"I am writing a letter."

Translation:J'écris une lettre.

January 27, 2013

72 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/whereiskevinn

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

April 9, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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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".

May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RashaanaC

Thank you for this!

September 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/mathwizard1232
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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.

January 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Jamesalex1

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

March 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/chavezgt
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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

April 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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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.

May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/EdwinVlasics

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

May 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ezrah271391

I have the same issue here, i dont understand why courrier and not lettre

January 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
Mod
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The real reason is simply one of the gender of the noun.

  • une lettre (f)
  • un courrier (m)

If you put "un", it cannot be followed by "lettre". Duo knows this and looks for a masculine word that will work. That is "courrier".

May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/coridefre
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Why can't it be Je écris une lettre?

January 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/patlaf
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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"

January 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/coridefre
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Thanks for the explanation patlaf, but is it wrong to write le homme?

January 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/patlaf
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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)

January 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Connorryan2007

Yes it is correct but very close it is l'homme like not le avion but insted its l'avion

March 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MegaRainbo

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

December 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Bennemann2
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"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.

December 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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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.

March 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/E.T.s_Son
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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"

April 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/AabLevellen

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.

April 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/EM_F_

"Je suis écris..." means "I am to write". In English, "I write" and "I am writing" mean the same thing so in French, there is one word to say both ways.

Additionally, you would not conjugate the second verb because être was already conjugated.

April 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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Sorry. One would never say "Je suis écris". It is incorrect French. Since there is no Present Continuous tense in French, the French Present tense is used to translate to either English Simple Present or English Present Continuous, e.g.,

  • J'ecris = I write (or) I am writing.

In French, one may emphasize the fact that action is taking place at this very moment by using the expression "en train de" with the verb être, as follows:

  • Je suis en train d'écrire une lettre = I am writing a letter (i.e., at this very moment). Note that "...en train de" is always followed by an infinitive.
May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/10majfar

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

February 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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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)

March 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DLanderJr

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?

September 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Bennemann2
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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).

September 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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yes, é, the voice rises, and è the voice lowers.

March 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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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)

March 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/bimpe92

How do i know if an object is masculine or feminine?

February 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AabLevellen

You learn it the same time as the word itself: une pomme, un livre, la pomme, le livre

April 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/viethoan1

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

April 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AabLevellen

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.

April 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/rkwyb5

Would that not translate to I write a letter? Do you not have to use ecrivant for the ing form of the verb?

February 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/FredKSmith
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No. In French; 'I write', 'I am writing' and 'I do write' are the same thing (J'ecris). You would only use the '-ant' form if you wanted to stress that you were writing the letter (or whatever) in this moment. But just as a point, ecrivant can't stand on its own. So you can't write j'ecrivant. It doesn't make sense. It would be more like 'Je suis en ecrivant...'

May 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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j'écris ;-) "Je suis en écrivant" is not correct. "Je suis en train d'écrire" is correct. and "J'écris" is also correct. You have to not use the form "écrivant" as often as in English, it's only used in this kind of sentence: Je mange en écrivant: I eat while I write/am writting.

March 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/10flower

why is it j'écris insted of je compose une lettre?

April 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mkroll87

in french compos'e means consists of (as in "this sandwich is composed of tuna and pickles") so your sentence would mean i am consisting of a letter. assuming you meant the english word composing, which in french would be composer (I think) (as in "I am composing a letter") then in theory it would amount to the same thing but compose does not mean to write but to put together so it would refer to the whole process of writing addressing... a letter

April 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mkroll87

So let me see if I get this right. Whenever I am saying that I am doing an action, I don't say the "am," I only say "I writing a book" ?

April 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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The point is that if you are going to write or speak in French, you must also think in French. You cannot translate word-for-word from English. Please understand that translating from one language to another is not substituting each word in one language for a word in the other language. It just doesn't work like that.

  • "j'écris une lettre" may be translated as "I write a letter" or "I am writing a letter". Neither one is wrong but one may sound more natural in English.
May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/AabLevellen

No, you say I write a book=j'écris un livre=I am writing a book.

