"They have never eaten a deep-fried dough stick."


November 22, 2017

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If Duolingo uses 'never' in this sentence, it should be 你们从来都没有吗过油条 or at least 从没有. Otherwise it would just be 'They haven't eaten a deep-fried dough stick'


I assume you wanted to write 过 ;)

I’d argue that you need the “never” to translate the -过. If you just use “not/-n’t” instead, it doesn’t sound like you’re talking about (the lack of) a past experience, but just an instance, which would be 你们都没有吃油条。


Hmm, yes, good point! Perhaps both should be accepted, since 从来 still means never.

And yes, I meant 吃!! =D


Based on Duolingo's own instructions up to this point, the answer provided means, 'They didn't eat a deep-fried dough stick', and the correct answer should be 他们从来不吃过油条. I can't speak to which is better Chinese, but the translation simply does not correspond to what the course has taught regarding the proper rendering of 'never', 'have' as an English perfect marker, and 没有. Either the translation should be changed, or the course content should be adjusted to make clear the proper grammar of these sentences.


The negative version of the “past experience” suffix 过 is formed with 没(有) rather than 不 (and also maintaining the suffix): 没(有)吃过 “have/has never eaten”. *不吃过 is ungrammatical. (The 有 can be omitted in colloquial speech.)

But you’re right, you can add 从来 to add more emphasis: 从来没有吃过 means the same thing as 沒有吃过, there is just more emphasis on the fact that the subject has never ever done that before.


This is very helpful. It would be very useful for this to be added to the 'Tips' section of this lesson.


The 过 suffix has been explained in the Invite1 module, see the tips there!


Indeed. but don't worry, "students learn best by making mistakes" is one of Duo's favorite inspirational messages. This sort of absolves Duo from ever making any mistakes since they can just say that they were "teaching you a lesson", so to speak. So it's your "mistake", own it, savor it, and enjoy it....right?


isn't "没吃过" more natural?


Colloquially it’s very common to omit the 有 yes. If that’s not accepted, please use the flag button to report the missing answer.


What the heck is a deep-fried dough stick anyway??


They look like this:

You would typically cut them in half (or sometimes thirds if they’re very long) and eat them together with soy milk or rice porridge for breakfast.


"deep-fried dough stick", a Chinese version of churros with food seasoning (usually wild salty) and chewy texture.


That would be a stick of dough (or do, apparently, if you are American) that has been deep fried.


Dough is correct in America. The alternate spelling for "doughnut" (donut), probably contributed to the idea that "dough" is spelled "do" in the US. Apparently, Dunkin Donuts popularized the alternate spelling (although they weren't the first to use it).


「有」is not always necessary when negating 过。 没吃过 sounds more natural to me.


If 吃过 means "eaten" how come the hover translation tells you that just 吃 means eaten ? I'm missing the joke here.


吃 is just the verb “to eat” – but as you may already know, Chinese verbs are not marked for tense. So 吃 by itself could translate to English “eaten” given the right context. 过 is a suffix which adds the meaning that we’re talking about the experience of doing something before. So 吃过 “have eaten before”.


他们从来没有吃过油炸面团 , is how the real Chinese are saying it, according to Baidu Translate.


油炸面团 is literally just 油炸 “deep-fried” + 面团 “(wheat) bun”. It’s a very different thing to 油条 (you can google both and compare pictures). The interesting thing is though, Baidu will translate “deep-fried dough sticks” to 油条, but only in the plural. The takeaway is, machine translators have to be used with a critical mindset. They have become much better in recent years, that is true, but they are still far from perfect and there’s a good chance that they never will be, given how much real world knowledge is often required to produce an adequate translation. They can often be a good quick and dirty way of getting the general gist of a text from a language you don’t understand translated into your native language. But I personally would recommend you don’t use them for translating full sentences (or even longer pieces of text) into a language where you’re not able to critically fine-tweak the output. You can use them as a dictionary equivalent for single words/short expressions though, especially if they show you alternative translations (which both Google Translate and Baidu Translate do).

Saying 从来没有 should be accepted though; it just emphasises the “have never” part (similar to saying “never ever” in English, but not quite that strong). Baidu offers another alternative 从未 cóngwèi when we give it plural “deep-fried dough sticks” rather than just a single “deep-fried dough stick”. 从未 is basically a rather formal/literary alternative for 从来没有, so it sounds a bit like for example an entry in an encyclopedia rather than everyday speech, but seeing as Duolingo does not give us a context, it should be accepted as well.

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