"Les canards mangent du pain."

Translation:The ducks are eating bread.

February 21, 2013

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just to let you know, you should not feed ducks with bread. it fills their stomachs but provides zero nutritions which they can use, so in the end they die with full tummys :(


I'm really happy someone mentioned this. It can also lead to diseases like Angel Wing which renders the bird unable to fly. If one must feed ducks, they should give them chopped veggies, leafy greens, or even some crickets.


Well said you two. Ducks seem to hatch with an inherent severe addiction to bread. They go so wild and aggressive over no other food. At least with our addictions we have to learn how to become addicted first. Ducks don't stand a chance with bread.


When I was four my grandma and I fed ducks bread.. one bit my thumb once and I got mad. Now I just feel bad. If I see a duck I'll whip out some veggies :)


i feed them bird seed mixes, they seem to like it!


That's cool! Good to know..


I can't believe I'm only learning this now, thank you


I agree, how can a person know that it is plural just from hearing the words and no context? Is there a trick?


les (plural) sounds like lei or lay while le (singular) sounds more like luh. mangent and mange sounds the same so you have to listen for the article (les or le). hope that makes sense. that's how i get by in this situation.


Thanks very helpful, you can definitely hear the difference between le and les.


du and des are driving me insane!!!


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.


You got this stuff in a bag! Thanks for sharing.


Why doesn't "ducks eat bread" work instead of "THE ducks eat bread"? Is the "the" mandatory in this case??


Isn't des what you use when the noun is both countable and it doesn't need an article in English ie ducks rather than the ducks?

You sometimes use 'some' as well.


What is the difference between 'de' and 'du'?


"Du" is a contraction for "de le." Does that clarify things? :)


would "the ducks eat SOME bread" be correct too? I think so :/


I keep getting failed on plurals that are indistinguishable from singulars, starting to give up as cannot progress to other sections


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!


is the "d" in canards supposed to be silent? - i thought only the last letter is silent, so it should be silent for the singular canard, but pronounced in the plural canards? ... learning French pronunciation is driving me crazy


Yes, Mad.Duke. The "d" and the "s" are both silent here. As far as I know, even preceding a vowel sound.


Aciddentally autocorrected the last word so my answer was "The ducks ate Brad." LMAO


If I were to say: the duck is eating bread. Would it be: Le canard mange du pain. and would the pronunciation be different?


The same, Robbie except for the articles Le (luh) and Les (lay).


I still dont know how to distinguish the use of mange, mangez and mangent. Can anybody tell me?


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.


Why it is not the ducks are eating the bread? It said i am wrong and it should be the ducks are eating some bread? Bizzare


Le/la/l'/les means the. Du/de la/de l'/des means some.


Why cant it be "the ducks eat bread" without SOME as they always use this form in other excersizes? It said im wrong though i think they should include it as a correct answer as well.


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.


How do I know it is "some bread" and not just "bread"?


Hi JUbiera. You can translate it both ways. Both are correct.


How can you spot the difference between les and le by hearing?


Les sounds like Lay and Le sounds like Luh


Listen to the vowel sound. In "les" it's kind of like an "ay" sound and in "le" it's kind of like an "uh" or "euh" sound. (closest English approximations, but close enough for this purpose).


why not some bread instead of bread?


See just above.


I must say that, even though I'm already familiar with the words, the immediate and involuntary association that popped into my mind when I saw this sentence was something about ducks and pain management. lol


I like the sentence


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).


Not sure I understand what you're asking - the indication of the plural is the word "les", which is used for both genders in the plural.


The audio for me said "Les canards mangent des pommes," and I was told it was wrong, so...


Cl, there's a clue in the article. "Du" s/l "Dyoo" and Des s/l "Day." Then Pommes s/l Pom and Pain s/l Pan (without the "n" sounded.) Does this help?


The audio actually said, "Les canards mangent des pommes." Duolingo made a mistake. It happens. It was supposed to tell me "Les canards mangent du pain," which I realize. I listened to it again after told I was wrong, and I was right.


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.


I listened to the audio in the lesson, and then the audio provided at the top of this discussion. They sound drastically different to my ears. I could not possibly mistake the two. There was a problem with the lesson, not my ears.


Yes CI. As I said, nearly everyone has a problem with the audio. Have you reported it? If not, please do so. As we say here in England, "The More The Merrier."

[deactivated user]

    So now the ducks are eating are bread!?


    Glad I learned that one shouldn't feed bread to ducks before I actually got the answer to the language question I had. Lol.


    She says clearly....."le canard mange" du pain How are we supposed to recognize it is plural.?¿?


    Hiya John. Listen again please, A few times if you will and you'll hear that she says (none too clearly, but discernible) LES canards, s/l Lay canar, not LE canards s/l Luh canar. So that is how you know it is plural.


    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.


    I don't think you should feed ducks bread, but at least you aren't feeding them an owl =)


    You are correct Antartican. Ducks seem to hatch with an in-bred addiction to bread but feed them enough of it and they die of starvation with a full belly.


    How are we supposed to know that it is SOME bread rather than bread or the bread?


    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.


    I wrote 'children are eating the cat' :D


    Les has a long e (hard A in English) sound, correct?


    I'm really tired of this use of 'some' , "the bread"is perfectly correct! English do not even use it this way, right?


    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.

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