"The women are writing letters to us."

Translation:Les femmes nous écrivent des lettres.

September 10, 2017

This discussion is locked.


why is les femmes on ecrivent des lettres wrong ? on instead of nous .


"On" cannot be used as an object, only as a single subject.


Why "Les femmes ecrivent des lettres a nous" is incorrect?


Because when the construction needs the preposition "à", the personal pronoun is placed before the verb.


uhhhhhhhhhhh...doesnt it mean les femmes nous ecrivent des lettres a nous or les femmes ecrivent les lettres?


Both direct object and indirect object pronouns are placed before the verb:

  • I write you = je vous écris
  • the women write to us = les femmes nous écrivent.

If you add "à nous" at the end, you are giving twice the same information. This is what "redundant" means.


Sitesurf, Merçi beaucoup!


And Les femmes écrivent des lettres à nous ? Is this a correct structure at all? Merci


No it is not. Whenever the verb is constructed with the preposition "à", the indirect object pronoun is placed before the verb.


So, for example, one could say Je parle à Jacques but, when replacing Jacques with the indirect object pronoun it would become Je lui parle, n'est-ce pas ? Merci encore.


@Pixies_ .... and be sure to read previous comments to yours in the discussion threads. It is often very helpful and may have previously addressed your questions.


Thankyou very much Sitesurf, this helped tremendously.


Les femmes nous écrivent des lettres à nous? "The women write us letters to us?" No, that's extremely redundant. And just having Les femmes écrivent les lettres "The women write the letters" (First of all, notice how you've changed des to les and thereby added "the" into the translation) leaves out any indication that the target audience of the letters is "us".

I can't think of any instance in which you would say à nous, because that combination must become the indirect object pronoun nous placed before the conjugated verb. It's required, in the same way that you can't say de le - that combination must become du. It's not optional.

(There is one exception for à nous, but it doesn't mean "to us"; it means "ours" and is synonymous with le nôtre, e.g. Le victoire est à nous! "Victory is ours!")


I said "Les femmes ecrivent une lettre pour nous." What's the difference?


To write to sb = écrire à qqn

The required preposition is "à" not "pour", which would change the meaning of the sentence.


why is the hint it gives you not the answer?


It doesn't give you the answer because it is a hint. It is there to guide you to an answer.

But on this question specifically, the hint only confused me more, so I see what you mean.


I think you can also do à nous at the end instead of in the middle. Both are correct I believe.


Not in proper French. Whenever the preposition is "à", the object pronoun is placed before the verb.


Can someone please explain this? I don't understand this sentence.


The word order changes when the indirect object is a pronoun and the verb constructed with the preposition "à".

"us / to us" = nous / à nous

The women write letters [to us] = Les femmes [nous] écrivent des lettres


Letter is a countable noun so I think it should be "les lettres", but why it is "des lettres"?


I personally think, because even though, as you said, it's countable "les lettres" would mean "the letters" and, as you may know already, "la/le(s) - the" is used when you mean a noun (thing or being or idea), which has been already mentioned or you already know about, which one in particular you are aiming towards. "De(s)/du" is, so to say, the word for "some" and it's also, as in English, used for (un)countable nouns, but we don't intend to aim to one directly or hasn't been mentioned or an unknown amount of a noun (e.g. An apple, Two apples, Some apples, Any apple). So, long story short:

"La/Le(s)" means "the" and it's used, when the noun has been mentioned, one in particular;

"De(s)" means some" and it's used when we don't know or care about the nouns amout.

-I hope it helped.


I have already mentioned that I do not have accents on my device. Can I have some feedback about this problem?


Can someone explain why Les femmes sont en train de nous écrire des lettres, is wrong?


Why not "les femmes on ecrivent des lettres"?


"On" is a personal pronoun meaning "one" or "someone", or sometimes replacing "nous". It has no role in this sentence.

"Are writing" is a continuous present tense, which does not exist in French as a verbal form. To translate "the women are writing", you have to use the French present tense "écrivent". Context would distinguish the meaning of "are writing" from "write" in simple present.


TanAnthony21, I thought that was a good question. The Wikipedia page en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_personal_pronouns has a nice table showing how "on" and "nous" work in colloquial speech.

subject: on

reflexive: se

direct object: nous

indirect object: nous

disjunctive: nous

According to that table "on" is not allowed here, because "on" can only be the subject of a sentence.

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.