If you need to stress that you are writing a book right now, then you can use this construction: Je suis en train d'écrire un livre (maintenant).

April 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ThomJB

It seems unfair that 'Je ecris une lettre,' is not alowed. Is the contraction that important?

April 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AabLevellen

Yes, it is that important. It is not a voluntary contraction as the English contractions are, but mandatory.

April 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/MichelleMack1821

what is the difference between 'j'ecris une lettre' and 'j'ecris en lettre'???

August 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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There is no "en lettre". "A letter" is "une lettre".

May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Rebekah790399
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Is "J'écris une lettre" correct? It told me I was wrong and "J'écris un courrier" was right

August 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DimondGame1

❤❤❤❤ this ❤❤❤❤ is so ❤❤❤❤ ing hard damn

September 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Nidhi_Kundargi

Do you need to specifically memorize what gender an inanimate object is? Or is there a method?

November 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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Yes, you need to memorize the gender of each noun. No, there is no method. There are a few patterns. All nouns ending in -ion are feminine. Nouns ending in -té are feminine.

May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SaifAbaza

"j' ecris un lettre " is not acceptable how ?!

November 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/KaylaFrazi2

My phone cant type those symbols on the top of the lettres;-;

November 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
Mod
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Yes, you can. Hold your finger on the vowel for just a second and other options will pop up allowing you to select an alternative: é è ê.

May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LBjjDM
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Why is "J'écris une lettre" accepted ? The answer tgey gave is courrier, not lettre

December 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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The idea is that "a letter" may be either "une lettre" or "un courrier". Note that the first answer is a feminine noun whereas the second is a masculine noun. If you say "un lettre", Duo examines your answer one word at a time, in sequence. Knowing that it cannot be "un lettre", it looks for another one of the accepted answers that uses the masculine "un". The only one is "un courrier". So if you want to say "lettre", be sure to say "une lettre" (a letter). If you want to say "courrier", say "un courrier" (a letter).

May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RaquelGa3

I dont understand why the only correct response is Je compose un lettre. Read the thread. Still dont understand why we cant say J'écris un lettre...and je compose is the only way

December 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
Mod
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You may be paying too much attention to the hints. Use the top-most hint to help you develop an answer.

May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/siddig568593

Courrier instead of letter why ? I can't undre stand that !! What is the relation between letter an courrier! !??

December 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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"A letter" may be either "une lettre" (f) or "un courrier" (m). But you may not say "un lettre" or "une courrier" because the gender of the article must match the gender of the noun.

May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SaSiNO97

Je écris une lettre. Wrong... is it ok like this, or is it mandatory using J'écris with an apostrophe ?

January 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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Yes, contractions in French are mandatory, unlike those in English. So one never writes "je écris", but j'écris.

May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ezrah271391

Why "courier" and not "lettre"?? Letter is "lettre" in french right? Then why "lettre" is wrong in my sentence, i dont understand

January 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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It's because you put "un lettre". But "lettre" is a feminine noun (une lettre) so Duo looked for another answer than uses "un" (un courrier) which is masculine.

May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LoveyVerma

I wrote J'écris un lettre. And it showed wrong, why?

February 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
Mod
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Please read the comments above for the answer.

May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Devran237251

I wrote lettew but the answer says "carriere" for letter. Never showed up before :s

April 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
Mod
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Hi, Devran. You will need to type more carefully but the answer to your question is that "a letter" may be either "une lettre" (a feminine noun) or "un courrier" (a masculine noun).

May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JanaAbdela

Bonjour

May 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Marquinhos230254

They have an error 7u7

May 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/amazingcaio

Why is there no liaison between "j'écris" and "une"?

June 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sophia602139

Why not Je ecris?

July 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Mohita25613

The male and female pronunciation is different in this app. Un and une sound like un and yune and sometimes, on (short o) uney.

September 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Alisa918640

I was wondering if Je will work not J'.

March 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/CraigClaym

ok ...

March 19, 2019
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