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  5. "She knows men."

"She knows men."

Translation:Elle connaît les hommes.

February 17, 2013



Surely to most English speakers the sentence "She knows men" would more strongly infer that she 'understands' men rather than she has male acquaintances. In my opinion "Elle comprendre les hommes" is a better translation.


The verb taught here is "connaître", which means "to be familiar with" or "to be acquainted with".

"Elle comprend les hommes" would inevitably back translate to "she understands (the) men".


I agree with you. This is how I understand the English sentence, therefore my French version was marked wrong.


I think both interpretations are valid depending on the context.


Are savoir and connaître used the same way as their Spanish counterparts?


As far as I remember, yes.


Perhaps a silly question, but why is "Elle connaît les hommes" acceptable as a translation? Doesn't "les" indicate by design "the", suggesting that it's instead "she knows the men" rather than "she knows men"? My translation was accepted (Elle connaît des hommes) but I just wanna make sure I understand les/des.


Here "les hommes" means "men" in general, therefore, you have to use the definite article.

And "elle connaît des hommes" would be better reflected by "she knows some men".


So the question not specifying whether it wanted 'The men' or 'Some men' is the reason both are acceptable?
This also puzzled me a bit, my English mind is wondering why we can't just ditch 'Les' or 'Des' altogether if they're too specific for the occasion.


In English, you can use "the" or nothing; in French, you must use "les" or "des".

"Les" is used if the men are specific (the men) or if all men are referred to (men in general as a category, all men in the world).

"Des" is the plural form of "un" or "une", so "des hommes" is the plural of "un homme" (a man).

"Elle connaît les hommes" was the original sentence, meaning "she knows men in general". The translation to English was "she knows men" and now you have to back translate it to French. If you consider that she knows men means that she knows some men, you will say "elle connaît des hommes". If you consider that she know men as a species, you will say "elle connaît les hommes".


Why connaître instead of savoir? What is the difference?


knowing people or places is always "connaître"


Defn: savoir: "Avoir des connaissances sur quelque chose, quelqu'un " http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais/savoir/71232?q=savoir#70460. I think there are two distinct meanings of "know" possible here and the verb could be connaître or savoir


You can indeed "savoir des choses sur quelqu'un" but not "savoir quelqu'un".


So how would you express "The psychiatrist knows abusive women"? Meaning that the psychiatrist is thoroughly knowledgeable about the dynamics of the personality. The definition of connaître is all about familiarity and the definition of savoir is all about knowledge. Is it simply rarely/never done or is there a reason one cannot express knowledge of a personality using savoir quelqu'un? Savoir des choses sur... does not seem to have the same meaning.


I also find this point interesting. "She knows men" in English is more likely to mean that she is (thoroughly) aware of how men behave. Less so to indicate that she knows (connaitre) people that happen to be men. Is that still 'connaitre' then?


Many languages like French distinguish "knowing" people and "knowing" facts. We use this because we are talking about people, not knowing facts


So only when she knows specific men, you use the circumflex "î"?


No, it is just how the 3rd person singular conjugation is spelled. Here is a website that lists all conjugations of connaître:


Look under the present indicative, and you'll see that "il connaît" is just the odd one out.


Oh I mentioned it because Duolingo gave two valid options:

Elle connait des hommes Elle connaît les hommes

Bug in the system then?


No, I think it is because for a few years there has been a "recommendation" in France to simplify the spelling of certain words and the circumflex î can be changed to a normal i in a number of words, of which this one.


Why l'hommes is wrong in this case?


You don't contract the plural. So it's les hommes or (singular) l'homme. When you hear the plural in speech, you can hear the liason, lehz'omme, or something sort of like that.


Why is it 'connaît' not sais??


"connaître" is used for people and places.


les can also be l'. I find this annoying and aime means 'love' not 'like'


No, "les" and "l'" are not interchangeable.

  • je l'aime => him, her, it
  • je les aime => them

  • if "l' " is him or her => I love him / I love her

  • if "l' " is "it" => I like it

  • if "les" represents human beings or pets => I love them

  • if "les" represents animals or things => I like them


Another question Sitesurf, as you kindly told me that aimer cannot mean love for places, as I had previously thought. Can aimer mean love in connection with ideas? As someone told me this also.


If you love a place or an idea, the verb is the same: adorer.


Thank you Sitesurf.


sait means knows are the same too


Connaître=to be familiar with (i.e. people, skills, places) Savoir= to know (i.e. facts, etc.)


She knows men strongly implies, I think, that she knows how men act, not that she knows specific men. Thus the verb savoir should be correct, no?


With people and places, the verb is "connaître".


Yes, but my point is that this is not people; it is behavior in general. Because this sentence is really saying, in a common reading, "She knows how men act." And that would use savoir. Thus it should be correct.


She knows how men act = elle sait comment les hommes agissent.

Your sentence is not about knowing men but the way they act. This is what makes the difference between "savoir" and "connaître".

"Savoir" is to know something you have learned and you cannot learn people or places.

"Connaître" people or places is about "being familiar with".


Exactly. I'm glad you understand now.


I was wondering what I was supposed to understand, for it was not absolutely clear whether your first comment had to do with "les hommes" as a generality vs specific men.

In any event, just in case, if we were referring to specific men in this room, the sentence would also be "elle connaît les hommes dans cette pièce", meaning she already met them, is familiar with them, has worked with them, whatever.


In response to your ?. Again, this phrase, in English, does in fact mean, in one of its meanings, "She knows how men act" without specifying the words, "how" and "act". So savoir is, in this reading, correct.


Je parie qu'elle fait.


If this is a translation for "I bet she does", it is not working.

The corresponding French comment would be "Je parie que oui" or "Je parie que c'est le cas". However, the verb "parier" is not so common in this context and you would say something like "J'en suis sûr(e)" instead.


in English the phrase she knows men would be used in the sense that she understands men, in which case comprendre would surely be correct. we would not simply say 'she knows men' in the sense that she is acquainted with some men. So I cannot agree that connaitre is correct here.


The sentence to correct eas " She knows men' How was I supposed to know that Duo wanted her 'know' to be replied to on 'Connaître' rather than 'Savoir' surely both should be marked as correct. I used Savoir, properly conjugated.


You are not supposed to know things before you learn them, especially on this course which teaches you by trial and error and gives you sentences as examples with no prior explanation (unless you read our Tips and Notes). Now, you will know that, as already explained a half dozen times on this very thread, "connaître" is the verb for people and places you are familiar or acquainted with.

More about this: https://www.thoughtco.com/savoir-vs-connaitre-1368940


Why isn't this "Elle connaît des hommes"? I assumed that "men" with no article in the English translation meant that it was an indefinite amount of men so I used "des." Would you also use "les" when talking about other general groups, like "I know boys" etc.?


"Elle connaît des hommes" is "she knows some men" = more than one, a few, as the plural of "elle connaît un homme/she knows a man".

French uses the definite articles for generalizations. So categories and concepts use "le, la, les".

Also note that the direct object of all appreciation verbs (aimer, aimer bien, adorer, préférer, apprécier, détester, haïr, admirer, respecter) is automatically considered as a generalization:

  • I like history = j'aime l'histoire
  • I love music = j'adore la musique
  • I hate spinach = je déteste les épinards.
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