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"Do you want to read newspapers?"

Translation:Voulez-vous lire des journaux ?

February 17, 2013



Can someone please explain when you would say les journaux vs. des journaux? I have seen it translated both ways and I can't find a pattern. For example, in a different entry, the English was "cats are animals" and it wanted "les chats sont les animaux." Why wouldn't it be "des animaux" or just "animaux" in that context? Thanks!


un/une (singular) or des (plural) = indefinite article = a/an (singular only) le/la (singular) or les (plural) = definite article = the (singular and plural)

therefore, a number of forms are missing in English (genders + plural indefinite article)

so please look at the singular form: veux-tu lire UN journal (do you want to read A newspaper) => the plural of "UN" is "DES", while in English, "a/an" has no plural.

if the English is "do you want to read THE newspaper (s) ", the French is "veux-tu lire LE journal (LES journaux) ".


well shouldn't "Tu veux lire les journaux?" be accepted since i can not know from english if it is going to be des/les...?


You can know.

"Do you want to read the newspapers" = "Est-ce que vous voulez lire les journaux?"

"Do you want to read newspapers [NB - no article]" = "Est-ce que vous voulez lire des journaux?"


it seems to me the question is asking if you want to read newspapers, in general, therefore wouldn't 'des' more specifically refer to some newspapers?


yes, you know: there is no "the" in the English sentence, so none either in French.


Sitesurf, I appreciate your advice but......... a moment ago you wrote that les was used for generalities, and I would have thought that in this instance it was the generality required, but duo does not give the option, only des. The comments above appear to contradict what you said in an earlier and separate comment in the same genre. So now I am really confused.


"do you want to read (some) newspapers?" is not a generality, as it would be with "do you (ever) read newspapers (in general)?"

Before translating, you have to consider the whole sentence and wonder what is meant.


But as I understand, there are two different des: 1. des = plural from of un/une 2. des = de + les, in which case 'des' is definite article, while 'de' in its indefinite counterpart. Please, correct me, if I'm wrong!


Basically, the difference comes from the verb, transitive or not:

-je lis un journal -> je lis des journaux = indefinite articles

-je parle du journal (de+le) -> je parle des journaux (de+les) = contracted (with preposition "de") definite articles


To extend the above, to use indefinite articles with "parler" - je parle d'un journal -> je parle de journaux (?) Is that correct?


I guess I'm with DianaM. I was thinking the sentence meant 'Do you want to read newspapers' as opposed to 'Do you want to read novels, or listen to the radio, or ...' which is why I used 'les'.


SO i just got this wrong on my last question last round for putting les and now ive remembered to put des it is decided to be les is correct again ....


read newspapers = read more than one newspaper, ie nothing specific like "the newspapers" (mentioned before).

je lis un (one) journal - je lis des (some/more than one) journaux

je lis le (the - spedific) journal - je lis les (the - specific) journaux

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