Well, "you eat that" sound awfully like a command in English and we really wouldn't say that. "You" is virtually never used in a command in French or in English. Remember, this is only an exercise to expose us to the use of demonstrative adjectives (ce, ces, cet, cette) and demonstrative pronouns, e.g., ça.
When I was little my father used to say "holler" "you eat that!" when I'd complain that I didn't like something on my plate. I think the statement would usually be more of a command. "You are eating that" would be just an observation.
On the other hand, would "You eat that!" Require a formal "vous? "Vous mangez ca!"
It certainly wouldn't require it; I'm not quite certain whether it would ever happen in French.
Your father's holler/exhortation is an imperative - a command. Normally, in English, it is expressed as "Eat that!", but a particularly emphatic command may include the subject ("You eat that!").
In French the imperative also drops the subject, so it would be "Mange ça!" or "Mangez ça!" I don't know if anyone ever includes the subject, no matter how emphatic.
To return to the sentence at hand, "Tu manges ça" is a simple declarative statement, as is either possible translation: "You are eating that" or "You eat that". People seem to have trouble understanding the second one as a declarative statement, but with a little context, it works.
"Sriracha? I can't handle it, but, hey, Mary, you eat that, don't you?"
the word manger can be used in four different ways depending on who is using it. for example: Je mange---- I eat Tu manges--- You eat Il/elle/ on Mange---He/she/one eats Nous mangeons---- we eat Vous mangez---- you are eating( formal. used when you talk to an adult or someone you just met.) Ils/elles mangent--They are eating.
If you have a Mac you hold down the c and all variations of c pop up and you choose which one ç ć č. Do the same with other letters that have extra marks on them. For Windows it's sort of a pain, but go into Control Panel, Regional Settings, add the French keyboard. Then go to All Programs, Accessories, Accessibility and choose the onscreen keyboard. In the language bar you have to ensure the language is set to French when the onscreen keyboard is active. (It's a lot easier with a Mac ;-)
Or you can cut and paste it from another word on the screen.... If there is no word on the screen with the character I want, I usually have something like http://www.linguee.fr/francais-anglais/page/about.php up on a tab in my browser, and I can just go there and fetch the character I want.
I can't be bothered to remember the alt shortcuts.
This is a good question and you're correct to think that, in general, simple direct and indirect pronouns (me, te, se, le, la, etc) come before the noun.
However, ça (and others like cela, celui, celle, ceux, celles) are an exception because they're demonstrative pronouns. A demonstrative pronoun always goes in the exact same position as the noun it's demonstrating.
In your example, if you simply wanted to say "it" rather than "that", you could write, "tu le/la manges". But because you're demonstrating, you have to use a demonstrative pronoun and put it where the noun would normally go.
Non literal translation would be eat this. If "c'est une fille" can be said "she is a girl" then this can be said simply "eat this" not "you eat this" or at least in addition to. It'd be kind of rude if you said something like that to someone you're not too familiar with or friendly with.
"Eat this" in English is an order, an imperative tense (google it) and in french the imperative has it's own form of conjugation, it would be "mangez ça". IN this exercise the correct translation would be You are eating this since "you eat this sounds" weird.
"Tu manges ça" is not an order/command/imperative. It is a standard declarative sentence meaning "you eat this/that/it" or "you are eating this/that/it". At this early state of learning, you will pick up how to conjugate a few verbs: (manger, parler) and how to use different pronouns (je, tu, il, elle, nous, vous, ils/elles) and a couple of others: ceci, cela, ça.
The imperative tense in French has it's own form of conjugation. Here it is: http://french.about.com/od/verb_conjugations/a/manger.htm
The best translation here is "you are eating that". It's a silly phrase out of context, but that's it.
It just a learning device - we are learning the basic structure of sentences in French. Once you know how to say "You are eating that", and you learn a new verb, say "apporter" ("to bring"), you can construct the sentence "You are bringing that" - "Tu apportes ça". Or whatever.
cameron, just like in english there are words or phrases that need the context to make the sentence clear. if i am holding a sandwich, i ask "you wanna eat this?" if you are holding it i say "are you gonna eat that?" and that is clear for you in english why this and why that. but if i say "i have an appointment at 08.00 tomorrow and i have a hernia, and that really bugs me!" you don't know what "that" is referring to, as i could hate getting up early or i could be talking about the hernia or even both. so, in english there are also sentences where you cannot be sure without clarification or context. the word light in english means not heavy and also not dark. how can there be one word for both? context tells us that when i say it gets light at 07.00a.m., i am not talking about the weight of something.
You won't hear it at all:
- 1) je mange : I eat (or) I am eating
- 2) tu manges : you eat (or) you are eating (tu is informal and always singular)
- 3) il/elle mange : he/she eats (or) he/she is eating
- 4) nous mangeons : we eat (or) we are eating
- 5) vous mangez : you eat (or) you are eating ("vous" may be plural or singular/polite)
- 6) ils/elles mangent : they eat (or) they are eating
The forms mange, manges, and mangent are all pronounced exactly the same. You will have to pick up which one is meant by using other clues in the sentence and even then it is sometimes not possible to say exactly which it is.
Duolingo should consider "You're eating that" as correct, as it considers it a typo.