"Children like milk."
Translation:Les enfants aiment le lait.
I wrote "des enfants aiment le lait" and it was marked wrong, which I don't really understand. I used "des" instead of "les" beacause it said "children" not "the children". I also don't get why I can't just use "aiment" and have to add "bien" in this sentence. It should be correct without the "bien".
"Des enfants aiment le lait" refers to a limited number of children and it is the translation for "some children like milk".
"Les enfants aiment le lait" is a cover statement, a universal truth, referring to "all children in general". In this case, you need the definite article "les", while "children" does not need an article.
When it comes to "bien", it is just a "softener" to be explicit about the fact that the feeling is not "love". Since the object is a thing (milk), "aiment le lait" and "aiment bien le lait" mean exactly the same thing and both versions are accepted in translation.
this seems very confusing , I thought where there is a quantity the French used "de" and "not ""des" as the milk here is a generalization and therefore an unknown quantity shoud it not be "de" does not using "le" mean that the children like "THE " milk meaning some specific milk ?????
With an action verb (manger, boire, acheter...) "du" in masculine or "de la" in feminine are used before uncountable nouns to mean "an unknown amount of a mass", as in
- "Les enfants boivent du lait" = The children drink some milk.
Appreciation verbs (aimer, aimer bien, adorer, apprécier, préférer, détester, haïr, respecter, estimer), do not perform any action on their object but express a feeling towards the object(s) "in general", as in
- "Les enfants aiment le lait" = Children in general like milk in general.
When discussing generalities or abstract things in French, you must use a definite article: le, la, l', les. In English, the article is dropped for generalizations, but it doesn't work that way in French.
La vie est belle. — Life is beautiful.
Il déteste le thé. — He hates tea.
Les vaches produisent du lait. — Cows produce/make milk.
Breasts are also masculine, un sein.
Grammatical gender doesn't have anything to do with the intrinsic feminity or masculinity of things or objects. It may help to think of it as a way to divide everything up into two categories: category x and category y. The objects themselves aren't feminine or masculine, they are just things after all. A table is just a table, but it goes in category une while a bed is just a bed, but it is in category un.
I can deal with it just fine, I'm just of the opinion that if it's not going to have a logic behind it, why have it in the first place? After all, there's no particular need to divide things into two arbitrary categories. But, well, I guess l'Académie Française gonna l'Académie Française...
French grammatical gender existed long before l'Académie Française and there isn't a real grassroots movement to remove it from the language, except perhaps among exasperated students learning French! In fact, feminists in France are advocating for feminine word counterparts to occupations that are grammatically masculine, historically. In short, gendered nouns seem to work fine for the French. In fact, almost every other language in Europe is gendered: Italian, Romanian, German, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Irish, Welsh, Scottish, etc. English is really the odd-man-out in that respect.
Anyway, logical or not, it just is. In my opinion, it's best to just embrace it as part of the beauty of the language.
It's not the existence of grammatical gender that annoys me. It's more the inconsistency that bothers me. At this point, calling it "gender" is wildly inaccurate. Which, I suppose, means my disgruntlement is more with the fact that we still have to refer to it as "gender". Language is not so beggared for words that we can't come up with something more appropriate. If we have to keep it, at least we can refer to it with something apropos.
Maybe I'll just make up my own term for it and do a mental find/replace every time I see "grammatical gender" mentioned.
Please learn Latin or ancient Greek. You will find there the roots of many grammatical aspects that English does not have, including genders and cases.
Not only "roman" languages like French have genders; German still has 5 cases and 3 genders.
About the word "genre/gender", it comes from Latin as well:
genus, -eris « origin, extraction, birth ».
"Les enfants" can also refer to a specific group of children. In this case, the French and the English would both use the definite article les/the, even though the sentence gives no indication as to how many children are in this group.
Les enfants (dans ma famille) aiment le lait. — The children (in my family) like milk.