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"Les ours mangent des citrons."

Translation:The bears are eating lemons.

February 10, 2013



Should "les ours mangent des citrons", here, be translated as "the bears are eating lemons"? Whereas "des ours mangent des citrons" would translate as "bears are eating lemons". The former refers to a specific groups of bears and the latter refers to bears in general, or some bears.


At least accepted "the bears eat lemon", but now that I think it over, it could have been rejected.
"bears eat lemon" sounds better than "bears are eating lemon", since "are eating" is like indicating a particular group, not all bears in the world are eating lemon (just now or at the same time), Instead "eat" gives a sense that the speaker thinks that bears usually eat lemon, as a habit, kind of "bears eat berries".
And, for generality or in a sense including all members of a group denoted by a word, they say that definite articles are used too.


Duolingo seems pretty relaxed about "les" vs "des" (and "le" vs "de") at the beginnings of sentences. This isn't the first time it's been flexible about having or not having a "the" in the English counterpart. I don't know whether this is an artifact of their software or a true property of French.


In French, a noun can never be alone - each one needs an article. However, when translating a phrase into English, it is at your discretion since English has no such rule.


After some prepositions such as de or à, you sometimes don't need an article when you're talking about some general concept ("Un morceau de pain").


Antithesis of Italian and Catalan, where they added in extra prepositions for extra fun. :)


This has nothing to do with the software since all translations are entered by hand by real people.

Generalizations need a definite article. But specific subjects too.

  • "Les ours mangent des citrons" looks and feels like a generalization, like "les vaches mangent de l'herbe"; but in reality, bears do not eat lemons because there are few if any lemon trees where bears live.

My feeling is that the best (sensible) translation should be "The bears eat/are eating lemons" because it is possible in specific situations.

However, both "bears" and "the bears" are accepted for the sake of consistency with other sentences and generalizations.

At last, I don't understand your comment: about "les" vs "des" (and "le" vs "de") at the beginnings of sentences. At best, I can tell you that the indefinite "des" never translate to "the".


I think the second one should not be continous form but "bears eat lemons".


why does the "s" in "ours" make a sound?


The 's' is part of the singular form of the word and so you don't add the silent plural 's' to the end and continue to pronounce the word as you always would, which, in this case, includes the 's' sound. The article is the only way you know it's plural.


bears eating lemon!! really!? oh please Doulingo stop giving us weird sentences!!


quand la vie vous donne des citrons, donner à ces citrons pour ces ours! (:


No wonder bears always seem so cross ... :)


At least the animals are eating other things now...in previous lessons they would only eat 'pommes' :D


Les ours ne mangent pas des pommes. Les ours mangent des citrons.


"DES citrons." Shouldn't that be SOME lemons?


It can be "some lemons", but the "some" can also just be implied. Like you can say "I'm eating popcorn" or "I'm eating some popcorn" and it means the same thing.


Is "ours" feminine? If not, how am i supposed to tell plural from singular? It didn't accept "le ours mange des citrons".


No, it's masculine but it would be l'ours either way. And the pronunciation is very different. Lurs vs layz-urs.


It's not "le ours" because "ours" starts with a vowel. It's "l'ours" whether female or male. That's why you were marked as incorrect.


Delicious meal for a bear indeed.


To me, in the audio version, both 'ours' and 'citron' are pronounced very strangely. When this happens, [us humans] try to find a logical match but this sentence is unlikely to arise in everyday french life! Come on Duolingo - you are great but - please stop inventing nonsensical sentences just to include words that you want to test - please. Rant over!


Is 'ours' used for both 'bear' and 'bears'? Why 'the bear' isn't used for 'les ours'?


Yes. «L'ours» («le ours» contracted) = "the bear," «les ours» = "the bears." «Les» is the plural definite article, so it wouldn't ever be "the bear."


thanks. can 'les ours' be 'the bears'?


I simply wrote 'est ' instead of eat... This app is very good, but I think it needs to be able to recognize simple typos...


It does recognize them. It recognizes them as errors.


How come in this sentence you can here the s on the end of "les" and "ours"? Do you pronounce the s in les if a noun that starts with a vowel follows or something?


Confused about the pronunciation of the s at the end of ours.... thought we weren't supposed to pronounce PDST at the end of nouns...???


It is an exception to the rule. The "s" is pronounced.


That audio sound like "Ils ours mangent des citrons"


I can't help you with what you think you heard. But try the audio again a few times and listen carefully.


Why cannot I use "de citron" instead of "des citrons"? Shouldn't it be accepted as well?


No, you can't use "de citron". Let's back it up a little. "Un citron" = a lemon. "Des citrons" = lemons, or (some) lemons. "Les citrons" = the lemons. English does not have a specific counterpart to the French "des" (meaning the plural of "un" or "une"). If it helps the expression in English, you may use "some" when you are only referring to more than one, but it is nearly always ignored in English. English nouns can easily be distinguished in spelling and by hearing. French nouns often sound exactly the same in singular or plural form so in French, the "des" is very important. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/fl/Du-De-La-Deshellip-Expressing-Unspecified-Quantities-In-French.htm


I answered 'The bears are eating lemons' and it was marked wrong. DL show me the same sentence as correct :/


Cannot hear what she says in the beginning.


If you here monge it normaly means mange in french (eat)


This is the first time in my memory that the correct answer has required the verb modifier "are" to specifically indicate action in the present moment. "X eats Y" and "X are eating Y" have both been acceptable before now. Are bears special somehow?


I am the only one who hears "Les ours" as "Lay-Zeus" ?


i do not understand why it is not "the bears are eating SOME lemons the previous question was Je mange des fraises rouges and the right answer was I eat SOME red strawberries. Go figure.....


"The bears eat the lemons" is equally correct.

[deactivated user]

    Bears do not eat lemons.


    Shouldn't the noun bears be written in a plural form?


    It is: "les ours" = (the) bears.

    In the singular: "l'ours" = the bear

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