No worries Sandra mate; We've got Bow (stoop), Bow (and arrow) Bough (tree) Through, Threw, Rough, Ruff, Borough, Edinburg, Though, Throw, Thought, Abort and Caught, Ball,(Football) Ball, (Dance), Orb, Want, Font and on and on and on. We English have got plenty of balls for our language cannon. Learning a language was easier when we were two years old. Somehow we lose that amazing ability that the very young have, to learn. Anyroad, Des is the plural of Du, De La and D' which modify the noun. Du precedes a masculine singular noun. De La precedes a feminine singular noun. D' precedes a masculine singular noun beginning with a vowel sound, De L' precedes a feminine noun beginning with a vowel sound and Des precedes all plural nouns. They literally mean Of The or Some. Like Les They may be dropped altogether in translation to English in some instances: " Les homes et les femmes" (The men and women/Can also mean The Men And The Women). "J'aime du pain" (I like bread. Can also mean I like Some, or Some Of The bread. ) I hope that this has assisted rather than driven you even closer to insanity? :) JJ.
Thanks Jackjon, tomorrow I will write this down but it's 9.15pm and I have been at it for hours. I made the mistake of doing my lesson late afternoon after a busy day and have made the most stupid mistakes. Typing half French and half English on many occasions, also obvious plurals. For the first time since I started, I will not complete my target. Still not as good at English grammar as I would like to be but pedantic with spoken English.
Enjoy the rest of your evening, assuming you are in England, I'm in Africa.
Hello Sandra and Africa, our Dawn Of Humanity. I am indeed in England on a little boat in the North. Sandra, I thought that I knew my native English until I came to this site. Very young Oriental children with English as a second language correct my grammar! Embarrassing. But I'm happy to learn, anything. You will complete your target, just play along with it and keep it fun. I think French is a beautiful language but tricky to learn if one is older than 2 or 3. Votre ami, JJ.
The trick is to listen to the right part of the phrase in order to know if it is singular or plural.
In English you add an s to the noun and pronounce it. In French you do add an s to the noun but you do not pronounce it.
But it is still always possible to hear if it is singular or plural in Frnech. How? The article changes!
Un and une are singular forms and des is their corresponding plural form.
Le, la and l' are singular forms and les is their corresponding plural form.
Du, de la, de l' are singular forms and des is their corresponding plural form.
Always listen for the article!
It's about what the subject is. Just as in English the verb form changes between I am/you are/he is, or with regular verbs, 'I eat, he eats', in French the verb form changes according to the subject. English used to do this a lot more but we've lost it over time (think Shakespearean thou eatest).
For regular verbs ending in -er, the pattern is, drop the -er and add -e, -es, -e, -ons, -ez, -ent.
Je mange - I eat.
Tu manges - you (singular) eat.
Il/elle/on mange - he/she/it/one/etc eats.
Nous mangeons - we eat. (the extra -e- in this one is an exception)
vous mangez - you (you guys, or formal you) eat.
Ils/ells/etc mangent - they (masculine or mixed)/they (feminine)/etc eat.
You are correct,Dania, indeed the translation at the top of this page confirms it---almost but not quite. Maybe, just maybe Duo are drawing a line here between the sense that Ducks eat bread, only bread in "The ducks eat bread" and the ducks are eating bread at the moment. Here is a possible rare confusion where a straightforward translation from French simple present to English simple present wont work because it is misleading. Ducks don't only eat just bread. In order to convey the sense of the statement accurately one must either include the word "Some" for the simple present tense in English,ie "The ducks eat some bread" or one must use English present progressive if the word "Some" is dropped, ie "The ducks are eating bread". To me, this task feels like a trick. A trip. I love this with Duo, it keeps me on my toes. Some folk really dislike it.
I didn't bother reading all the comments (especially when it seemed to go just SLIGHTLY off topic)...but in case this hasn't already been addressed, there needs to be some sort of indication on the screen letting us know whether or not it's referring to a SINGULAR or PLURAL word/phrase. Had the french gender for duck been feminine, it would have been easier to distinguish in this example. So for situations like this, there needs to be something put in place to let us know. And to prevent people from getting complacent and using such an indicator as a crutch, it should be used in both situations (gender being or NOT being a giveaway).
OK CI. nearly everyone it seems has problems with the audio so you're not alone. However I've been to the top of this page and to me it clearly says "Pain" not "Pommes." May I suggest that you go to a pronunciation site and put the two side-by-side and go over them a few times? You will note the difference eventually. With respect, votre ami JJ.
