1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Les hommes pauvres mangent l…

"Les hommes pauvres mangent la soupe."

Translation:The poor men eat the soup.

February 7, 2013



why couldn't this be "poor men eat soup"?


The "Les" mean "the", so the sentence is more precise then it would be with "des".


If I were to say "les hommes" you'd read that as "men" in appropriate contexts, this is one of those contexts


Actually, while you are right about the need to have context, there is no context given in the sentence so you have to look at the broader context.

If you are going to say that les can be used to refer to all men in this sentence then you are saying that everywhere in the world that there are poor men, they eat soup. However, you need only to consider that it is unlikely to apply to poor men in some situations. No one would believe without evidence, that all those people dying in some famine in Africa or elsewhere can always count on getting soup when food is eventually provided. And if they aren't getting it, then les would have to mean a particular group of men, perhaps a large group, are eating soup.


Poor men eat soup means all poor men eat some kind of soup.

The poor men eat the soup means (those particular) poor men eat (that particular) soup.


In English, if you were referring in general to poor men, you would not say 'the poor men'. 'The poor men eat soup' is a sentence you just would not hear in English, unless you were referring to a particular group of poor men.

In French 'Les hommes' refers i think to men in general, so 'Poor men eat soup' I think should be a correct answer.


Je suis d'accord!


But "des hommes pauvres" would mean "some poor men," correct? If you want to make a general remark about poor men, I think you would say "les hommes pauvres." In other words, isn't the English translation "Poor men eat soup" correct?


"Des hommes pauvres" is "some poor men". My French husband said if he saw the sentence starting with "Les hommes pauvres" out of context, for him it would be 'Poor men' , not necessarily 'The poor men'.


Definitely agree that it reads as "poor me eat soup"


The confusion that is posted in this thread completely mystifies me.

Les hommes is the men. La soupe is the soup. That's all there is to it.

The poor men eat the soup. There is nothing strange about it. They even have a name for where the poor men do eat the soup on a regular basis. It's called a soup kitchen.

Not all the poor men in the world eat soup. The poor men who do eat soup don't eat all the soup in the world. Those particular poor men are eating that particular soup though. We know this because the sentence says the poor men are eating the soup.


Untrue - if I say ''Les abeilles sont jaunes'' for example, that can mean 'The bees are yellow' (as in 'those specific bees I'm pointing at') but it also reads 'bees are yellow.' It depends on context, but without context, most people are going to think 'poor people in general'. Similarly, if I say in English ''The Wright Brothers invented the airplane'' I don't mean one specific airplane.


English speakers routinely drop the article so that their meaning is left up to the listener to determine the intent. But in French you can't drop the article. You have to make it clear.

English speakers use the dropped article to indicate general, as if there was only one classification of general. But of course, that's not true. Take your example of Bees are Yellow. Does the speaker mean all bees are yellow or some bees are yellow? When you say you like music do you mean all music or some music. The only way for the listener to know for sure is to ask the speaker to clarify by including the article. Generally he doesn't ask because usually it's not important.

We know that this sentence is not talking about some poor men because if it was it would have des as the article. That means there are two possibilities with the French sentence in this example. All the poor men in the world are eating all the soup in the world or those particular men are eating that particular example of soup. The verb manger provides the context to tell us that it can't be all the men or all the soup.

I think very few English speakers would, upon reflection, think that all the poor men in the world are eating all the soup in the world. And, since it is the present tense, they are doing it right now.

The statement The Wright Brothers invented the airplane leads us to the intended meaning of the whole concept of airplanes rather just one airplane because that is what invent means. Change the verb to The Wright Brothers conceived of the airplane. Now we don't know if the speaker is referring to just one airplane that they thought about or if he means they conceived of the airplane as we have come to know it.

Because English speakers drop the article they speak as if there is just one category of general. But actually there are two. Some general and all general. In French, you have to make a real effort to distinguish between the particular, some and all. Le/la/les and du/de la/des are the articles that do that. Very often the verb tells you which category of general is appropriate. Before you can translate Bees are yellow into French, you have to be clear, in English, whether you mean some bees are yellow or all the bees in the world are yellow. That is because in French you have to specify which one you mean.


Not to be nit-picky, but don't people drink soup?


Very true, and interestingly, I'm sure I've had several previous translations marked as correct when I have used "drink soup" for "ingesting soup". Ditto with translation "la chienne" as "the bitch".


Whyis "The poor men are eating soup" wrong?


In fact even "the poor men are eating the soup" is marked wrong


Shouldn't it be "De la soupe"since soup is uncountable ??


The English sentence says that the poor men are eating soup that we know about, particular soup not some soup that is unidentified. The French sentence says that the poor men are eating soup that we know about, particular soup. They both agree with each other. They both refer to the soup.


Ramen noodles, to be exact


Why when i want to speak to the microphone, i touch it and is appearing on the screen the sentence:"you are wrong" or something like that?!Fix this!!


If you touch a microphone too hard the contact generates a sound in sensitive microphones. The computer hears a sound, measures it and concludes that whatever that sound is, it is not the correct answer. That is what the computer is supposed to do. Analyze the sounds transmitted to it to see if they match the parameters of the correct answer.

Solution: get a less sensitive microphone although that might bring a different set of problems. Handle the microphone with more care, which might include not handling it all during crucial moments.


this depends on whether you mean men who are poor or men who are sad or troubled

[deactivated user]

    I am extremely fond of soup, especially Vichyssoise and Borshcht, as I am half -French-Canadian and half-Ukrainian-Canadian. Soup is nutritious, delicious, and cheap!


    Multiple choice error number 44. I thought I had found a set of questions I could actually finish but the last question is impossible to answer correctly. 'Pauvres' is missed from the sentence but only 'pauvre' is offered as a choice to complete the sentence. These multiple choice questions are a disaster! There is something wrong with the algorithm being used by the data base or with the data base itself.


    What wrong word: The poor men eat the soup. I have a red notch under the period - pourquoi?


    Funny -- y'all are getting technical, but I'm just thinking of "Down and out in Paris and London" by George Orwell...

    Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.