"Do they eat baguettes?"

Translation:Mangent-ils des baguettes ?

March 11, 2013

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I thought you were supposed to use the definite articles if it is referring to the thing in general like "do they eat baguettes (or are they gluten-intolerant)" vs. "are they eating baguettes (right now, vs eating something else or doing something else entirely). Thus Mangent-ils les baguettes or Est-ce qu'ils mangent les baguettes? to the gluten intolerant but Mangent-ils des baguettes? to the others. Yes? No? Am I totally confused?


If you refer to someone who is gluten-intolerant, you will just say "do they eat bread?" because it is not a matter of the baguette (bread stick) as a speciality but about a wheat based food, so bread in general.

"Do they eat baguettes?" and not "do they eat the baguettes?" translates in "mangent-ils/elles des baguettes ?" (vs other bread specialities) and not "mangent-ils/elles les baguettes ?" (the ones on the table)


Merci Sitesurf. I've read quite a few of your explanations and they are always very helpful.


I still don't get it.

Previously, "I like red roses" was "J'aime les roses rouges."

I understand that, because when you are talking about roses in general, it makes sense to use "the" instead of "some".

Why does the same not apply here? Specific baguettes are not implied, it is just asking if the person eats baguettes.


why only ils and not vous?


Unlike in German "they" cannot translate in "vous", only in "ils/elles"


Not necessarily. It may be similar to the case of "On" Which translates to they, we or you.


If I am correct, "vous" is the plural of "you".


yes, "vous" can mean "you all" (starting at 2+ persons)

"vous" is also a formal singular "you".


Could anyone explain why is this answer not correct? "Est-ce que elles mangent des baguettes?"

Here http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/questions.htm an example for a question is this: Est-ce que vous dansez ? Do you dance?

On the basis of this I think that the translation I wrote above should be right. Am I, or am I not and why?


"que" has to be elided in front of a word starting with a vowel: est-ce qu'elle... ?


I wish i was a baguette


and baguettes is indeed feminine, not "undefined".


I always knew I'd get that one wrong!


When is des supposed to be used in french?


When you're referring to something in general.

Like in this case, they are eating (some) baguettes. It's not a specific baguettes (not my mom's baguettes, not my baguettes, just some baguettes), and it's not just one baguettes.

So you don't say "mangent-ils la baguette?" because it's not a specific baguette, you don't say "mangent-ils une baguette" because it's not just one, but you say "mangent-ils des baguettes" because you eat multiple random baguettes.


How do you say in french "are they eating some bagueettes" rather than "do they eat baguettes? (similar: I smoked cigars once; I smoked some cigars once.


Sont-ils/-elles en train de manger des baguettes ?

Est-ce qu'ils/elles sont en train de manger des baguettes ?

Ils/Elles sont en train de manger des baguettes ?


..and how do you "do they eat baguettes?" (i.e. do they eat baguettes in general)"


..I meant and how do you say "do they eat baguettes?" (i.e. do they eat baguettes in general)"

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