I agree. This lesson is hopeless at teaching the imperfect. Duo routinely rejects past in some examples but then requires it in others. All the while using the same tense in French.
She did not want to eat flows better in English but if that was the criteria then many other examples where past has replaced awkward imperfect should have been accepted.
From about.com...The French imperfect (imparfait) is a descriptive past tense which indicates an ongoing state of being or a repeated or incomplete action. The beginning and end of the state of being or action are not indicated, and the imperfect is very often translated in English as "was" or "was ___-ing."
I think Duo may be strong on french but weaker on english. To me 'she wouldn't want to eat' is more of a conditional statement than a past tence. As in 'if we served meat, she wouldn't want to eat'.
The problem is with the difference between English and French. In English, the past or the imperfect can be used at will because they almost always will be used in some kind of context. People seldom break the silence by saying she didn't want to eat thereby forcing listeners to ask ..who? what? what are you talking about?
If she is sitting there eating while the comment is made, the failure to eat is evidently in the past. If the comment is made that she didn't want to eat (referring to the lunch period a half hour previous) and now we are watching her swim, we can assume that the situation is still ongoing.
My concern is that Duo is sometimes accepting the past form for the imperfect, sometimes requiring it and sometimes rejecting it, in English translations of the French imperfect. Nothing wrong with that if the context makes it clear why, or if some speech convention that facilitates better conversation flow is made clear, but so far I haven't seen any pattern. There are some damn awkward sentences accepted and occasionally required on Duo so ......it just sounds better......doesn't cut it as a reason to use the past (with Duo)
I think the problem with this sentence (and others) is that English speakers prefer to use the past tense in these circumstances and French speakers use the imperfect and present perfect more frequently.
Consequently, Duo will sometimes prescribe the past in English and the imperfect in the French version of the same situation.
If you are using chrome as a browser there is an app for that. Duolingo Notes is a handy way to deal with lessons where Duo's approach is not immediately clear.
Part of the difficulty memorizing is where you find out you are mistaken by writing the mistake. That means you are practicing the mistake as much or even more than the correct response.
Duolingo Notes requires that you answer a question on Duo as best you can. Then it allows to right click on the continue button to send the question, Duo's answer/s and your answer up to an extension residing in your toolbar. The extension contains a searchable database of all the answers you have sent to it that you haven't deleted after memorizing them.
That way after the first q and a of any example, when it comes up again in one form or another, you simply search the database for something similar and answer the question with what seems appropriate. This way you have a much better chance of practicing being right rather than wrong. Repeat the lesson until you don't need to rely on the extension to get three hearts. At that point I delete the contents of the extension and start all over again on the next lesson.
I find it very helpful. Of course, my whole Duo strategy is brute force repetition of the examples and lessons. People taking other approaches might not find it so useful.
It only works on Google Chrome. When you have Chrome open, click on the apps button in the top left hand corner.
It's much, much easier than notepad. It's one click to automatically store the question, the correct answer/s and your answer. All placed on one line. One click to open it and then enter a couple of letters in the search box to find an entry if what you are looking for wasn't in the last ten or so entries.
Hello Northernguy, I give you two lingots for this comment. It is extremely frustrating. The only hope is that eventually I will learn the awful English sentences by heart, and move on to other things. Imparfait is not at all difficult, it is only Duoling who makes to impossible.
The other correct answer is 'She would not want to eat'.
When we get this sentence in English it is like this: She did not want to eat. And the right French answer is: Elle ne voulait pas manger.
What do these two sentences really mean in English. Can somebody explain them to me? She used not to want to eat She would not want to eat
I can only think of a situation like this: she is in her kitchen, she doesn't want to eat because she is already too big. However, she wants to eat so badly, so she eats.
I keep doing this lesson over and over and it is still a hit or a miss to get them right! I know it is important to persevere but I am glad I am not the only one struggling to make sense of some of these answers. I still think this answer seems wrong. :-( Perhaps longer sentences to give us more sense of the setting would help?
This is apparently an old problem. So, look, I understand quite well the difference between preterit and imperfect, and "she didn't want to eat", as others have pointed out, can accurately describe both situations in English, depending on the context. What I had a problem with, and apparently others have mentioned it, so I'm just adding my voice, is that for me it expected "She wouldn't want to eat". As at least one person mentioned (albeit not so forcefully), this should not be correct. "would" is not part of imperfect, it is called a "conditional". In fact, it implies that you are talking about something that has not yet taken place. "If you were to show her gross pictures of bugs tonight, she wouldn't want to eat", there is nothing past or imperfect about that sentence, it is a subjunctive/conditional if/then statement.
So, I don't know if anyone who matters will see this...it was in timed practice, so I couldn't report it, but if the French simple past is really equivalent to the imperfect, then "she wouldn't want to eat" is wrong, and "she didn't want to eat" should be an accepted answer.
"would" is not part of imperfect, it is called a "conditional".
It's both, actually. "Would" is not only used in a conditional sense. Consider the perfectly valid and common sentence: "Every time I would walk past her house, she would wave at me." This is classic imperfect tense. Both (walking past and waving) have taken place.
But you don't have to take my word for it:
https://www.google.com/#q=define+would (definition 6, as opposed to 2)
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/would (definition 4)
From Trudie Marie Booth's Complete French Grammar: "the imperfect can be translated into English...expressing and action that is was going on...by would"
Oh gosh, you're right, and I feel like an idiot. No, I don't need to look at those websites either. I'm an MA in linguistics and I'm fluent in (and I teach) Spanish, so I actually know that "would" can be imperfect. ....it just entirely slipped my mind, and I feel ashamed.
So, that said though, maybe I didn't think about that because in the particular instance, I feel like it sounds awkward to use "wouldn't" as an imperfect. While "would" can be used as an imperfect, and while you can certainly express the idea that someone habitually didn't do something...I feel like in English it is a lot more correct to say "she didn't want to eat", or "she never used to want to eat", or "she never wanted to eat", even though the word "never" isn't in there, that's basically what saying "she habitually didn't want to eat" means. Even "she wouldn't ever want to eat" seems to be passable to my ear, but to try and use "she wouldn't want to eat" to mean "she habitually didn't want to eat" still seems incredibly awkward/ill-formed.
...and, either way, "she didn't want to eat" should still be an accepted answer.