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  5. "I am writing a letter."

"I am writing a letter."

Translation:J'écris une lettre.

January 27, 2013



Interesting that "Je suis écrire une lettre." is not acceptable.


Such a "translation" comes from thinking in English and translating to French one word at a time. It doesn't work that way. Since French does not have a Present Continuous tense, the Present tense may be translated to English as Simple Present or Present Continuous. I.e.,

  • j'écris une lettre = I write a letter (or) I am writing a letter

In French, the expression "être en train de + infinitive" may be used to emphasize that the action of the verb is taking place at this very moment, e.g., Je suis en train d'écrire une lettre. This may only be translated to "I am writing a letter", not "I write a letter".


I think that would be because it never would be said like that. The standard present form in French expresses "am doing" currently or "does do" generally. So "I am writing" and "I write" would both translate the same.


French has no present progressive form (Swann, Learner English)


No, French actually has present progressive, witht the use of "[etre conjugated] + en train de [other verbe in infinitive]. The answer is accepted: Je suis en train d'écrire une lettre


The point is that there is not a verb tense specific to Present Progressive in French. The use of "être en train de" is not a verb tense; it is an expression.


j'ecris une lettre isn't correct but j'ecris un courrier is?


Why can't it be Je écris une lettre?


In French, contractions are necessary. The French don't like having to take pause while speaking, so situations that would demand a pause are always eliminated.

If you say "Je écris" out loud, your throat needs to close for a split second between the two words. This pause makes your French sound broken up, so it is avoided by contracting the two words.

The same is true for things like "Le homme". Because of that pause, you contract this to "L'homme"


Thanks for the explanation patlaf, but is it wrong to write le homme?


Yes, that is incorrect.

Here is a list of frequent contractions: http://french.about.com/library/pronunciation/bl-contractions.htm

Basically, if you say "Je, Le, La, Que..." (and there are many others) and the next word begins with a vowel or a silent H, then they must contract to "J', L', L', Qu'... " (and so on)


Why can't it be "Je suis écris une lettre." It corrects my mistake and puts "J'écris une lettre", but that sounds like "I write a letter"


There is one translation in common for "I write" and "I am writing": J'écris. In French you do not make the distinction between these by the choise of words - they are the same.


I don't get the different between 'une' and 'un'


"un" is for masculine nouns, and "une" for feminine ones.

Un garçon, une fille, un gâteau, une robe, un canard, un dauphin, une mouche, une femme. A boy, a girl, a cake, a dress, a duck, a dolphin, a fly, a woman. There is not much logic as to why nouns for inanimate objects or animals are masculine or feminine. You just have to learn the noun along with the gender every time. So don't just learn that the animal "fly" is "mouche", but "la mouche" instead. Nouns for professions also have male and female versions. Un écrivain, une écrivaine. A (man) writer, a (woman) writer.

Also bear in mind that many adjectives also are added an "e" at the end when the noun is feminine.

Le livre intéressant, la personne intéressante. Interesting book, interesting person.

I'm still learning the basics of French, but I believe those examples are correct.


perfectly correct! great job! Except you would say: un livre intéressant, or le livre est intéressant, une personne intéressante, la personne est intéressante, exactly as in English.


Are most inanimate objects feminine in French? Is there a trick for identifying feminine and masculine things?


No. There are not rather masculine than feminine or the opposite; Considers it's 50/50 approximately. There's no trick, and you shouldn't search for trick, only memorize them. You can still use your imagination as a "trick", imagine the moon being a girl by example, because the moon is "la lune" (feminine)


How come 'écris' work with Je but not 'écrit'? ending in S for most other words is for use with 'Tu'. I.E. je prends, tu prends, il prend. Je mange, tu manges, il mange.


Whats the conjugation of ecris?


I am having a hard time remembering the accent letters. Even when I took it in college I couldn't discern which vowels got accents and whether or not it was accent aigu or accent grave. any tips?


A francophone friend explained to me once that accent grave on the E (è) is an "open" or "higher-pitched" 'e' sound (such as the first E in 'letter'), whereas the accent aigu (é) is lower-pitched and more closed, like the sound of the second E in 'letter'. Accents on the letter A are used to discern between two words that sound the same and would write the same, the accent on the A is then used to separate between them (my vocabulary is too limited to think of any examples in French. Think if 'mass' as in 'a catholic ritual' was written as "máss" to differentiate from 'mass' as in 'a quantity of matter'). I think the same goes for I and O, though I could be wrong. Surely you can Google and find a page explaining accents (about.com has some great articles on the French language).


yes, é, the voice rises, and è the voice lowers.


except in "es" and "et" that makes "è" and "é" sound by their own, the letter "e" without accent, always sound as "e" in "je" or "le", it can be another sounds unless you put an accent. So, whenever you hear an "é" or "è", you put an accent. The exception is when you have a dobled-consonnant, you don't need an accent to hear "è" or "é". Example: Lettre: there's no accent and you pronounce "lètr" because of the dobble "t" (it needs to be the same letter dobled)


Why lettre is feminine but livre is not? I see they use un livre not une livre


The genre of nouns do not follow any rules concerning their meaning. Some nouns just are feminine, like lettre=letter, and others just are masculine, like livre=book. There happens to exist a feminine version of the letter combination livre, but that means half a kilogram, a pound.


This is what I have


j cerise une lettre


"Je vais écrire" is wrong?

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