the French participe présent is more or less similar "physically" (-ant ending vs -ing) to the English gerund, but not to be used the same way.
in particular, we often use it with preposition "en": "en cuisinant" means "while cooking".
In this sentence: "il fait des progrès en cuisinant" = "he is making progress while cooking" mean something different from "en cuisine" / "in cooking".
Duolingo loves direct translations, i.e. when the reverse is similar:
he is improving his cooking = il améliore sa cuisine.
If the intention is to teach you "faire des progrès en", you may not memorize it as effectively if you adapt it to a nice English translation. Mechanically, next time you will want to express 'improving one's Verb-ing", chances are that "faire des progrès en" will not come top of your mind.
Actually it is a common usage that "progrès" is plural in this expression (faire des progrès), probably assuming the guy has made more than one... Which does not mean that you can't use it in singular in another context.
- "aujourd'hui, il m'a salué, c'est un progrès" (assuming that usually, he merely ignores me)
"Cuisine" is a noun in this sentence, but often (although not always) the article is omitted after the preposition "en".
Il fait froid en hiver. Il est allé en France. J’ai vu un policier en uniforme. Or another example from these exercises: "Son drapeau était blanc en signe de paix"
Canadian native English speaker here. I would be much more likely to use "in". If I were to say "at" it would probably emphasize the place where the progress is occurring: "He is making progress at soccer practice". "She is making progress at her piano lessons." But I would say: "He is making progress in soccer", "She is making progress in piano".
Generally speaking "dans" means "inside": je suis dans la cuisine (inside the room).
"En" is mostly used with non-tangible things: je suis bon en cuisine (in the field of cooking).
"En" is also used with countries, continents, years, months and transportation:
- je suis en France, en Europe
- nous sommes en 2016, en août.
- je pars en voiture, en train, en avion
I don't think "he makes progress in the kitchen" is correct, because the French would have "dans la cuisine", and I am not sure what this would exactly mean (what is he doing in the kitchen? wiping the floor?).
"en cuisine" describes his speciality, like "in cooking/drawing/dancing...".
Have you not found a dictionary?
There seems to be some confusion between "chicken" and "kitchen" (please look them up).
une cuisine = a kitchen (room)
une cuisine/la cuisine = cuisine = "The cuisine of a country or district is the style of cooking that is characteristic of that place" (source: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/cuisine)
cuisiner = to cook
Sitesurf refers to "A countable noun" in relation to progrés. I am also having a question with "Werkzeug" in German which is also referred to as such. As a native (U.K.) English speaker, I have never heard of a countable noun before. I had thought it equated to a collective noun in U.K. English, but it appears to have the opposite grammatical effect, ie. a collective noun takes the singular, even though it refers to a number of items, but a countable noun takes the plural, even when the word is singular. What is a countable noun and how do I recognise it?
A countable noun is a noun you could count, so you can use it in singular and in plural: "an/one apple, apples".
An uncountable noun is a mass noun you do not usually count, so it is used in singular, without an article (or number) in English, and the verb is conjugated in singular: "this is food" (c'est de la nourriture) or "I study history" (j'étudie l'histoire).
Collective nouns can be singular or plural and they represent a group: "fruit" is collective, as well as "grapes". The verb is then conjugated in singular or plural: "my pants are blue" (mon pantalon est bleu), or "the police has come" (la police est venue).
As you can see from the above examples, English countable, uncountable or collective nouns may or may not translate to countable, uncountable or collective nouns in French.
Il fait des progrès en cuisine / en mathématiques / en langues... as a field of study/know-how
Il est en cuisine: the chef/cook is said to be "en cuisine" as his work place. If you and I are "in the kitchen", we won't say "en cuisine" but "dans/à la cuisine".
Il est dans la cuisine / dans le salon / dans le restaurant... static, in a closed place
Il va dans la cuisine / dans la chambre... movement into a closed place
Il est/va à la cuisine / au marché / à la bibliothèque... static in, or movement to a place (less precise than with "dans" - it can also be an open place)
"I almost submitted "He makes progress in cooking" but I was so lost meanwhile because this is not a proper way to express this idea. It definitely looked strange to me, and it seemed more proper to say "He makes cooking progress". The word options were odd in general, could this question example simply be removed?