"Des pommes, lesquelles ?"

Translation:Apples, which ones?

February 13, 2013

This discussion is locked.


This is an excellent example of Duo's teaching method.

Construct a phrase which can only be translated correctly by noticing that singular laquelle/ which one has a plural form, lesquelles/ which ones ,which must must be used because it has to agree with the rest of the phrase.

Duo wants to know if you can translate the words provided, not guess at the meaning and come up with something that means more or less the same thing.

If you write some apples then they know you noticed that it is plural. If you write which ones then they know that you noticed that plural apples results in which ones being in the plural form as a result.

Accepting which apples as an answer is not an accurate translation of the words provided nor does it fulfill the main point of the exercise, namely to get students to show they noticed the plural form of lesquelles.


I'm just freshening up my old French skills on here, and my automatic response was "of apples, which?" because in my head the French speaker was asking "out of the set of apples, which are you referring to?" But that's too complicated for Duolingo. So I'm wrong. Except I'm not.


I like natsukilove2's translation better. It is better to translate DIRECTLY to English. That way you think more like a native French speaker.


I can see where your coming from Northern guy but still not sure if it solves the problem. Surely the way to test the usage lesquelles in plural form is through translating the sentence from English to French. Trying to do it in reverse doesn't work at this point IMHO as people have already realised that plural nouns change the forms of other words in the sentence when written in french but in English they often remain the same (sorry finding it difficult to explain myself here). Therefore when it came to writing the sentence in English we didn't see the need to pluralise 'which'. In English if you wanted to say which one then it would be which apple or which of the apples. ' Which apples' assumes plural anyway. Do you always have to write which one/ones when using Lesquel/le/s? This links with another comment you made as well so pertinent here perhaps.


In this example where someone may have asked for some apples/ des pommes from a multitude of apples, the subject responds with either which apples or which ones. Duo has indicated that the subject responded Des pommes, lesquelles. This is best translated as Some apples, which ones?.

Duo has accepted which as a correct translation of laquelle in other examples. That means it probably is common to do so in regular conversation. Basically what I am saying is that if you get in the habit of translating quelle and laquelle into English as the same word you can probably get away with it.(if you aren't being tested for accuracy) But it you try doing that in reverse, from English to French, you can run into problems.

If you regard laquelle as meaning which one and quelle as meaning which you won't go wrong. If you regard them as interchangeable then you might have a problem at some point.

From French to English, no problem. From English to French, quelle doesn't cut it.

This example neatly illustrates that.


The problem with translating to "Some apples, which ones?" is that it does not make sense in English.

[deactivated user]

    I absolutely agree! It isn't even a sentence. It taught me nothing, even though I responded correctly. I haven't a clue what this means, so it doesn't teach me what to do in instances where lesquelles is needed.


    I like natsukilove2's translation better. It is better to translate DIRECTLY to English. That way you think more like a native French speaker.


    This makes absolutely no sense in English...


    X: I'd like some of those fruit! Y: What kind? X: Apples! Y: Some apples, which ones?


    Yeah, this is completely unnatural, nobody would say this. I can possibly imagine some very specific scenarios where it might not sound entirely nonsensical, but that's not the norm. Such a sentence definitely shouldn't be included in a language learning/practice task.


    This might not make sense to us in English but it makes sense in French. We cannot apply our rules to their language. When we try to translate literally, sometimes it seems unnatural. I agree with northernguy that we should think of 'which' and 'which one' in the context of the sentence.


    But that means it can't be used as a French-English translation exercise. By all means do it in the other direction, but we can't be expected to translate into unspeakable garbage and docked points if we fail.


    Repeating part of what someone just said as an introduction to a question is a standard practice. It is part of being a good listener. It is suggested as an aspect of being courteous. It is included in sales training courses.

    Because it asks people to expand on their own thoughts it reduces stress. If you ever had a serious conversation with a good doctor, lawyer, salesman, policeman, person responsible for possibly hiring you, negotiator, or therapist, where they wanted information from you, then you have been exposed to the technique.

    Not only is it perfectly natural, it is so natural that people don't even notice it.

    If you want people to pay attention to you, just use their name. If you want people to feel good about giving you information about something, just repeat something they said and ask them to expand on it.


    @secretsecaret Ok then, let's take a situation shall we ?

    You're a grocer, you have two different kinds of apples in your store.

    A customer asks :

    • "I'd like some apples."
    • "Some apples, which ones ?"

    It's very important to repeat the request in a commercial context, it's a technique used to imply that we completely understood what the customer needs. You don't HAVE TO do it, but it's not surprising if you do. I see no grammatical mistake here.

    Also, I don't know why you're talking about "My xxx, which ones" or "Mes xxx, lesquels", because it's not the exercise.

