

There is no need to be concerned about French partitive, definite or indefinite articles. What we have to do with this exercise is translate English. If the English sentence means some sugar, we translate it to du sucre. If the English sentence means the sugar, we translate it to le sucre. That's all there is to it.

If someone doesn't like the look of the French result it's because they don't like the translators choice for the missing article in the English sentence. If we accept that le means the and du means some in the French sentence, then any argument is about what the English sentence says.

If the English sentence means the sugar, then it is le sucre. There is no doubt. If the English sentence means some sugar, then it is du sucre. If someone doesn't like the French choice or they find it confusing, it is the English that they have to deal with.

The only concern we have with the French article is that it agree with the noun in terms of number and gender. But whether it is du or le is a function of choosing the missing article in the English sentence and then simply translating . There is no need for discussing whether it should be le or du. There obviously is a need for discussing whether the missing article should be the or some. But that's English, not French.


Not sure. I was also confused about that question. I agree with you and think the sentence should be "de la soupe". I can only see an argument for "la soupe" if the writer meant to state a fact (which in obviously unreasonable - not all men drink soup if they are poor).

DuoLingo is amazing but sadly, it does contain mistakes here and there. Perhaps someone simply missed "de" when they programmed that question. We need a French expert to give us a verdict.


@Northernguy You know, instead of a long reply clarifying whether my concern with the nuances of French articles was outside the bounds of the problem (i.e. whether what I stated was relevant), you could have just replied to the issue I was raising, though on my part I suppose i could have made it a question instead of a statement: Le versus Du--would a sentence like 'je mange du poisson' mean both I eat some fish, and I eat fish (as a habitual action)"? Does the partitive necessarily imply 'some'? When le is used with an object of a habitual action (like je bois le vin--I drink wine), why isn't the indefinite article employed instead, since this seems a more indefinite case (no specific wine here, just wine in general)?


You don't need a French expert. The confusion is about the English. At this point in the lesson tree all students should be familiar with how to properly write the and some in French. (Although by looking at some of these posts, that may not be true)

The English example here drops the article where the French translation requires it. It is simple really. Insert the correct article into the English and then translate it.

There is no difficulty at all with the translating of this sentence from English to French. If anyone disagrees with Duo's take on this sentence (and in the other example referred to in comments) then they are disagreeing with Duo's take on the English not the French.

For all those commenters who want to raise some issue with Duo's translation, stop talking about the French and start talking about how Duo's apparent use of English is wrong.

Is the writer talking about some pure sugar or the pure sugar, in English? The rest is easy.


I thought that if an adjective comes before the noun, as it does here, you use de (instead of du, de l', or de la) for the partitive.


It becomes de instead of des.


Why is it "pur sucre" and not "sucre pur"? I thought only a select number of adverbs was allowed in front of the noun.


It's accepting both now, but I suspect that there are two different meanings to the word. I am not sure what the two meanings are, though. Anyone else willing to help?


Northermguy has already answered your question. See above.


You mean adjectives?


Why not 'Il est...'?


why can't it be "c'est le sucre doux"?


I follow the BAGS rule with french adjectives.

Beauty Age Goodness Size

If any adjective falls into one of these categories, the adjective goes before the noun. In this case, "pure" falls under Goodness. Beauty would be words like, 'beautiful', 'pretty', 'handsome' etc Age would be words like 'old', 'young', 'new' etc Goodness would be words like 'good', 'bad', 'kind' Size would be words like 'big', 'short', 'small', 'large', etc.

Here is a link that might be helpful: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/adjectives_4.htm

Make note of "grand" because this adjective goes before and after the noun, depending on the sentence.


There is also number = "BANGS." La premiere pomme


I thought C'est had to have un, une , le, la, etc, after it otherwise it should be Il est


What difference would "des" produce to this sentence?



Des is plural so using des, rather than du, would suggest there are some sugarS in the sense that there were different types of sugars present. Sugar by itself is uncountable so the singular is used except in the circumstance that I just mentioned. This is true in English as well as you will note that we don't say I want some sugarS in my coffee.

Of course using des would mean that sucre itself would have to be plural form which in this sentence it is not.


Far be it from me to touch anything the excellent mentor northernguy has stated,however please may I add that when even the same sugar becomes countable and is plural the S is added; as in "How much sugar in your tea?" vs "How many sugarS in your tea?"... "I'd like two sugarS please."


Presumably you are referring to more than one spoonful of sugar or more than one cube of sugar rather than more than one grain of sugar. Even someone as compulsive as myself wouldn't go so far as to actually count sugar. Well, maybe in a flight of insecurity I would but I think in conversation with other people about counting sugars I would assume that they would think I was talking about unstated but implicit units of measurement.


I knew it! Just knew it! Even if you, like i do all but woship nothenguy and sitesurf..... it is best to leave their texts untouched. Even if you think it may be of extra help, dont do it. Sorry northernguy. wont happen again. I was only trying to communicate in a Lay sense. Oh dear.


Had same problem. Chose to put adjective after. Yuk!


So would pure be considered "goodness" for the BANGS theory? Also, I thought I read it somewhere that "du" becomes "de" when placed before an adjective?


why not "ce sucre est pur"?


"Ce sucre est pur / This sugar is pure" was not what was asked.

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