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She is an American cook who is known for using large amounts of butter in everything she cooks.
It asked me to mark all correct translations for: Les filles mangent du beurre.
- \1. The girls are having butter.
- \2. The girls eat butter.
- \3. The girls are eating butter.
Why is translation 1 not correct?
If there's a sentence like "The girls have butter.", I don't think it can be accepted because the meaning of "have" is ambiguous. However, if it's like translation 1, "have" can only mean "eat" because the meaning "own" can't be in the present continuous tense. I think it's more of a problem about English than French.
UPDATE: @Sitesurf answered my question. Thank you!
i think English speakers say that in casual conversation but I don't think it's correct to say someone is "having" something to eat. Like I am "having" a cookie. It is often said though. Or maybe the software is programmed with that expression. I just think it's probably not very proper though.
Actually, it is correct in the same way that it communicates the same thing.
For the purposes of basic education in French though, I think Duolingo rather us focus on the individual meaning of words rather than get caught up in translation.
I've been studying French for a while and there are plenty of things in French that if they were translated directly into English would sound weird.
Fille is a feminine noun, so it's preceded by la.
Les sounds like "lay". La sounds like "lah", Le sounds like "luh" or "l-ooh" (It's very hard to type out how a word sounds.)
Both fille and mange are both audibly indistinguishable from filles and mangent. When speaking, you differentiate them through context.
It may help to go to google translate to hear the differences since they have a better sounding translation.
There are Tips&Notes in the program that you can access at any time from a PC. In addition, you can get explanations from such sources as: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/articles_4.htm
"de" is a preposition used in many cases, including the forming of "partitive articles".
The word 'do' is not needed, as the sentence will have the same meaning without it. As a general rule, I would not type out words that are not required to give the sentence the correct meaning since using them may lead to your response being marked as incorrect even though it technically isn't. Besides, most people wouldn't include extra words in their sentences either. Just food for thought.
When the meaning is "some butter, rice, soup, luck, water, money..." ie when the meaning is "an undefined quantity of an uncountable thing", the French article will be du, de la or de l'
- du in front of a masculine word starting with a consonant: du pain, du riz
"du" is the contraction of preposition "de" + definite article "le"
de la in front of a feminine word starting with a consonant: de la soupe, de la chance
de l' in front of any word starting with a vowel or a non aspired H: de l'eau (fem), de l'argent (masc)
"de l' " is the elided (drop the vowel and replace it by an apostrophe) form of preposition "de" + definite articles "le" and "la"
With some expressions of quantity you use "de" instead of "du", "de la" or "de l' "
- Beaucoup de riz. = A lot of rice
- Beaucoup de beurre. = A lot of butter
- Beaucoup d'argent = A lot of money
- Un verre de vin. = A glass of wine
- Un verre d'eau. = A glass of water
- Une assiette de riz. = A plate of rice
Note: "Un verre à vin" = A wine glass
La makes a "lah" sound. Les makes a "lay" sounds. Le makes a "luh" sound. The particles (la,les,etc) and the context of the situation will often be your best indicators of plural or not.
If you are stumped on the sounds, put both sentences into google translate and hit the listen. It usually gives you a pretty good idea of the difference.
une viande, la viande is feminine.
un beurre, du beurre is masculine
The only way to learn genders is to memorize them as follows:
- meat = une-viande
- beurre = un-beurre
This is the only way to remember nouns' genders properly.
Later, when you know a lot of words, you can also look at lists of endings that dictate genders (example: nouns ending in -tion are feminine).
When "café" is used alone, it is liquid coffee, something you drink and not eat.
In addition, I am surprised you could pick "café" because, as far as I know, the other words proposed were "oignon" and "viande", in the exercise where you have to pick one solution form the little menu.
Or was it a MCQ?
"du" is the contraction of preposition "de" (= of) and masculine singular definite article "le".
This contraction is mandatory.
In this sentence, the meaning in English is "the girls eat some butter".
In French, to translate this notion of "an undefined quantity of a mass thing", you have to use a partitive article.
The partitive article you need for "beurre" (masculine noun) is "du beurre".
You are given an incomplete sentence, like: "les filles mangent du..."
Then you are offered 3 options, of which 2 are wrong.
To fill in the hole in the sentence, after "du", you need a masculine singular noun.
Therefore if you are proposed a plural noun or a feminine singular noun, these will be wrong.