"Sommes-nous mauvais ?"

Translation:Are we bad?

February 28, 2013

This discussion is locked.


Ok so...do I have this right? You say mauvais for masculine singular AND masculine plural, while you say mauvaise for feminine singular and mauvaises for feminine plural? So this is just an exceptional word for which the masculine singular and plural are the same (because it ends in s)?


yes, you are right: it just happens that the masculine singular form already has an ending in -s, which therefore does not need a second one in plural.


Ahhhh. That is really helpful. THANK YOU. I was so confused.


First thing I thin of when they proposed this:

"Are we the baddies?"


I put "ill". I am sure I have heard mauvais used that way. Am I wrong?


Yes it can happen that ill means mauvais: ill treatments = mauvais traitements


Ill treatment is bad treatment.

But could it also be used to mean "unwell"?


I answered "Are we wrong?" Duolingo offers "wrong" as a translation for mauvais, but it didn't accept my answer...?


"Are we wrong?" as the opposite of "are we right?" is "avons-nous tort ?" as the opposite of "avons-nous raison ?" both as set phrases, using the verb "avoir" and a noun (un tort/une raison).

As you can tell, there is a big difference with the correct translation shown above "we are bad" = "nous sommes mauvais(e)s"..

However "this is a wrong answer" does translate to "ceci est une mauvaise réponse".


The pronunciation for "mauvais" here is /moovee/. However the translation on google is /moovah/. Which one is the correct pronunciation or can I use either?


The correct pronunciation is "mow-VAY"


Are we the baddies?


Souldn't either "Sommes-nous mauvais" or "Sommes-nous mauvaise" be acceptable? As it is, the program only allows "Sommes-nous mauvais".


You are 50% right: "nous" can indeed be all women, so the adjective can be feminine and plural: "sommes-nous mauvaiseS ?".


Ah, yes! Should be mauvaises rather than mauvaise, that would explain why it returns an incorrect answer. Thanks! I was focusing on the masculine-feminine distinction when I should have been paying attention to the singular-plural one as well.


I answered "Sommes nous mauvaises" was this marked incorrect because I left out the hyphen?


The adjective is in masculine and its pronunciation is clearly different from "mauvaises" (end sound -ez-) So, hyphen or not, you should have written "mauvais" (end sound -ay-).


So is this structure used for asking questions? Or can you say "Nous sommes mauvais?"


In French there are 3 ways to ask questions, from very formal (with inversion Verb-Subject pronoun), to standard (with an interrogative adverb upfront) and a casual (mostly oral) one, with basically takes the active form and just adds a question mark at the end (orally: voice raising at the end):

  • sommes-nous mauvais ? (are we bad?)
  • est-ce que nous sommes mauvais ? (is it that we are bad?)
  • nous sommes mauvais ? (we are bad?)


Your explanations are very helpful. Thanks!


I don't understand this, whether it means we are evil or, we are just wrong, can somebody help me, s'il vous plait.


"sommes-nous mauvais ?" can also use adjective "méchants" to translate "bad".

"evil" is maybe a bit strong, translatable by "diaboliques" in French.


Oh! I see thank you man :)


I put "we are bad" and it wouldn't accept it. Anyone know why?


"we are bad" is a statement and not a question.

If you want to fit to the register of speech of the original sentence "sommes-nous mauvais ?", you need to build a proper question: "are we bad?"


Because it's wrong.


wouldn't this also translate to 'this is smelly' on the behalf of 'mauvais' translating into many different words, not just the two that Duolingo accepts?


"nous sommes" = we are - this cannot translate to "this is"


I know. That was a mistake on my acount. I didn't actually write that. But Duolingo didn't accept 'smelly' even though I wrote that.


"smelly" is not the meaning of "mauvais" in this sentence:

are we smelly? = sentons-nous mauvais ? (verb "sentir" = to smell)


I believe the pronunciation of 'mauvais' is incorrect by the voice. I think it's important because we might teach people to pronounce a word incorrectly.


You might want to check the pronunciation in Google Translate or here:



Yeah, and for some reason the female voice during my practice said it completely different. The link you sent me has perfect pronunciation. I've also heard some other errors like 'à plus tard' being pronounced as 'à plusss tard' as well in one of the basics if I remember correctly, and some other examples where the voice doesn't pronounce the 't' in 'est' when the word after starts with a vowel'. I also heard 'Oeuf' pronounced as 'ou-euf' instead of 'euf' by the voice.

This site is really great, fun, and addictive, but I hope Duolingo fixes some of the errors in the pronunciation of the female voice.


After 5 years, the woman's audio has not been improved and gross errors are still to be heard. This is why it is recommended to use extra resources, like forvo.com.


Oh, okay. I will use that site, thanks!


I forgot that the computer does not read the question mark at the end of the sentence and got it wrong asking: We are bad? Question mark added makes this statement a question.


The pronunciation sounds like sommer -nous. I would pronounce "sommes" with one syllable, but there is a definite two syllable sound given in the example. What's going on?


It is the French schwa. The sound of the ending -e is 'uh', just like the one you have in "je, ne, me, de..." etc. It is usually a sign of careful enunciation, a common trend in the south-west of France and it is required in versified poetry.

More info here: https://frenchcrazy.com/2013/04/the-french-schwa.html/


"Are we wrong?" was marked incorrect, but I've heard it used many times.

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