You are missing "le/la" in all your examples.
- "eau" is both feminine and starts with a vowel, so it can't be *"du eau", only "de l'eau"
- "alcool" is masculine, but also starts with a vowel, so it is "de l'alcool"
- "bière" starts with a consonant but is feminine, so it must be "de la bière"
- "vin" starts with a consonant and is masculine, so it is the only choice we are given that can go with "du": "du vin"
To my ear Elle and Elles sound the same before boit and boivent. The difference I hear is in boit and boivent, with there being the slightest v sound in boivent, letting me know it is plural. You can get an idea of this if you go to translate.google.com and type in the two sentences "Elle boit du vin," and "Elles boivent du vin," and listen to them both one right after the other.
When Elle and Elles are followed by a word that starts with a vowel, there is a slight z sound connecting Elles and the following word, such as with "Elles ecrivent." Again, translate.google.com will let you listen to both and hear the difference.
That's how I'm telling them apart, but I'm a beginner and not a native speaker, so ... don't hold me to it. :)
Yes, because of how vowel-consonent pairings work in french. "On", "En", "In" and...I think there's a couple of others that are all nasal, which means that they sound different than they should. Specifically for the letter "i", it tends to sound more like an open "a" or an "ee" sound. For vin, because it's a nasal i, it sounds like van.
Would this be correct- Elles boivent du le vin? Can 'de' be used in situations other than 'de la'? CJ Dennis's comments confuse me. He used 'de l'alcool'. Why did he change it from "du" to "de" for words beginning with vowels? I thought "de" was feminine? Please clarify!!
You can't use « du le » because « du » already means « de » + « le ».
If it's plural, use « des » : « Je mange des fraises » - "I'm eating [some] strawberries"
If it starts with a vowel or mute "h", use « de l' » : « Je bois de l'eau » - "I'm drinking [some] water"
Otherwise, if it's masculine, use « du » : « Je bois du vin » - "I'm drinking [some] wine"
If it's feminine, use « de la » : « Je bois de la bière » : "I'm drinking [some] beer"
If you got here, you missed a rule. Go back to the start and try again.
« du » is the mandatory contraction of « de » + « le », and « des » is the mandatory contraction of « de » + « les ». « de » is neither masculine nor feminine. It's also not plural or singular. It's the next word that determines the number and gender, and two out of the three articles combine with « de » to form a different word.
"They" is not gendered in English, but its French translation is:
"elle" is "she" if the subject is a female human being, or "it" if the subject is a feminine noun of animal or thing.
"elles" is "they", but exclusively feminine, and referring to any female or feminine things.
The French love their articles and they also have articles that English does not use: partitive articles.
Partitive (= part of something) articles are required when the meaning is "some" in front of a mass noun. They are formed with the preposition "de" and a definite article: "le", "la" or "l'"
- ils boivent du vin ("du" is the contraction of the preposition "de" and the masculine definite article "le")
- ils boivent de la bière ("la", because "bière" is a feminine noun)
- ils boivent de l'eau ("l'" because "eau" is a feminine noun starting with a vowel sound)
- ils boivent de l'alcool ("l'" because "alcool" is a masculine noun starting with a vowel sound).
This is fully explained in the Tips and Notes in the lesson that you can access at anytime during your lessons, provided you work with the online version of Duolingo.
"du" is a partitive article (masculine, singular) and "des" is the plural indefinite article (that English does not have).
About partitive articles that are used with mass nouns, please read the above comment.
About "des", it is the plural for "un" or "une" and it means "more than one".
- singular: je mange une fraise (I eat a/one strawberry) -- plural: je mange des fraises (I eat (some) strawberries)
"partitive" articles are about "part of something uncountable", "some + mass noun" or "an undetermined quantity of something". That is for the meaning.
I drink beer OR I drink some beer = je bois de la bière: bière is a feminine noun, "de la" is the feminine partitive article.
I eat bread OR I eat some bread = je mange du pain: pain is a masculine noun, "du" is the masculine partitive article.
If the noun starts with a vowel sound, "du" and "de la" are changed to "de l'":
I drink water OR I drink some water = je bois de l'eau: eau is feminine
I drink alcohol OR I drink some alcohol = je bois de l'alcool: alcool is masculine.
I think it's funny other choices they gave me were "goldfish" and "skirts"