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  5. "Je vais changer de chemise."

"Je vais changer de chemise."

Translation:I am going to change shirts.

February 15, 2013



why is it not "je vais changer ma chemise"?


if you say so, you will be understood, but it is not the most common way to say it.


Thanks for this. Yet another reminder that each language is different and has its own way of saying things.


so you only don't use it when saying my? or are there other ones it takes the place of


Duo's translation is the one we use: "je vais changer de chemise"


Mine says its English translation is "I am going to change shirts." Why plural?


In English grammar, that is how you say it when you are going to take one shirt off and putting on another. In French, they use the singular.


How come it doesn't become "de la chemise" in this case?


It's the same for "he will change his shirt" etc. Don't overuse "my", "her", "his", "your" in contexts like this in French, that is not how they say it.


I think it's helpful to think of the expression "changing shirts" in this context. For this we don't need a possessive object in English either.


I suppose a good analogue is "I'm going to have a change of clothes"?


The verb changer can be transitive or intransitive.

When changer acts as an intrasitive verb it can be used in various ways. One particular way changer can be used is in the sense of ‘to exchange one item for another of the same type’. In such uses the structure is:

changer + de + noun without a determiner


Je vais me laver et changer de robe. - I'll just have a wash and change my dress.

Je vais changer de chaussures. - I'm going to change my shoes

Il a de nouveau changé de voiture - He has changed his car again.

Il faudra changer de train - We will have to change trains.

Il a changé de places - He changed places

Change de chaîne ! - Change the channel !

changer de vitesse - to change gear

Il a changé de couleur. - It changed colour.

changer de direction - to change direction

Elle ne voulait pas changer d'opinion. - She did not want to change her opinion.

changer de coiffure - to change one's hair-style

changer d'avis - change one's mind

Note 1

Another use of changer when used as an intransitive verb is to mean to become different


le temps va changer - the weather is going to change

vous n'avez pas changé du tout - you haven't changed at all

Note 2

Another use of changer when used as an intransitive verb is to change (trains, etc)


il faut changer à Paris - you have to change at Paris


Thank you Nicholas Ashley. I always learn so much from your "formulas" and your examples.


I still don't see how singular shirt became pleural shirts. It just doesn't make sense at all !!!


For your convenience, I will here repeat what I said above: "These things are not necessarily correct when translated directly. Sometimes you have to take into account the conventions of speech in each language. In French, using the plural would imply the person was making a wholesale overhaul of his wardrobe. In English, at least in many places, using the plural just refers to the fact that you are changing one shirt for another. (But see other conversations on this thread - some English speakers do use the singular. <shrug>)"


Hello again Diana. Yes, Australians, New Zealanders and UK English speakers use the singular in the context '..change my shirt'. I can think of one situation where one might use the expression 'change shirts' and that is where an actor on a stage might be said to 'change shirts' in order to take on a different role. Generally though, to 'change shirts' to me, means that two people mutually exchange shirts. That is they each remove their shirts and swap. I'm taking far too long to finish my XP tonight...


I have never heard of its use in that context. That would be to trade or exchange shirts.


I know buddy...I was going to comment on that same point, especially after the whole sing./pl. jean(s) fiasco [and etc.] from previous lessons which rang a similar tune of confusion, but then I came to this simple conclusion:

Il faut commencer penser en français! c:


How about ' Il faut commencer A penser en francais ' , SourireCache? - de rien :)


Does changer always take de following?


No. It seems that « changer de » refers to replacement, e.g. "I'm going to change my shirt." --> « Je vais changer de chemise. » Just « changer » refers to modification, e.g. "The times are changing." --> « Les temps changent. »

References: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1495092 and http://www.wordreference.com/fren/changer


Could also be Je vais changer deux chemises, no?


It should not if correctly pronounced. Please try with Google Translate to get the difference between "de" and "deux"


That's a very subtle difference for an English speaker to notice. I can't tell the difference and every French person I've spoken to is very impressed with my accent. They say it's excellent, but that they detect a slight accent. I can pronounce the r and the u well, but the subtleties of the e's is something that I just can't seem to master.

For French people, the sound they have difficulty with in English is "oo" in words like "look" and "moon".


There is worse indeed: the pronunciation of "th" because it does not exist in French (mispronounced Z or SS or even V), + stress on appropriate syllables (French is rather "flat" in pronunciation) + diphthongs in general.


