"Je bois du café."

Translation:I drink coffee.

March 11, 2013

87 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/Sophantastic

ALL of the options are drinkable liquids, so how am I to know which one is correct?

April 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/oriel_marko

Du - masculine (MALE) De la - feminine (FEMALE) De l' - vowel

May 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/JaE_Lyn

merci!

November 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Ella802930

how do you know if its masculine or female?

February 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Grammatical genders are masculine and feminine.

You have to learn every new noun together with its own gender.

coffee = un/le café (masculine). soupe = une/la soupe (feminine).

There are a few patterns based on noun endings, but it is faster to start learning individual new nouns with their determiner.

February 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Cedd-adego

But isn't cafe a female word?

May 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BrunoZoldan

If you look at the article (du) you can recognize the gender:
le and la are the determinative articles respectively for the masculin and the feminine;
the partitive article de (means like "some") + le becomes du for the masculin, the feminine is de la .
To the plural you have to know the genders (take a dictionary for this) because they have the same article which is des

May 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SalaamKehinde

merci beaucoup

September 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/cwy511013

But i though that both alcool and cafe are masculine.

August 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Yes, they are, but "alcool" starts with a vowel.

So you have to use "de l'alcool"

August 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/abbey4623

no it's a masculine word hence de+le = du

June 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/coconuit

Cafè is coffee

October 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/GillianWilson

"Exactly! I am really confused by this. I chose "beer" but the correct answer is "coffee". Why? Duolingo glitch or a special grammar rule?

May 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Vocabulary:

une bière => de la bière.

un café => du café

May 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GillianWilson

Thanks Sitesurf!

May 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/1971harry1971

Thank you!

September 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MoriKim

????? Can someone explain this to me?

October 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

If the exercise is "fill-in the blank" and you get "je bois du___", you have to remember that "du" is the partitive article you need with masculine nouns starting with a consonant.

Therefore, among the options you are offered, you have to pick the "masculine noun starting with a consonant" to fill-in the blank.

You can proceed by elimination:

  • alcool is masculine but starts with a vowel: de l'alcool"
  • bière is feminine: de la bière
  • eau is feminine and starts with a vowel: de l'eau
  • femme is feminine and does not make any sense in this sentence
  • café is masculine and starts with a consonant, so "du café" is the correct answer.
October 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ahmad947724

Yes this is what I wanted to say

November 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/coconuit

Well, don't you see they don't GIVE you options! (Duh!) Lol!

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AsianGoldenCat

It's crazy to make us do this, I agree, there is no way to know!!!!!

October 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/katiiee

there are ways to know, read the above comments of gendered words and du/de la/d'/des. there was only one correct answer in that list.

October 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Tijanana

Nobody makes you, yoi chose to learn this.

April 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Siddhartha452855

How do I get to know feminine from masculine?

February 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

The first time you see a new word, it will have a determiner, and in early lessons, this determiner will be an article.

  • masculine articles: le (definite), un (indefinite) and du (partitive, contracted from "de+le")
  • feminine articles: la (definite), une (indefinite) and de la (partitive)

Therefore, the first time you see the word "café", it will show as "le café", "un café" or "du café".

You will then have to memorize it as "coffee = [un café], as if the article were a prefix.

This should help you remember each word's gender.

February 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/glamvini

why cant this be i am drinking some coffee and not i drink coffee but when i type both it shows as correct but both are different sentences in actual and are used in diffewrent situations

June 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

French does not have continuous tenses. This is why "I drink" and "I am drinking" both translate to "je bois". Further context would clarify the different situations that are conveyed in English.

June 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/glamvini

thank you

June 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BonjourMadhu

why add " du "

July 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"du" is a partitive article (think of it as "part of a mass").

Partitive articles are required in French when the meaning is some in front of a mass noun, even if the English sentence does not have "some".

If the following noun is masculine singular, the partitive article is "du" (= the contraction of "de" + "le").
If the following noun is feminine singular, the partitive article is "de la".
If the following noun starts with a vowel sound, the partitive article is "de l'".

