"belive in" and "believe" are two different concepts. To believe someone means you accept what they are telling you as the truth. To believe IN someone means you are of the opinion that they can do something.
"The sky is red" "I believe you".
"I can win this race" "I believe in you"
Neither phrase would work in the other scenario. See the difference?
You can take away from this experience that the drop-down hints are not all viable words to be used at will in the sentence put before you. In short, never, never grab a drop-down hint and plug it into the sentence expecting Duo to just accept it. I recommend opening another tab on your browser with a link to a good French-English dictionary: http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/french-english/croire/20494
In that case, you would use croire à. http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/french-english/croire/20494
Not necessarily. In a situation where a group of men are kidnapping children from the area, you are not talking about any children in particular, but you are talking about very specific men.
"These men drive around in a bright van filled with toys and candy, telling neighborhood children that they are going to take them to Disney World. Children believe the men and willingly climb in, never to be seen again."
Pretty dark, but its the only example I could think of on the fly.
I thought of like, policemen and fire fighters who children in the area would know by name and look up to.
We are translating into English. In part of this exercise "trust" was offered as a translation of "croire".
In English, "the children believe/trust the men" are very similar translations, and I believe/trust that either one should be accepted.
In English as well as in French, different words have different meanings in different contexts.
It can mean "men" when you are making a generality about all men.
"Les hommes sont plus grands que les enfants" is "Men are bigger than children"
Since I'm making a statement about all men, and all chlidren, I need to say "les hommes" and "les enfants". This idea applies to all nouns, not just people.
"Children believe men" would a logical sentence in English if you were making a statement about children in general and men in general. It is not unnatural. "Children believe the men" would be rather unnatural because you'd be referring to all children in general but specific men, and I can't think of a situation where that is likely to be the case.
In English, if you just say, "Children believe the men," it's going to be understood as a generality, viz. it's equivalent to "In general, children believe the men" as opposed to "Some children believe the men." For generalities, you want to use the definite article in French.
Wait what? I was under the impression that for generalities we used the indefinite article des, and for specifics i.e these children believe the men we would use Les.
To clarify, all this time Duo taught me that if I was speaking about all the children in the world, or children in general, I needed to use the indefinite article, des. But if I wanted to speak about a certain group of children I need to use Les.
While I understand your point, the problem here is that the sentence Children believe the men could mean one of four things.
1). (In general)All children believe a certain group of men. 2). A certain group of children believe a certain group of men. 3). A certain group of children believe all men (in general). 4). (In general) All children believe all men (in general).
Its because of this ambiguity that I think the sentence should translate to The Children believe the men, pointing to a specific group of children believing a certain group of men.