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  5. "Elles écrivent des lettres."

"Elles écrivent des lettres."

Translation:They are writing letters.

March 3, 2013



When spoken, how can you tell the difference between 'elle' and 'elles'?? And is there any clue in the rest of the sentence that suggests that is should be 'elles'?


In this case, yes. There are two clues that it is 'elles' and not 'elle'. The first one is the liason. The 's' at the end of 'elles' is pronounced before the é, so ot sounds like "el seh-kreev" The second one is the conjugation of the verb. It sounds with a v sound at the end, whereas if it were singular (écris, if I'm not mistaken), it would sound like "el eh-kree". Dont completely trust this, though...


This is why it is important to be sure to always listen to the normal speed sentence. I usually play it at the end if I need the slow version at all. Turtle speed only gives individual word pronunciation, but its the translation between two words that is so often important when understanding differences in plurality.


Oh Jesus, that's very hard to hear! :-O Thanks for the help though.


Why are you taking Jesus's name in vain do you know that that's rude and disobeying The Ten Commandments that Moses gave to the Israelites


He talking about Jesus Gonzales

[deactivated user]

    They shouldnt have named him Jesus cuz every time you call him you are taking the Lords Name in vain. I do not know why so many people in Islamic countries are named Mohammed and if you take his name in vain once you are killed by ISIS


    Jesus is the only begotten Son of the Lord, not The Lord.


    Then family guys must be made by the devil


    You are right, except that the 3rd person singular of the verb écrire is "elle écrit" (not écris). The rest of your comment is completely trustworthy :-)


    Thank you very much!


    elle means she elles is feminine for they (Really meaning a group of women) ill is he and ills can mean the (It can be used for a group of mean and a group of men and women)


    Isn't it "Il" and "Ils"?


    'Ils' is used when there are a mixed group of boys and girls (Even if there are 20 girls and 1 boy in the entire group, Ils is used). 'Elles' is all girls.


    Pronounce the S if the following word begins with a vowel, Elles is the dominant word for deciding singular or plural, all other words become plural because of the dominating word Elles


    Why can "des" be "the" as "another translation" strawberries but not with "letters"?


    Yeah, in another sentence it's "the" and then "some". Profusely confused.


    It's "the" in one sentence, "some" in another because sometimes it's "the" and sometimes it's "some."

    [deactivated user]

      Des means "some" as well, though it's not a definition given in this and other examples when you tap the word individually. I'm still beginning, but if my mother language, Portuguese, another Latin language, is any reference, the word "des" is not necessary and you could probably omit it. Someone else should confirm that though.


      Why do I have to write "des lettres" and not only "lettres" like: "Elles écrivent lettres"?


      In order to answer your question I´m pretty much copying pasting Duolingo´s tips. (Very first lesson)

      In English, articles may be omitted, but French nouns almost always have an article. French has three types of articles:

      • Definite articles ("the") are used with specific nouns that are known to the speakers.(le, la , les)

      • Indefinite articles ("a"/"an"/"one") are used for countable nouns that are unspecified or unknown to the speakers. (un , une , des)

      • Partitive articles ("some"/"any") indicate a quantity of something uncountable.(du/de l', de la/de l')


      Thanks...I have never seen any link to tips from the mobile version - just drop down boxes


      I should have looked for it lol now i can see the difference between "des" and "les", for example! thank you, i really understand it now


      I keep getting confused with they write letters and they are writing letters How would we say they write letters?


      I'm on the same page with you. Have absolutely no idea:( I always thought that "They write a letter" translates as "Elles/Ils écrivent une lettre", while "They are writing a letter" translates as "Elles/Ils sont en train d'écrire un lettre".

      I hope someone will help me.


      They write and they are writing can both be written Ils/Elles écrivent.


      You're right that using "être en train de" corrensponds to using the English "-ing" form (present progressive).

      However it is also fine to translate the "-ing" form by just the normal present, because French has no present progressive. The expression "être en train de" is only used when it is necessary to specify that the action is happening right now.


      The "normal speed" audio sounds wrong, like there's something in between Elles and écrivent... like "Alors écrivent des lettres". Anybody else think so?


      When the following word begins with a vowel the normally silent cue will often connect the two words.


      Yes it sounds like it's purposely pronouncing the "s" sound in "elles" to let us know it's the plural form rather than "elle". But yes it sounds like "elle azz ecri..."


      That's how it is supposed to be. Elles normally ends in an "e" sound, but the next word also starts with a vowel! That's hard to pronounce, so then you pronounce the "s" to make it easier. This is called a liason.