Oh yes. The (ze), think (sseenk). And don't forget about the "h". Many French people don't pronounce it at all, and of those who do it's often an exagerated pronunciation.

As for the flat pronunciation, that's one aspect of French that makes it easier to pronounce. Knowing which syllable to stress in English must be very difficult to learn. The verb "present" has the second syllable stressed, whereas the noun and adjective have the first syllable stressed. In the learn English Duo modules, these type of words are often mispronounced by the Duo bot.

Also in English it's not always clear how to pronounce the vowels. . "Live" has two different pronunciations depending on whether it's a verb or an adjective(or adverb). The Duo bot often confuses this one. The word "Iris" is a good example of two i's which don't have the same pronunciation.

But what's nice about learning English is that at least one doesn't have to memorize genders and the conjugations are much simpler.


@Sitesurf, regarding "desert/dessert" - that is something many Anglophones get muddled, at least when it comes to spelling. And of course, "desert" has two pronunciations of its own: The DESert is sandy, the soldier wants to deSERT his post. And the well-known but poorly understood "He got his just deSERTS" (meaning he got what he deSERVED). Judging from spelling, many people think this means something to do with pudding.

English is loaded with archaic words that only exist in very particular contexts. "Desert", meaning something deserved, has long faded from the language, except in the context of "just deserts".

What fun, eh?


I fully agree on genders and conjugations. For French people, genders are not a problem (except with rare words), because they started as babies. But conjugations are another story and too many adults still struggle with them.

I have no problem with present/present, but I still have to think before I say the English "desert" or "dessert", after so many years...

And the Duo bot makes lots of mistakes in French with liaisons in particular and with some words like "chemise" or "grise" (although I reported it many times) that she pronounces chemiss and griss.


@DianaM: you just taught me a lot... thanks!


If you wish to recommend these resources to a larger audience, you can create a new post with an appealing title on the general French forum here: https://forum.duolingo.com/topic/147


The English have a problem with diphthongs. I am a Scot, and when I say foot, my 'oo' is akin to a long version of the o sound in 'who, whereas when English people say it, it sounds like 'fut' . At school in England our French teacher required us to bring a mirros to class so that pupils could learn to make the correct shapes with their mouths to form French pronunciation. I'm told I have an excellent accent, but the downside is the moment I say something French speakers rattle back to me so fast I can't make it out. practice, I'm sure, will fix that. And this excellent course. @Sitesurf I've been watching some very good French TV on Netflix and Amazon, Call My Agent ( Dix Pour Cent) and Le Bureau des Legendes particularly, and of course Engrenages which is on BBC. They're all subtitiled but I'm hearing and understanding more and more of the dialogue. Is there anywhere on the Duolingo site to reccomend these resources?


shouldn't it be chemises?


We consider it like: I change my shirt for another shirt

If you use plural: "je change de chemises", it means that you will change all your shirts for other ones.


if I use des instead of de "chemises", would it mean anything?


"Je vais changer des chemises" would mean "I am going to (ex)change some shirts" as a number of shirts had a manufacturing defect and you were to exchange them.


is it a construction? changer+de? because I found another piece of information on a link posted by DasBertsch that made me think so. Thank you


"changer de" implies the replacement of one thing by another similar thing, usually clothing or shoes, but also jobs or other intangible things, like "changer d'avis".


I had this just now as a listening exercise and while I do understand after reading the comments that changer de chemise is more likely to be used, is there any way for me to hear a difference between des chemises and de chemise?


It is not only more likely to be used, it is the way to say it.

In a listening exercise, you should focus on the determiner and its sound:

"des" sounds like "day" and "de" sounds like "duh".

If you can hear the difference between "they" and "the", you should be able to hear the vowel sound difference between "des" and "de" because it is the same.


It does not say "my" in French!!


In French, it is not usual to say it, it is implied. In English, we do say it. That's part of learning translation.


Why should it be plural "shirts"? Wouldnt it be "des chemises" in that case?


These things are not necessarily correct when translated directly. Sometimes you have to take into account the conventions of speech in each language. In French, using the plural would imply the person was making a wholesale overhaul of his wardrobe. In English, at least in many places, using the plural just refers to the fact that you are changing one shirt for another. (But see other conversations on this thread - some English speakers do use the singular. <shrug>)


why "I am going to change the shirt" is not correct? I would say it is more correct than "my shirt". it suggests you are gonna change what you have on, regardless of whose the shirt is.


And also the "...a shirt" variant?


