"This is lunch."
Translation:C'est le déjeuner.
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Well, in this sentence the article is required. The rules for not using an article are quite complex and are covered in depth here, but you need a pretty good understanding of French to be able to understand all that is explained. An article is not used in the following circumstances. http://www.bertrandboutin.ca/Folder_151_Grammaire/I_a_article.htm#_on_ne_met_pas_d'article
You'll have to click on the "on me met pas d'article" link.
Of course, I'm sure that you realize that you don't use an article if another determiner is used. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Determiner
In French you always need an article, unlike in English. In this sentence adding de would make it some lunch. Du, de la, & des are translated as the when it is something uncountable, like j'achète de l'huile, I am buying oil. Oil is considered uncountable. To me, saying j'achète l'huile means I am buying all the oil in the world. Same with je mange le riz, I eat all the rice everywhere. Hence you need the de l' for l'huile and du for riz.
C'est le déjeuner doesn't give that connotations because c'est means it is, or this/that is, referring to one thing, so le is all you need.
Am I making sense ? I am a native French speaker, but I've grown up in the US, so I don't know what grammar rule is called, so that's just based on spoken French.
As a native English speaker, it's kind of difficult to understand the concept of "l'huile" (the oil) referring to ALL of the oil in the world. For example, in English if I were to simply say "I am buying the oil," it's not really assumed that I'm buying every bit of oil on the planet. Why is it that it needs to be put into "I am buying some of the oil" in French?
I'll probably just have to face the fact that it's something that I'll never understand, eh? The concept of me being unable to comprehend is a really bleak thought in my mind.
Oh no W-N. Also donkeychain. It is not random and it WILL be understood. However the "Dropped Article" syndrome is well tricky. Even native French speakers have struggled with this one. The excellent ThanKwee has somewhat explained this above and I'll go just the one step further. "LES chiens DES garçons" for example. DES can be SOME or OF THE. So how shall we translate this? "The dogs SOME boys", is that OK? or "The dogs OF THE boys"? Then to put it into good English usage, shall we finally say "The boys' dogs"? How's that? Note that the article in English "DES=Of The" has been dropped. But DES can be SOME. So lets use SOME in the sentence. "Les chiens DES garçons"=Some boys' dogs. This works but note now that in English the article LES=THE has now been dropped from DOGS. Either way in translation to English an article has been dropped. You can see that this is tricky, yet fun. Please don't despair. Plough on through this cloddy field and it will, I promise you, come to harvest. I have tried to explain this without highfoluting grammatical terms which I don't understand, yet. Hope this shed some light. Love, JJ.
Yes, W-N. The answer is frustratingly..... BOTH. When translated to English. Look, keep this in mind and have it ready in future lessons when this scenario will arise again. Like me and all the French natives, you'll cock it up now and then but from your very questions I can see that you are "Getting it". It is such a big issue mate, it must be best left to further lessons and I look forward to meeting you there. sitesurf, northernguy, el gusso perce_niege, kristian cro, and many more seriously knowledgeable folk have posts waiting on you down the line. It is a loooooong lesson.
For some reason, Jackjon, I can't reply to your comment directly, but your explanation provided great answers, but posed a great question. What you've told me is "Les chiens des garçons" means "The boys' dogs. " But then you said "Les chiens des garçons" means "Some boys' dogs." Both of which are very true. The question now brought up is 'how do we know what to translate it as?'
Obviously, 'some' and 'the' are not the same thing, 'some' being indefinite, and 'the' being definite. Are there any specific clues I'm missing here that tell me what it means?
I Thd article rjle in french is difficult and frustrating at times because in English we would not say this is the lunch. Unless we designate as someone's lunch; this is the lunch for jim, or this is jim's lunch, spoken english . We have to remember: we are learning a new language.
Would this (in French) be the same: "C'est le dejeuner" (I can't type accents) for: This is lunch - in terms of 1) looking at a pile of food and asking, 'What is this? This is lunch' and 2) in terms of time - as in school - and asking 'What period is this? This is lunch'