"I love skirts."

Translation:J'aime les jupes.

February 23, 2013

17 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Rachel66E

It tells me I can use les. I would have thought this would be the translation for I like THE skirts?

February 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/bardia

O ye gods of duolingo! I think this could use some clarification...

April 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy

I'm surprised that only a month ago I didn't know or forgot the answer to my comment just above.

Anyway...

I like the skirt/s (that one right there) = la/ le/ les

I like some skirts (but not all examples) = des *Please see important edit below to see why this particular Duo example is an exception to this practice***

I like skirts (all examples of skirts) = ???????

Because, in English, we don't have an article that indicates all examples of something, we just drop the article to get the meaning across. In French they don't have such an article either. But they do require that an article be present for the noun so they have given la/ le/ les a second usage which conveys that meaning.

Therefore:

J'aime les jupes. = I like the skirts (those ones right there)

J'aime les jupes = I like skirts (all examples of skirts)

J'aime des jupes = I like some skirts (but not all examples) Please see important edit below to see why this particular Duo example is an exception to this practice

Which meaning is intended when you see la/ le/ les. Only context can tell you for sure.

///////////

Important Edit:

While all of the foregoing is true of articles it is not true in this case. Here is the rule which is the exception to the rules about articles.

Use a definite article to accompany a noun when you’re expressing a preference, using a verb like aimer (to like/to love), préférer (to prefer), or détester (to detest).

If you join an appreciation verb to an action verb you can use the indefinite with aimer etc. You can like looking at some skirts, you can like buying some of them, like touching some of them but you cannot simply like some of them. You like those ones right there or you like them all. Les jupes but not des jupes.

Hope this helps.

April 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/bardia

Thanks - you're a gent!

April 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/nibudd

des can also be translated as nothing at all in English. So j'aimes des jupes can also be interpretted as I like skirts.

May 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy

Des can not be translated as nothing at all.

Sometimes the distinction between les where it means all, every last one of them, the idea of skirts or whatever, as compared to des where it means some, not all of them, not every last one of them, can be so minor that it isn't worth considering in ordinary conversation. The amount of difference between all and almost all isn't worth depicting in many situations in English.

In English, where the difference between all and almost all is unimportant in everyday discourse, including some in a sentence limits its inclusiveness. Saying I like some coffee implies that there is a lot you don't like. Thus des/ some can be dropped from some translations because including it could be misleading but is different from saying it means nothing at all.

I think all convicted felons should be executed.

I think convicted felons should be executed. (some, perhaps most, not necessarily all)

I think some convicted felons should be executed. ( a few, maybe many, nowhere near all)

Each of the three preceding statements has a meaning that differs in an important way, especially to convicted felons.

May 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Z.Shan
Mod
  • 1953

You're right about "des can also be translated as nothing at all in English", but "j'aimes des jupes" is incorrect in French. Please have a look at my comment replying to @northernguy.

2014.06.11

June 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Z.Shan
Mod
  • 1953

Sorry, but I have to respectfully disagree.

You're right about this:

J'aime les jupes. = I like the skirts (those ones right there)

J'aime les jupes = I like skirts (all examples of skirts)

Which meaning is intended when you see la/ le/ les? Only context can tell you for sure.

However, "J'aime des jupes" is incorrect in French.

Similar to what @nibudd suggested, "des/du/de la" can be translated as nothing at all in English, "some" doesn't necessarily have to appear in the translation.

On the other hand, if we're given an English sentence like "I like some skirts.", we should use "certains", so the translation will be "J'aime certains jupes."

@Sitesurf gave @ThanKwee and me a thorough explanation of the grammatical usage of "certains" in the sentence discussion thread "Yes, we love cheese.". You may want to have a look there.

Your comment is still very helpful and I don't want others to downvote you. Please feel free to edit the mistakes. :)

2014.06.11

June 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy

Thanks for your comment. I had already edited the comment a long time ago to draw attention to the noteworthy use of des when coupled with aimer. Unfortunately, that explanation is only available to those who read the entire comment and not just the pre-edit part of original posting. As you have suggested, I have explicitly drawn attention to the edit.

I disagree that des/du/de la can always be translated as nothing at all. If they could always be translated as nothing at all in both French and English then they wouldn't mean anything. But clearly they mean something. That something is required in French and can sometimes be safely dropped in English. But leaving it out in English can change the meaning.

Part of the difficulty native English speakers have is that they choose not to invoke some in their sentences so automatically, that they come to lose contact with what it means. They come to believe that some means nothing at all.

When they say I like music they don't specify whether they like some or all music because they don't see any difference. They automatically drop the some because they don't think it means anything to include it. And it doesn't mean anything ....to them. But the listener/reader has to guess which one they mean. The speaker/writer means he likes all the music he hears (on the pop radio stations). The Chinese opera fan listener/reader is pleased to meet another person who obviously must like it as well. The speaker/writer didn't limit his enthusiasm by including some. Thus the reader/listener injected all into the sentence.

The French language requires the speaker/writer to include the distinction. The English language permits but does not encourage shifting the burden of understand to the other party by dropping the article.

If Duo students understand that des/du/de la have very clear meaning in both French and English they will be well served. If they continue to believe that some does not have any real meaning in English they will find it all very difficult to deal with. If they don't understand why they could and most often should use some (where appropriate) in an English sentence they will have considerable difficulty figuring out when to use the appropriate translation in French.

June 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Z.Shan
Mod
  • 1953

Yes, you're right! It's always the best for language learners to follow the logic of the language they're learning. Using "des/du/de la" is intuitive for native French speakers, but using "some" is not for native English speakers.

What I meant is that it's always valid to translate the partitive articles into nothing at all in English, but not vice versa. Nouns in French language always have to be preceded by articles; although people can do so in English language as well, most speakers don't. And that is why it's difficult for them to pick up the French determiners.

2014.06.12

June 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy

True. Again, thanks for pointing out that my edit was too disconnected from the original error to qualify it for some readers.

June 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/danii.kun

In the other hands when I translated "J'aime" from French to English, I wrote "I love" but Duolingo said it's WRONG!

July 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/salehgeek

"J'aime LES jupes." --> I love THE skirts. "J'aime DES jupes." --> I like (SOME) skirts.

March 12, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Joel-Iowan

WHy is 'I love skirts' being translated into 'J'aime les jupes'. I was ALMOST getting the hang of le/la/les vs un/une/des :(

Apparently there are exceptions? And can I love skirts also be translated to 'I love des jupes'?

March 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy

Definitely a puzzle!

I wrote des jupes and got it right but was offered the alternative answer which struck me as odd.

Edit: See my updated comment above, about liking skirts, as to why not only should les be accepted but des should not.

March 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/troisdepiques

You might say "j'ai des jupes" = "I have (some) skirts" but probably not "j'aime des jupes" unless you only like a portion of those that exist. Sounds awkward.

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/EscargotGirl

Someone out there really loves skirts.

June 7, 2014
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