"Nous avons de beaux enfants."

Translation:We have beautiful children.

February 28, 2013

This discussion is locked.


Why "de" and not "des"? After all, it is plural?!


If there is an adjective (beaux) between a plural partitive article (des) and its noun (enfants), then the partitive article just becomes "de."

If it was just "We have children" it would be "Nous avons des enfants" but because you are putting an adjective there, you say "Nous avons de beaux enfants".


Is this not the case with the non-partitive de? For example: "The book from the old universities" Would that be "Le livre des vieux universités" or "Le livre de vieux universités" ?


Note #5 on this page explains it. You change des to de before an adjective when des means "some."



I actually wrote "We have some beautiful children" and was marked wrong. I came here to find out why, but I haven't seen anything about it, yet. Should I report it?


If you have been around Duolingo for a while, you have probably been exposed to English translations which offer "some" where that is "des" in French. This is not always wrong, but it is generally an overtranslation due to the pedantic tendency to translate every word. The method of entering accepted sentences allows "some" in most of these situations but it is an option. Unfortunately, if not entered correctly, it will be displayed every time the sentence is shown. It's best to understand this "des" simply as the plural of "un/une". There is no equivalent for this in English. Whenever you think it means "some", the English "some" is almost always ignored in English.

  • un homme, des hommes = a man, men (not "some men")
  • une voiture, des voitures = a car, cars (not "some cars")

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This sounds to me like "Nous avons deux beaux enfants."


Yes they sound similar. But, as a native speaker, I would pronounce it with a slightly difference:
- Nous avons deux [little intonation on "deux" and short pause] beaux enfants.
- Nous avons de beaux enfants.

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Interesting... thank you for this subtlety.

  • deux /dø/
  • de /də/

/ə/ is a very common sound in English but unfortunately we don't have /ø/ so we have to train our ears to hear it and our mouths to say it the way the French do. If you're Australian it's like "e" but with the lips rounded. If you're British or American it's halfway between "e" and "i" ("bet" and "bit"), with the lips rounded. Try very slowly changing from "e" to "i" and back again. When you find the mid point, stop and round your lips. The sound should change to /ø/. For Australians, just round your lips and say "e" ("bet"), while keeping your lips rounded.

Further reading:


Why is beau enfant not a valid answer for the "Write what you hear"? I am really getting angry and frustrated with these sound-alikes that have never been presented that show up as the last clue forcing me to, for the twentieth or thirtieth time go back and repeat the lesson. All I'm learning now is how to memorize all the examples. I am not exaggerating, it has been 4 hours to pass this lesson with no mistakes so I can let myself continue


Before a noun that begins with a vowel "beau" becomes "bel", so it would be "un bel enfant"


Thank you. That makes sense. There is a lot of careful listening to be done. "Is that an initial 's' or a liason?" "Liasons sound like 'z'". The first prepositions lesson combined with a chest cold was giving me a headache and making me really cranky last night. I did finally pass it with full hearts after about 12 more tries.


you cannot simply rely on the pronunciation of a robot/technical things, can you? try to look at different sources too or even someone who can speak the language really well. just my two cents. i find it hard too to listen to the audio even if it a very careful listening.


I takes much practice and training your ear, especially with French, when so many expressions sound similar but are spelled differently. Yes, you are right, a program like Duo should not be your only source. Get some good books from Amazon such as the "Practice Makes Perfect" series where you will see it in writing as well before doing the ear training.


A little tip that might help you. You can never have two vowels together in French, so another letter must be added at the end of beau (x - beaux-plurel, l - bel-singular) this rule also applies for placing the random 't' in 'y-a-t-il' when inverting il y a' 'Collins Easy Learning French Grammar' is very basic and easy to read to get you off the ground, but I sympathise with your frustration, I am experiencing the same in German, where I have come in completely cold - good luck and keep at it.


That rule is not quite right and confuses a lot of people. "Elle a un chat". Only certain (common) words change to prevent two consecutive vowels, and it is highly based on pronunciation, not spelling.


I wrote "We have lovely children.", which was marked wrong, how is this different than handsome or beautiful for the English translation of "beaux"?


