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"How many of them did you buy?"

Translation:Combien en avez-vous acheté ?

August 18, 2017



I answered "Combien des elles as-tu acheté ?" for English to French translation, but was marked wrong. Can someone please help me understand why? Merci.


To understand why your answer was incorrect you need to be aware of the following three points:

Point 1 when elles means them it is acting as a stressed pronoun and stressed pronouns are not generally used in this type of situation.

Stressed pronouns are used in the following situations:

• compound subjects
• after prepositions such as: avec, pour, sans, chez, entre, selon, etc.
• after c’est and ce sont
• after que in comparisons
• when the pronoun has no verb
• with words of emphasis such as: aussi, non plus, seul and surtout
• with même to reinforce the subject
• when the pronoun is the object of the negatives ni … ni … and ne … que
• after verbs that don’t allow preceeding indirect object pronouns such as: avoir affaire à, être à, faire attention à, penser à, etc.
• alone (as in pointing to someone to say him, or raising your hand to get picked)
• after certain verbs such as: avoir besoin de and être amoureux de, and se souvenir (so you do not place the stress pronoun before the verb when the object of these verbs is a person, not a thing).
• in certain imperative statements (dites-moi …)

Point 2 des can either be:

  • the plural indefinite article for countable nouns (translated as some)
  • contraction of de + les (translated as of the)

Point 3 - Key Point The adverbial pronoun en refers to previously mentioned things or places and can mean:

• some (implying some of it)
• any (implying any of it)
• some of it
• any of it
• of it
• of them
• about it
• about them
• from it
• from them
• by it
• because of it
• from there


Je vais m'en occuper. - I am going to take care of it. / I am going to take care of them
j'en ai autant que toi - I have as much as you
Elle ne veut pas en parler. - she does not want to talk about it
J’adore le chocolat et j’en mange beaucoup. - I love chocolate and I eat a lot of it.
Il fait beau aujourd’hui; profitez-en. - The weather is nice today; enjoy it while you can.
Je ne sais pas combien il y en a - I don't know how many there are of them


Merci beaucoup ! I will study all of these points.


What is the function of 'en' in this sentence?


It stands for "of them" in this sentence.

The pronoun "en" replaces a noun modified by a quantity (among other things).


why not plural achetes? Are we not talking about multiple things?


The pronoun “en” does not affect past participle agreement. You can think of it this way: "En" denotes an undetermined amount, so you don’t know if it’s plural or not. It could refer to just one object out of many.

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