In "met", the "t" is not pronounced (sounds like "meh"). In "mettent", the first "t" is pronounced (sounds like "met"). That is how you can tell the difference between "elle met" and "elles mettent".
In the context of clothing, "mettre" means "to put on". Many French words (and English ones, too) have different meanings that may only be apparent when viewed in context. FR "poser" = to put down.
In fact its almost exactly the same as english here.
I put the pencil down. Je mets le stylo.
I put on the dress. Je mets la robe.
English simply adds a proposition, probably for clarity to differentiate between putting on a dress and puttin down a dress.
Wouldn't 'They are putting on dresses' be a better translation, since one is not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition?
It's okay now- rules changed. I thought that, too. There was an episode of Golden Girls with Blanche Devereaux on that very subject: Blanche asks a citified woman,"Where y'all from?" To which the city woman replies, "From a place where we don't end our sentences with prepositions." Blanche then responds, "Ah, where y'all from ___ [rhymes with itch]?"
I realize this is from a year ago, but I can't help piping up in case anyone is reading. The rules haven't changed, at least in this regard. This particular rule has, in fact, never existed. Ending a sentence with a preposition is absolutely within the rules, no matter which variant of the Queen's English you happen to be speaking.
Yes, it is known as a grammar myth, Another is "Never split infinitives".
Download free Android app Conjugate French. It's easy to use, and it really helps.
Thank you. Anybody knows the developer and exact name? I've found tons of apps, but none named exactly "Conjugate French"
The one I was using when I wrote the above seems no longer to be available on Playstore. Perhaps if you try one, you can post your opinion. Or, maybe someone else can recommend an app they've used.
What's the difference between met and porte? They kinda have the same meaning
Mettre is "to put on" and porter is "to wear" (in this context).
Absolutely. I work with amputees and prosthetics. We routinely instruct patients how to "don" and "doff" their new limbs. OK, not widely used. But definitely used.
Yes! In a thousand seasonal renditions of Deck the Halls--! "Don -- we now our gay -- apparel" -- You some kind of Scrooge?!
The lyrics to that song were written in 1877. But the point is that in day-to-day conversation, most English-speakers don't use "don" in that way. Though perhaps some BrE speakers prefer it. What goes down in poetry (and song lyrics) doesn't always pass muster for everyday speech. On Duolingo, the effort is to use common words for ordinary speech. We're here to learn French.
Wow! Are we not allowed just a little levity on the way?
I am desperately sorry to have offended you; I have valued your contributions greatly and apologise for what you have taken as an offense, which was never, never my intention.. Clearly I assumed a familiarity that was not warranted. How can I atone?
No offense taken. What one person may propose in a joking manner becomes the next thing to a death threat for others. Bonne journée !
Wierd. I said they put on The robes and got it wrong because it should be Some robes??? This isn't correct to even say They put on some robes. Some???
"Des robes" would simply be "dresses", not "the dresses". Duolingo was probably trying to say that if you want to translate "des" into something, it must be "some" and not "the". Otherwise, it is not necessary to put anything in English. "They are putting on dresses."
I wrote "They put dresses." and it marked it wrong because I didn't add "on". However, I know that "mettre" also means "to put" in French. So my sentence could be right as well. They may be putting some dresses on the bed, for example. I'd like to learn if I know something wrong?
The expression "they put dresses..." absolutely requires something else. They could be put down, put away, or put on, but not just "put" without saying anything else. The meaning of mettre that fits this context is "put on". This is what English speakers say when they take clothing out of the drawer/closet/cupboard and move it onto one's body so that you are now wearing it.
I think that in that case there must be an indirect object of sort to indicate where are they putting the dresses (sur le lit, or something else). I don't think you can just say elles mettent des robes in that context.
Thank you very much for this quick and helpful reply, Ishana92! I know French and English work different in so many aspects and this is one of them I guess. I will keep this information in mind!
Technically 'The females put on dresses', preserves the full meaning in French, but I can accept why DL doesn't accept it.
That is because you never translate "elles" as "the females", ever! It is "they".
Because, while it does conserve the meaning of the sentence (in gender sense), it is not a direct translation, which is what is required here. Especially when it is much more simple and straightforward to directly replace pronoun for pronoun (ils/elles -> they) and not complicate. There are plenty of other places with complications. And anyway, translating "elles" as "the females" and "ils" as "the males" can be misleading and wrong since often they denote words that are inanimate and genderless in english. (if the group has males and females and they are getting dressed, for example, it is "Ils mettent des robes" and you cannot say "The males are getting dressed")
Ishana92- Just a bit of clarification on the last part of your comment. You seem to be saying that the sentence "Ils mettent des robes" could mean "They are getting dressed". That is not correct - it would mean "They are putting on dresses."
"Getting dressed" means putting on clothing - any clothing. Des vêtements
"Putting on dresses" is putting on a specific type of clothing - namely, a dress, or in this instance, dresses (plural). Des robes.
I could be wrong, but I think that you can use verb essayer for "to try (on)". So Ils/Elles essayent des robes. (i think essayent and essaient are accepted forms).
absolutely impossible to distinguish between singular and plural - one of the fundamental problems with this language.
Not impossible. I can hear the "t" in "mettent" quite clearly which tells me it is not the singular "met" in which the "t" is silent. The problem is in the hearing.
When shopping, I am either "trying on dresses" or "trying on some dresses". I don't think of it as trying on "the" dresses". Probably because "the" usually refers to a specific thing or set of things and when I shop, I don't usually know which dresses I will try.on, just that they will be dresses.
I'm not sure how your comment relates to the given sentence. Because they are not "trying on" the dresses, they are putting them on (the verb is "mettre" not "essayer"). The article used is the indefinite "des" which is the plural of "une". English has no real equivalent of that but "some" may be used; more often it is simply ignored. But it is not the definite article "les robes", so it is not "the dresses" but simply "dresses".
I agree with the comments below. My wife puts on many dresses before choosing which one to wear. Therefore 'Elle met des robes' is correct!
Sorry, it doesn't work that way. With the plural "mettent", the "t" will be heard if you listen for it. With the singular "met", the "t" is silent.
A no-win situation it seems. If the speaker enunciates elle meT for clarity it sounds like elles mettent --- ?!
The enunciation of the "T" is the indication that it is indeed "mettent". In the singular "met", the "T" is not pronounced.