Some are fixed on narrowing the interpretations--preferring for there to be single-word translations. If only it were that simple. All the major FR/EN dictionaries include "lovely" as a viable translation as it is appropriate to the context. No doubt you will see disagreement erupt over the various adjectives used to describe someone's appearance. There are some accepted conventions on Duolingo: joli(e) = pretty, attractive, etc., beau/belle = beautiful, handsome, good-looking, but also lovely. So it comes down to how willing are we to see some flexibility where it is appropriate or are we more concerned about Duolingo's statistics about putting the "wrong answer".


shouldn't the ending consonant in "beaux" lead into the vowel beginning of "enfants"? i.e. "bo-zanh-fanh" otherwise it sounds like it is singular "beau enfant".


And that is exactly what it does in the audio I hear.


ThanKwee, you said: 'Before a noun that begins with a vowel "beau" becomes "bel", so it would be "un bel enfant". Is 'beau' the exception, or are there other adjectives where this rule also would apply? If the latter, could you please give a few examples? Thanks.


Yes, there are others. See here: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/adjectives_3.htm

Scroll down to "Irregular French adjectives" where you'll find beau/bel, nouveau/nouvel, fou/fol, mou/mol, and vieux/vieil


Thanks much for this very helpful link, ThanKwee. What a rich source of useful stuff this About.com site is! A lingot for you!


is the x in beaux supposed to sound like a z when followed by the vowel?


“Lovely children” not accepted. I won’t even bother to ask why.


As much as i am finding this app very useful, and with all your helpful comments. I will be going away soin and will have little to no internet access. Therefore i will not able to continue with duolingo :-( can any one please help with advice on a cheap/free french software i can use to practice with? Rosetta stone is way too expensive and not sure about the rest. I did try looking at instant immersion french, but cant seem to get it in the UK. Any help appreciated, please! I leave on 15th August and starting to worry my french won't be good enough! Thanks


I would suggest watching some french family television (there are dubbed French versions of Zoé (Zoey 101), Tout le Monde Déteste Chris (Everybody Hates Chris), Drake et Josh, iCarly, or other shows you know well and can find/stream French versions of. You could download Brainscape if you have an apple device, (it is also available online) and work through the French Flashcards. Also, try listening to french audiobooks of children's novels (can be borrowed from libraries and sometimes downloadable), and continuing to use sites and software like DL. Here are some other resources you could look through or try; http://www.byki.com/fls/free-french-software-download.html http://www.frenchtutorial.com/ http://iphone.appstorm.net/roundups/lifestyle-roundups/80-apps-to-learn-a-new-language/ http://store.ovi.com/content/132536

Bonne chance! J'espere que je vous aie aidé un peu!


Thanks clionaduah. I will look into all of these ideas. I am getting a little nervous as I will need to speak French with the locals I will working with and although I seem to be doing fine on duolingo I get stage fright when someone speak to me in French. All that goes through my mind is, "I should know this?" But can't seem to find the right words. I guess only time will tell! Thanks again for your help and support. :-)


To tell you the truth, it's a little scary and intimidating at first, but people respect you for trying to learn the language and do their best to help or accommodate you! All the best! Bon voyage!


So, how do you say somone's behaviour has been good? Like he is a good boy, she is a good student etc.


C'est un bon garçon. C'est une bonne élève.

[deactivated user]

    In English we say most often, we have nice children pour 'On a de beaux enfants'


    A man is handsome Children are beautiful


    I wrote we have good looking children and was marked wrong?


    In french we say " Tel père, tel fils…" ( and I am their father, you know. )


    Wouldnt handsome refer to boy children? In english, why would I tell someone their children were handsome if there are girls too?


    Elizabeth : I translated beaux as great - as there is no significant context then beaux could be great or beautiful - both adjectives can be used in English to describe one's children


    Why is pretty not accepted?


    Pretty would be translated to "jolies". beau is translated to "beautiful".


    I have been marked as wrong TWICE for writing the CORRECT spelling-"beautiful", with "beau" part underlined!

    This is weird.


    Have you tried with a "x" in the end forming "beaux"?

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