I am sorry but IMO just because people have heard a statement said often does not make it right. "I am going to change shirt" is not correct. I have combed through American and British dictionaries and not one example gives "change + singular noun" without adding something like "...for another". If talking about swapping things, it is always "change + plural noun".

These claims that "shirt" is OK would be equivalent to saying "I am going to lay down to rest" is OK because it is common. Wrong! "I am going to lie down to rest" is the grammatically correct sentence. "Lay" is the past tense of the word "lie" which means to position oneself in a horizontal position.

I lie down today. (Present)

I lay down yesterday. (Past tense)

I have lain down just a few minutes ago. (Past participle)





this makes sense but the answer given was-I am going to change my shirt


You can't translate this sentence literally across the two languages. Changer de chemise MEANS either "change shirts" or "change one's shirt". Therefore, Je vais changer de chemise MEANS "I'm going to change my shirt" or "I'm going to change shirts."


I said change shirts which is what is said in english!


What about the beginning of your translation?


why "I am going to change the shirt" was not accepted?


I am wondering if that may be because that sentence could be referring to changing the shirt that is not on you but perhaps on a mannequin:

je vais changer la chemise (du mannequin)

It seems as if the phrase changer de chemise/vêtements is understood to mean "to change shirts/clothes" that one is wearing.


Why I must use the plural "shirts" instead of "shirt"? May anyone explains it to me?


In "change shirts", "shirts" in plural considers the shirt you leave + the new one you put on.

In French, you only consider the one you leave, and the new one is not worth mentioning.


In England, we use the singular as well.


Why is 'I am going to change A shirt" not okay? de + une = de, de + la = de la :(


No, in a positive statement, « Je vais changer d'une chemise » would mean "I am going to change a shirt." In the negative version, d'une would become de: « Je ne vais pas changer de chemise. »


Je vais changer d'une chemise does not mean anything.

"Je vais changer une chemise" would mean "I am going to change one shirt" as if one from the pile had a manufacturing defect.

If you "change shirts", you consider the one you leave and the one you put on. In French only one is considered: "je vais changer de chemise" is fixed.

Of course if the thing you want to change comes in several items, you will use a plural noun: "je vais changer de chaussettes".


Why is "change 'to' shirt" not right? Doesn't 'de' mean 'to'? I thought it meant changing 'into' shirt (from say a sweater which is too warm or tanktop which is too cold.) Thanks!


"Change to/into shirt" doesn't make sense to me. It sounds like someone transformed from being human into a shirt. And even if you wanted to say someone went from wearing a sweater to wearing a shirt, you would say "change into a shirt”.

In any case, the French sentence is all about taking one shirt off and putting on another which in English we grammatically refer to as "changing shirts".


I don't see the plural noun in this sentence.


Whenever you don't understand something, rather than rush to post what makes it clear you do not understand, take a moment to read the discussion to see if your confusion has not already been addressed. You would then not add clutter that does not really help anyone. Please help to keep the discussions informative, useful and not cluttered with echoes that just make it hard for people to find answers they need.


So how would I say "I am going to change the shirt"... as I don't like the pattern .


I don't even understand what you mean. Change it by magic so it becomes a different shirt? Coz if you mean wear a different one or pick a different one, then in English you would say "change shirts".


If mere_de_chats is replying to Sue919013. In England we often are given presents with a gift receipt which means if you want to change the shirt because you do not like it, you can. Thus I ask how do you say "I want to change the shirt."


Oh OK, gotcha. My guess would be je veux changer la chemise.

And yes, I was addressing you. You can tell this because my response is indented under yours. If you hit "Reply" under a post you want to comment on, it indents your comment so it is clear what you are replying to.


In this case, "I want to change the shirt" is "Je veux échanger la chemise".


in a previous example, one had to translate chemises as shirt singular. Now we are told that chemise has to be translated as shirts plural. I don't get it.


You need not just focus on individual words but you must obey grammar rules in either language. If you take time to read the discussion, you would understand the reason plural is used in the English translation but not in French.

It is just like un pantalon is called "trousers" or "pants" in English. And des fruits can be either "fruits" or just "fruit".

So you must not learn language as if it were Mathematics whereby you expect everything to match exactly. You need to be open to discover differences between the languages.

Another example j'ai faim is "I am hungry". See what I mean?


in an earlier example we were told to translate chemises (plural) as shirt (singular). Nows we are old to translate chemise (singular) as chemises (plural). I am hopelessly confused.

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