      That happens when you end your 1 word and start your 2nd


      Is anyone else finding that words ending in -ent sound like that part is missing. The phonetics of this sounds like "ellers ecreeve day lettr", as opposed to what I'd expect: "Ellers ecreevont day lettr". I keep getting tripped up by this.


      When you have verb forms ending in -ent, you don't pronnounce the ending. I think it's because since e's are not usually pronounced unless they have an accent mark, there is no spoken vowel to link the end of the verb's stem (a consonant) to the "-nt" (more consonants). By dropping the pronunciation of -ent, the words sound a lot smoother.


      The pronounciation is correct French, it really must sound like "el zecreev deh lettr" because certain endings are silent. You will get used to this :-)


      Why isn't "They write the letters" accepted?


      "Des" is the plural indefinite article. English does not have this article, so it may not be obvious to you how to use it. But look at it this way:


      Singular: the letter - la lettre. Plural: the letters - les lettres.


      Singular: a letter - une lettre. Plural: [no article in English] letters - des lettres.

      After a while, you will get a feeling for where this "missing" article is in English sentences and you will automatically insert it in French :-)


      So, to answer your question: "the letters" is not accepted because it is definite, i.e. referring to specific letters, whereas in the French sentence there are only some unspecified letters, which requires the indefinite article.


      Very well said. Thanks!


      In this sentence does the french word "Des'" will not be taken as a word in English??


      Could you be clearer in English? If your question is difficult to understand, few can answer it. But "des" is actually in the sentence unless my eyes and ears deceive me. In English, you can say "writing/write letters" or "writing/write some letters." The point is that letters (plural), meaning "some letters," are being written.


      Thank you for clearing my doubt!


      I hope I did (if that was to me). Wish I could've done a better job. If you read the whole thread, you'll see that some explained it much better. I try to remember to read what others have written and often find that the very question I had has been explained in a very clear way.


      So, in English, letter can mean two things. Same in French?


      Yes, in French, "une lettre" (or in English "a letter") can mean either a written character or a message written on paper.


      Des means 'some' right?


      Is the audio wrong or did I legitimately fail this question?


      just écrivent is important here, rest can be easily comprehended. you verbs play key role in pronunciation.


      Why is the (e)nt in ecrivent not pronounced at all? It sounds like elles ecrive.


      Why "they write the letters" are marked wrong?


      It's because there's no "the" in the sentence. The sentence "Elles écrivent des lettres" translates to either "They are writing letters" or "They are writing some letters". If you wanted to say "They write the letters" it would be "Elles écrivent les lettres". Hope this helps!


      Is there a difference in pronunciation between << Elles écrivent des lettres > and << Elle écrive des lettres > ie. Between "They are writing letters" and "She is writing letters" ?


      Yes, the former has a liason (audible link between the s in Elles and the é of the verb) and the verb ends in a 'eeve' sound. The latter has no liason and the verb is pronounced 'ee-kree'. thus the plural is pronounced (el-see-kreeve) and the singular is (el-ee-kree).


      Why not les but des?


      Doesn't "de" mean of? So why can't it be "les" lettres instead of "des" lettres?


      Des vs les is killing me :(


      it seems to me that this level is making me to fail deliberately. Why is - they are writing 'the' letters, not the correct soulution, when there is 'des letters' in the question? What does 'Des' translate to?


      Please read the other comments before posting and you will find your answer.


      Come on, grandpa. There's something called email.


      Are they each writing a letter?


      she didn't pronounce the s at the end, how am i suppose to know?


      Can I use sentence: elles écrivent les lettres in real life as well, or only this form is correct?


      They are writing the letters is also correct!....... -Make sure you understand how to translate to English-


      Please read the other comments and you will understand why your comment is blatantly wrong (and quite disrespectful).


      I played that over and over and over, 25 to 30 times, at least! There was no way to know she was speaking of multiple people AND multiple letters. Elle ecrit de lettre ( think that's what I wrote) should have been accepted. Even if it's incorrect grammar, because THAT is exactly what she said!


      Please read the other comments and you will understand why your rant was unjustified. The clear difference in pronunciation is explained in several comments on this page.


      Listened twice got "les" not "des" stop putting so hard to distinguish from speech words in the exercises it achieves the square root of sod all. Merci pour votre aide avec ça.


      i got it right but it is wrong. square up duolingo square up


      "The girls are writing letters" - incorrect. I guess this isn't a literal translation, but it is pretty close... no? Especially in common parlance?


      No. Elles doesn't just refer to girls but females in general.


      You guys can try women, girls, females, widows, queens, madams, whatever... it won't work. It's simpler than that. Lol I'm teaching "mes chiennes" to write "des lettres" by the way!


      why is "they write the letters" incorrect?


      For one thing it's they are writing and des is used so it would be some letters

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