"You read the little girls' letters."
Translation:Tu lis les lettres des petites filles.
Should it be "des petites filles"? I read a comment earlier saying that if there is an adjective between des and a plural noun, the des becomes de. Is this different in this case?
Here it is different because it is a possessive case: the letters belong to the little girls. therefore, the construction (adjective or not) is de+definite article, with usual contractions:
- la lettre du garçon (contraction of de+le)
- la lettre de la fille
- les lettres des garçons (contraction of de+les)
- les lettres des filles (contraction of de+les).
But I have seen sentences with possessive construction that use "de" and not "des" as long as there is an adjective in between. I'm sure that what you say is correct, but it is a very confusing rule/excpetion...
I thought read was the one that sounds like "red" rather than the one that sounds like "reed" - so it could've been past tense.
True, the passé composé: "tu as lu / vous avez lu les petites lettres des filles."
Not wrong at all! if Duo has not listed it in the correct answers, you may report it.
The English possessive case, built with <the OWNER's OBJECT>, to mean <OBJECT of the OWNER> does not exist in French.
Therefore, "the little girls' letters" meaning "the letters of the little girls" only translates in "les lettres des petites filles", where "des" is a contraction of DE+ LES:
- la lettre de la petite fille (no contraction needed)
- la lettre du petit garçon (contraction of de-le)
- la lettre des petits enfants (contraction of de-les)