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  5. "He drinks water."

"He drinks water."

Translation:Il boit de l'eau.

January 24, 2013



I'm having some difficultly understanding the behavior of l'eau vs. d'eau/de l'eau. As I understand it;
He drinks the water : Il boit l'eau.
So why is it the same when the water is unspecific?
He drinks water : Il boit l'eau.
I was under the impression that d'eau and de l'eau were the correct expression for some water. If anyone can explain it to me I'd really appreciate it.


Specific: il boit l'eau Unspecific (a certain quantity of water, some water) = il boit DE l'eau

So, there is a bug in this exercise, I think.


Ah thank you. I thought I had misunderstood.


Could this be il boit d'eau - He drinks water ?? I don't completely understand why le is needed


They now accept both "Il boit de l'eau" (unspecific) and "Il boit l'eau" (specific). Remembering another discussion thread, "d'eau" (unspecific) can be used if the said water was in a container. So can "d'eau" also be used here? It's most likely that a person drinks water from a container than, say... the rain.... or something...


o "boire l'eau" : drink the water. Same meaning as in English, ie, not water in general, but the water that is identified (the one on the table for ex.). Since "eau" (feminine noun) starts with a vowel, you have to "elide" the definite article and use an apostrophe, to ease the pronounciation (LO instead of LA-O).

o "boire de l'eau" is the way to mean "drink (some) water", ie a certain quantity of water. The construction is "de + definite article". Note that, again, the article was elided (de l' =de la).

o "boire d'eau" is only used in negative sentences: "je ne veux pas boire d'eau". Here, for the same reason as before "de" is elided, and the meaning is the same as above (unspecific water).

Note1: "un seau d'eau et un verre d'eau" is "a bucket of water and a glass of water", respectively. "De" here indicates the content of the noun (seau, verre). "un robinet d'eau" (as opposed to "un robinet de gaz") indicates its function.

Note2: with expressions of quantity: plus d'eau, moins d'eau, beaucoup d'eau, un peu d'eau, peu d'eau, autant d'eau... "de" (elided) is used without article.


Thank you, especially for clarifying the use of that misunderstood "d'eau"!


Why not du here?


Because "eau" is a feminine noun (de la) and starting with a vowel (de l' )


I read in another forum, that if the verb is "aime, adore, préfère or déteste" you must use 'le' or 'la'. If you have other verbs, you use 'du' or 'de la'. In this case as it is not a personal preference verb then it has to be Il boit de l'eau (water is feminine and contracted de la)


Thank you .... this was my querie. When we say "he likes water" it's "Il aime l'eau" however "he drinks water" is "de l'eau" and until I read your comment I couldn't understand the difference. Thank you for outlining the rule for me!


I have a bad and frustrating habit of hitting the "return" tab before I've finished my intended answer and the "Duolingo" bot goes "incorrect" without allowing a self correction, drives me nuts.


Boit-il l'eau should be accepted as an appropriate answer.


No, because it is not appropriate.

"boit-il l'eau ?" (with a question mark) is a question (does he drink water? or is he drinking water?), whereas "il boit l'eau" is a statement (he drinks water or he is drinking water).


I mean yeah, people are having problems with this one. Drinking of "some" water immediately now (Il boit de l'eau)...or generally drinks water (il boit l'eau) ?. But, Il boit de l'eau...He is drinking of/ some the water...kinda makes sense, but the question still remains confusing.

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