"European vegetables are good."

Translation:Les légumes européens sont bons.

February 9, 2013

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Why isn't 'Des' right? Why must it be 'les'?


Generalities in French use the definite article "le/la/les"


But "les" means "the", which is not the case here .. I'm confused.


the overall sentence is about a generality.

in English, generalities do not require any article.

in French, they do require definite article le, la or les.


If I wanted to say "the rice", I would say "le riz", but if I just wanted to say "rice" I could say "du riz", and "des" is the plural of "du", which I think you say if you don't want to use "the" before a noun, and there is no "the" in the sentence, so shouldn't "des" be the right answer as opposed to "les"?


As a general rule, English spares articles while French does not.

In many cases, you cannot directly translate an article or a non-article from English to French.

The only way to pick the right article in French is to understand what is meant

  • the rice is good (specific) = le riz est bon (definite article)

  • a good rice was served (indefinite) = un bon riz a été servi (indefinite article)

  • (some) vegetables were served = des légumes ont été servis (plural indefinite article)

  • rice is good for you (generality) = le riz est bon pour vous (definite article)

  • I eat (some) rice (partitive) = je mange du riz (partitive)

  • I love rice (in general) = j'aime le rix (definite article with all appreciation verbs: aimer, préférer, adorer, détester, apprécier, haïr)


Les can mean either "the (X we're talking about)" or "X (in general)".


So, "des légumes européens sont bons" would mean some vegetables, whereas "les légumes" in this case means "all vegetables"?


Not really, but I'm sure you know this now (posting here for the benefit of new learners). "Des légumes" only refers to an undetermined amount of vegetables, not vegetables in general or a certain bunch of vegetables. To speak of vegetables in general, it must be "les légumes". If you wanted to say "some vegetables" (not all vegetables), it would be "certains légumes sont bons".


What's wrong with " Légumes européens sont bonnes." I am so confused....??


First, légumes is masculine, so it has to be "bons" instead of "bonnes". Second, you need the definite article in French even if it isn't necessary in English. In English you can say "I like dogs". You can't say "J'aime chiens" in French. It would have to be "J'aime les chiens". If you think it's confusing, imagine a French native learning English and wondering where all our definite articles disappeared to! Hope that helps!


why can't it be "les legumes europeens sont biens"?


"bien" is an adverb, therefore invariable.

"bien" is an overall appreciation which can mean that vegetable are beautiful, convenient, healthy, etc.

"good" is better translated by "bons" to mean "tasty"


Why does europeens have to be plural? To me that implies more than one Europe.


"européens" is an adjective, agreeing with "légumes", masculine, plural


What if you were comparing vegetables from several different continents and you wanted to say "The European vegetables are good."? How would you say that in French?


Les légumes européens sont bons.


Why is it bon and not bien?


good here means "tasty", so "bon, bonne, bons, bonnes" is the correct adjective to mean that.

"bien" is an adverb. If it were "les fruits sont bien", it would not mean that they are tasty, but something like "good looking".


Fantastic, thanks very much.


why do we not add "de" before "europeens"? (yes I know the accent is missing)


Because "européens" is an adjective, so "les légumes européens" = European vegetables.


I guess this isnt always true but i suspected that you would need de after vegetables to specify that its european??


"European" is an adjective in both languages, so you don't need anything between the noun and the adjective:

  • European vegetables = les légumes européens


Why isn't 'Les européens légumes sont bons' correct?


Nationality adjectives are regular and therefore placed after the noun.


Sorry did not see s on europeens


It is not supposed to be heard. But you know that "les légumes" is in plural and as a consequence the adjective modifying a plural noun agrees with the noun.


It says "European vegetables are good" which means it is a non-specific article, and the answer is "Des". Had it been "The European vegetables are good", it would have been a specific article, and the answer would be "Les".


"European vegetables are good" means that all of them are. It is a blanket statement and the whole category of "European vegetables" in general is concerned.

In French, generalities need a definite article.

"Des" is the plural of "un/une". The meaning of "des légumes" is "more than one vegetable", not "all vegetables in general".

  • 1790

In all this time, i've never seen the singular use of the word vegetable. I just found out that it is male! Which explains the word "bons".

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