    You can be a native speaker and still be wrong concerning your own language, I know I was (and more than once). Anyway, I doubt you can convince me that this exercise is useless or grammatically incorrect, so unless you have other insights to share, I think we'll have to agree to disagree ^^.


    I feel the same way as northernguy for this sentence. Even though it may sound odd and unnatural, it's a pattern that can be used often in a customer/seller discussion (or other types of service than selling).


    Unlike northernguy, I agree that the English version of the phrase feels very contrived. It's unlikely to be something you'd ever hear, because unless they were hard of hearing, or a parrot, I suspect whomever you were talking to would forego repeating "some apples" back at you and simply stick with the latter part of the sentence, "which ones?".


    Please understand that your own personal experience of the English language is not the sum total of all the ways that others might use it.

    Some apples, which ones? is a very reasonable account of a possible interaction between a customer and a vendor. Anybody who does a lot of shopping in places like a farmers' market is likely to at some point to engage in something comparable. If a person's total shopping experience is limited to supermarkets and the like, where the only interaction is with the cashier, then they are not as likely to experience it.

    When I have used a comparable phrase with customers they immediately understood what I said, just as I expected that they would. When vendors used comparable phrases with me I had no difficulty figuring out what they meant.


    @secretscaret I have no idea what YOU're talking about honestly.

    Both of these sentences are correct grammatically, and can be used in real discussions.

    They're not likely to be used often, that's for sure, but it's still correct. You have to keep in mind that a sentence out of context can easily seem confusing or incorrect.

    I had doubts about French sentences (I'm a native French speaker), but once I made some research to be sure, I found out it was perfectly correct French.

    [deactivated user]


      French is not English. Don't expect it to be like English.

      By the way, the sentence actually makes sense. It sounds a bit unusual though.


      Agreed, not sure what all of these folks are going on about. In fact I think I actually used this exact phrase in English when I worked in produce so many years back.


      "Apples, which ones?" should be correct too. You don't need to add the "some" in English as you do in French.


      If I remember correctly, the lesson 'des lettres, lesquelles ?' accepts 'Letters, which ones?' as an answer. So it makes no sense this one doesn't as well.


      as of july 5, 2018, this answer is accepted [it was the only correct option for my word bank exercise - 'apples' was capitalized]


      Wouldn't "Which apples?" also be correct?


      It's not accurate. The meaning is about the same, but not quite. And even then, the structure of the sentence is not the same.

      "Quelles pommes ?" = "Which apples ?"


      Likewise, 'which of the apples'?


      I wrote "Of the apples, which ones?" and it was incorrect. Is there anything wrong with this translation?


      @GavinBe. It is a case of knowing English usage. "Des" can translate word-for-word to "Of The"(De+Les) but is not said in this context in English. "Des" in this case translates to "Some"


      How can you say "is not said.." when I could most definitely see that very usage! "OK..you've got the Bosc pears you wanted; now, of the apples here, which ones do you want? Trouble is that "not in this context" is not an argument, because there is no context! Hence the confusion.


      Blimey Elaine I can hear you shout from here. I Can imagine the example you gave but surely it is a rather limited one? Le chant des oiseaux (The song of the birds) is a more general context but even then we'd most likely condense it to "The birdsong" but DL would probably mark that down, wanting us to show that we understand the alternative uses of "Des", they seem to work that way. I feel that you're shooting the messenger. I do agree, though, that I could have used more appropriate terminology and thank you for pointing this out.


      so why not "From the apples, which ones?"

      I understand the partitive nature of "des" which leads to the translation as "some," but why not as "of/from the"?


      I second this question. Why not translate as "De + les pommes, .." ?


      Mostly because of the apples, which ones? doesn't make sense.


      Eh idk. If I were being shown a group of apples and asked "of the apples, which ones?" I would know that I'm being asked to chooses some of those apples. It makes sense to me.


      I cant hear the difference between the singular and plural can some one help me


      Same here. I listened to it over and over again, even after getting the translation, and I just can't understand how anyone can tell she's saying "pommes" and not "pomme". They sound exactly the same. Am I missing some sort of context clue?


      They sound the same because there is no difference =) The plural ending usually isn't pronounced in French. So, yes, they should sound the same. You'd probably ask how to figure out the form then? By listening what form the article in. Here it is "des" and you can hear it, which means the second word is "pommes" (which you can't hear).


      Why can't this simply be, "Apples, which ones?", in the same way that you could (I believe) say "Je mange des pommes / I am eating (some) apples"?


      If they want to insist that "Which apples?" is not a valid answer (though it is more natural in American English than the given translation), Duo should at least get the punctuation right. "Apples, which ones?" is a comma splice that would be marked down in English composition. The correct answer would be "Some apples? Which ones?" or "Apples? Which ones?"