Thanks, I have old ears, and failing, but will give it a try. The French could learn a few rules from Spanish about pronouncing the written letters. Even Crazy English is usually more straight-forward. Great shame the world did not take the suggestion of the 1930's Esperanto, and we would all be able to communicate with each other. Now, with English becoming the International Business Language, we have one of the most hodge-podge languages being adopted. Human intelligence and egotism at fault I guess.
Hey, JohnV, I couldn't agree more. English is so non-specific and yet is the international language for airlines! Hello? As for a business language, well hello corruption and fraud. Good morning depression and austerity while 8 people own more cash than the other 7 billion. Good here, innit? (I'm 70 by the road.) You put things well, lingot to highlight your post.JJ.
History of British Isles, early home of English, is different from many places. Being an Island, few could invade with enough power to over-run the islands, so they settled, and mixed, Vikings, Celts, Angleos, Saxons, Romans, etc. and all added their share to the language. I grew up in California where a quite different language is spoken than in the South-East, or New York or Boston or Chicago. Very different from British, or Scottish or Irish English. On a business trip to London, I met an Irishman and we talked for a while, and neither of us could understand more than 20-30% of what was said. Canadian (NE) is also nearly a different language. My Great-grand-parents on my mother's side were immigrants to California from Spain and France, on my Fathers side from Scotland and Ireland. (And I grew up speaking only Callifornia English, as none of my grandparents thought they should raise me bilingual. I was hurt by that, and bit by bit learned Spanish (I live in central Mexico) and just a bit of Japanese, since I have several close friends whose parents came before WWII and now in my old age am trying to learn a few words of French, just trying to get back at them I guess. Childhood desires seem to stay with us. j.
Oh! Tell me, tell me JohnV. On my grand father's side was Spain until they flew from the Inquisition. They were the Levi tribe and inter-married with Moors of North Africa. So as a start I have Jewish and Islamic blood in my veins. (Can you imagine the arguments that go on in my body?) Then on my grandmother's side; they came over supporting the invading Romans. Cir 20 AD. She was Sefardic. My father was true English (which is no such thing; a commixture of Celt Saxon, Angle and French.) So John that is Seven bloods running through my veins mate. Then, I slid down my mummy's chute as the Bow Bells were actually peeling. That means that I am not just an East Londoner, not just a Cockney, I am a Pearly. My daddy was a scientist and worked behind enemy lines in WW2, first in France and then in Burma (Myama). Duo wouldn't allow me to use my own name and so I tried his code name "Jackjon".Hence my username here. Let us grow old if it must be but we can choose Not To Grow UP! Hugs from a little boat in North Yorkshire England. I'm 70 By the road. JJ.
Jackjon... Enjoyed your short biography; sounds like you have as many or more blood-types fighting inside you for control as England has racial groups. Peace be on you or in you or whetever works. (just don't step in a piece if you can help it!) I will turn 79 in a month or two, if I make it til then, and study a little bit of language each day to keep the alziheimers away. Try reading José Saramago's book "El Viaje Del Elefante" in Spanish if you want a little challange. Each country the elephant walks into has a raft of new words, and the caretaker of the pachaderm is of course from India. Exposes a few cultural and religious differences to discussion! john W.
If it were "the" bread, the sentence would be "Les canards mangent le pain". However, the distinction between "the ducks are eating some bread" and "the ducks are eating bread" isn't super clear for English speakers. I think (don't quote me here) that we take a cue from most common usage here that, more often than not, when we make or hear a sentence like this, we're focussed more on what they generally consume rather than quantity, and that the sentence is more likely about "what do ducks eat" rather than "what are these ducks eating right now". So the more "knee-jerk" translation would be "they're eating bread".
But I don't think "some bread" is technically wrong without further context - I'm open to correction there. In a real-world context you would be able to tell from the rest of the conversation, visual cues, etc whether the speaker were referring to a general statement about what ducks eat, or whether he's referring to a particular group of ducks which happen to be eating a quantity of bread.
If you absolutely detest the word << some >, you may also drop that article in English all together and just say The ducks are eating bread.
What this lesson is trying to teach you is ultimately that just like in English, there is a difference between Definite Articles and Indefinite Articles in French. You can skim the definitions on wiki here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_(grammar)#Indefinite_article
The reason Duolingo puts << some > for the partative article is to enforce to the learners that there needs to be a word before just about every single noun. Duo is getting us familiar with the way French works in other words.