  • je bois du café means I am drinking some coffee (masculine)
  • je mange de la soupe means I am eating some soup (feminine)
  • je bois de l'eau means I am drinking some water (feminine)
  • je bois de l'alcool means I am drinking some alcohol (masculine)
July 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Taylor684866

How is one to tell the tense in this situation? Whether it is "I drink" or "I am drinking"? Because it could be stated as an affirmation to a question instead of a statement of present action.

August 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AdiyaRober

In french there isn't a difference between a present tense and a present continuous tense....je bois le thé can mean i drink the tea or i am drinking the tea

August 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Augustine453938

Isn't cafe' cafe in english

January 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

It is when it is a place, like a pub or coffee-house.

January 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/IdaGundersen

How do I know which one is correct?

January 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"Eau" and "bière" are feminine and the partitive article would therefore be "de l'eau" and "de la bière".

Only "café", because it is masculine and starts with a consonant, can get the partitive article "du".

January 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/alexandraarnesen

The selection consist of beverages. How are you supposed to know which?

May 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

As already said several times, it is not a matter of beverages but of grammatical gender and form of the article:

Je bois :

  • du café (masculine, noun starting with a consonant)
  • de la bière (feminine, noun starting with a consonant)
  • de l'alcool (masculine, noun starting with a vowel)
  • de l'eau (feminine, noun starting with a vowel)
May 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Mapsta_Me

Why is it that in certain phrases, when you use du, it translates to some, while others, such as this one, translate to simply "I drink coffee"? Because I keep putting, "I drink some coffee" and though it doesn't say I am wrong, I'm still confused by it.

September 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"some" is optional in English whereas "du, de la, de l'" (= partitive articles) are required in French.

September 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/kona001

The de la vs du posts really helped but can some one explain why bois and not boire?

September 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"boire" = to drink, in the infinitive, non-conjugated form.

Verbs are extensively conjugated in French, so in indicative present, you get:

je bois, tu bois, il/elle/on boit, nous buvons, vous buvez, ils/elles boivent

September 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Noody.13

why can't it be alcool why coffee only .. all of them are liquids

November 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

It's not an IQ test, but a grammar test. If you are requested to pick a word to fill in a blank, make sure you know what is expected:

  • "du" expects a masculine noun starting with a consonant.

Therefore, any feminine noun and any masculine noun starting with a vowel sound will be wrong.

Je bois... du café, de l'alcool, de la bière, de l'eau

November 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/pingulingu2

Can't you also put 'I drink the coffee' because that would mean actually finishing it, whereas '...some coffee' would be classed as not finishing it.

December 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/katiiee

Not in french. Unless you have earlier sentences to specify which coffee you are drinking (the coffee that lucy gave me, the coffee on the table etc) saying the coffee means all the coffee in the world. When talking about eating or drinking you always use some unless you have prior context.

December 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/pingulingu2

Thanks so much!!! So helpful!

December 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Fatima.Myrtle

Can someone explain this to me? This isn't making much sense to me. Is there a page on Duolingo that would help me understand this? Please go slow.

December 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

There are Tips and Notes on grammar with each lesson. If you can't access them from your screen, please use a PC.

December 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/kersteyn

can i also say "je bois un cafe" like i drink a coffee?

January 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Yes, you can, when the English sentence is "I drink/am drinking a coffee".

February 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/1OliviaM.A.

How would one say "I drank coffee" ?

February 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

J'ai bu du café: compound past for a past and complete action.

February 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/1OliviaM.A.

Merci! Assuming J'ai is a contraction of I (je) and have ( avoir). Is there a direct translation for "bu"?

February 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"bu" is the past participle of the verb "boire" = drunk

February 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/1OliviaM.A.

Merci beaucoup!

February 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/PavanKarwa

what's the difference between du and de? is that one of them has to be used with masculine and the other with feminine? please help!

April 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"du", "de la" and "de l' " are the 3 partitive articles in French.

"du" is the contraction of preposition "de" + "le", masculine singular
"de la" is feminine singular
"de l'" is used in front of any masculine or feminine singular noun starting with a vowel sound (vowel or non aspirate H):

  • je bois du vin (masculine) = I drink (some) wine
  • je bois de la bière (feminine) = I drink (some) beer
  • je bois de l'alcool (masculine) = I drink (some) alcohol
  • je bois de l'eau (feminine) = I drink (some) water.