      [deactivated user]

        Yes! Excellent explanation. Thank you!


        what is the difference between lesquels and lequelles? Is the first plural masculine and the second plural femine? and there are still quelle and quelles. I'm confused!


        "Lesquels" is plural masculine, "lesquelles" is plural feminine.

        As for "quel" vs "lequel" and all variations, have a look at this link :



        when do i use lesquelles and lesquels?


        "lesquelles" is for feminine plural.

        "lesquels" is for masculine plural.


        Hi Arjofocolovi, DL seems to have structured two slightly different questions. One is "Des pommes ? Lesquelles ?", the other "Des pommes, lesquelles ?". The only difference, the question mark after "pommes" in the first and not the second. What subtlety is DL searching to highlight? Is there a a difference? DL has until now seemingly ignored punctuation, does this mark a change in policy?


        There's not much of a difference between the two. The only one which could change the meaning is that the first one could imply a more surprised tone than the second one.


        is this when you're in a market and you're saying "some apples, which ones?" kind of odd. just saying :)


        More like when you are working in the market and someone says they want some apples, perhaps a Duo student whose grammar is good but pronunciation a little weak, so you reply..Some apples, which ones?


        You are so right, Northernguy. Whenever I was asked for a ticket to a destination I would Always repeat the request and then state the fare. However would you agree that a question mark after the "Some apples" part would have been in order for this task? Or if it was audio an inflection at the end of "Some apples" ?? Maybe that would have made the task a little more definite?


        Not made myself completely clear... What I mean is for a vendor to say just Some apples, Which ones? for me would sound a tad sarcastic. But to say Some apples? Which ones? would sound friendly/inclusive and it is the ommition of the ? after the Some apples which can all too easily thwart a learner here. No?



        Good point! You are correct. In English, such a phrase should be couched in disarming tones to avoid accidentally conveying sarcasm. I'm not sure what tone should or could be used in French to to do the same thing. A question mark after some apples would have eliminated much of the need for discussion on this thread. As a bald statement it seems a little awkward.


        In French is it proper to end a sentece with which ones or of the like?


        I feel like the closest actually-used English phrase would be 'the apples'. It's not a literal translation, but to an Anglophone i feel like that sounds a lot better - and I feel like it's weird to have points docked for translating into my native tongue and using phrasing that makes sense in more than one very specific and largely unused circumstance.


        Some people are saying that this sentence is natural in French; can someone please give me a French example where a sentence like this would be used? Because that translation would never be used as a single sentence in English.


        So on my last question i was marked wrong for translating "what is it that you drink" too literally, but now "some apples, which ones" is an appropriate answer?!


        While "un" (or "une") is the equivalent undefinite singular article in French for "a" (or "an") in English, the indefinite plural article ("des" in French) is generally omitted in English or translated as "some". Accordingly, I wonder why Duo does not accept my answer when I translate [Des pommes, lesquelles?] as [Apples? Which ones?]? It insists that the answer should be "Some apples?" Please, explain.


        "Apples, which ones?" is a strange little fragment. Not a sentence, but two separate questions. I think it's the comma that bugs me. Better: "Apples? Which ones?" with a rising intonation after each question mark. There is a trend towards replacing full stops and question marks with commas. I'm a bit "underwhelmed" by it, but who knows - maybe it will catch on.


        1) Can I remove the comma in this french sentence and say 'Des pommes lesquelles?' ? 2) Can I rearrange the sentences to be 'Lesquelles des pommes?' ?


        The answer is no to 1) and 2).


        Please what's the difference between quelles and lesquelles


        Quelles is which, and lesquelles means which ones. :)


        I don't understand why, "Some apples, which?" isn't acceptable.


        Is anyone else having trouble pronouncing this correctly??


        I understand completely the translation however my grammar in English prevents me from getting this "correct". This is not English for anyone over a toddler's age(who speaks English as a first language) this is what makes me upset about duolingo that there is no way to contact developers to fix things like this. Which are easy solves in the programming.


        Why is "Des pommes, lesquels" accepted as an answer in the audio exercise? Isn't only "lesquelles" acceptable here since "pomme" is feminine? (Unfortunately there is no report button for 'my answer should NOT have been accepted' :p )


        Apples which one. Is that even English?


        Should it be " which apples "

        [deactivated user]

          In English, if one were to actually say this incomplete sentence/grouping of sentence fragments, a semicolon would be necessary, not a comma. In French, is a semicolon not used?


          Omg This is a scam


          The apples, which ones....this was my answer and should have been accepted as right


          Joelly487226 "Des pommes" is either "some apples" or "apples". It cannot be "the apples", which would be "les pommes." I hope this helps.


          Under my answer, Duo said that I had a typo and that "Des pommes, lesquels?" was correct. Shouldn't it be "lesquelles?" Why did Duo suggest the plural masculine?

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