Partitive articles are required whenever the meaning is "some + mass noun" = an undefined quantity of an uncountable thing.

April 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/nazanin938037

it was exellent and comprehensive answer

November 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/PauloObico

Alcohol and beer are both drinkable.. why is it wrong?

May 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
  • je bois de l' alcool (masculine noun, starting with a vowel sound)
  • je bois du café (masculine noun, starting with a consonant sound)
May 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/shezzal

how do i know when to use "suis" after "je" and when not to?

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"I am drinking" is a continuous present and French does not have any continuous tenses.

Therefore, whenever you get "to be + gerund", you can be sure that the French translation will not be "être + gerund".

I am drinking therefore translates to "je bois", simple present.

if you want to insist that the action is on-going at the time you speak, you can use a verbal phrase: "je suis en train de boire", where "en train de + infinitive" means "in the process of + gerund".

July 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/willfarb

It is telling me that the translation of 'bois' is 'wood'...

April 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

The drop-down menu offers a few possible translations, but it does not clarify context, it does not propose specific translations for the sentence you are working on nor the actual meaning of the words proposed. It is by no means a dictionary and if you want to be more accurate in your learning, I suggest you open another tab on a good online dictionary, which you can refer to as you go.

Therefore, "bois" is 1st or second person singular of verb "boire" in the present tense: je bois, tu bois, il/elle/on boit, nous buvons, vous buvez (polite singular and plural), ils/elles boivent.

April 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/ImanR2017

But i can't understand how to say "to drink" in french?? Is "boire"a correct answer for this question??!!

June 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"boire" is the infinitive form (= to drink)

conjugation in indicative present:

je bois, tu bois, il/elle/on boit, nous buvons, vous buvez, ils/elles boivent.

June 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/HaniAH1

thanks for the conjuctions

June 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lw2000

the drop-down bar shows all the correct answers, you pick which one fits the setting.

May 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Katerinadu

Drink

September 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/jeparleenglish

So if I wanted to say "you're having coffee" it would be "Tu bois cafe" or "vous bois cafe" , is that correct?

May 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BrunoZoldan

"You're having coffee"= "Yu're drinking coffee"?
The correct translation is : Tu bois du café/ tu bois le café; vous buvez du café/vous buvez du café

Je bois- tu bois- il boit- nous buvons- vous buvez- ils boivent

May 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/emmabreadstick

I put alcool, because isn't "bois" masculine?? I'm not sure how this is wrong!

November 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"bois" is the conjugated, active verb. It is not a noun so it does not have a gender.

But the nouns you were proposed as objects of this verb do have a gender that needs a specific partitive article:

  • café is masculine: DU café
  • alcool is masculine as well, but it starts with a vowel: DE L'alcool
  • bière is feminine and starts with a consonant: DE LA bière
  • eau is feminine and starts with a vowel: DE L'eau
November 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/sophiej4321

cafe (') is an exception because it has an accent on the end. anything with an accent at the end is aways masculine.

May 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

No, that is not right: "liberté, égalité, fraternité" and many others are feminine.

May 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/emmahart6

I dont understand how drinks and food can be gender roled.

August 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

ALL French nouns have a grammatical gender, irrespective of what they represent. For the most part, these nouns come from Latin, that used to have 3 genders. So, be happy, French has only 2! ;-)

August 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/luchomein

So in French I drink and I am drinking is Je bois? There's no distinction for present tense and present continuous?

August 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DXLi
Mod

    Correct. French does not have specialized continuous/progressive tenses. However, you can use the idiomatic phrase être en train de to emphasize that an action is in progress.

    August 26, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/luchomein

    merci =) now what does être en train de mean? Could you give me an example?

    August 26, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/sophieg18

    This sentence seems irrelevant according to the lesson: "Places".

    October 29, 2014

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

    The explanation is that all sentences containing the word "café" are automatically classified both in "food" and in "places". We're looking for a way to avoid that. Thanks.

    October 29, 2014
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