Translation:When my friends and I meet up on weekends, we drink beer.
Unfortunately, they want "friends" (plural), "weekends" (plural), and "beers" (plural) and "weekends" can't be preceded by the article "the".
I first typed it all in the singular and my answer was rejected. I then typed it all in the plural and my answer was rejected for "the", but it took me a moment to realize what was wrong since "the" wasn't underlined.
I guess "weekends" is more technically correct English when I think about it, but "the weekends" is how I would normally say this.
Ditto for the plurals sans "friends"; this definitely involves multiple "weekends" and by inference multiple "beers" though it seems unnatural to say it that way.
In fact these expressions seem to be used rather fluidly. I'd be more inclined to say that there's no absolute rule; rather, context will be your guide. If you look at various forums addressing these questions, you'll see that there are a number of contradictory opinions.
Here are a couple of dictionary entries that don't agree with you.
Personally I'd probably use "weekends" or "the weekend" for the general case, but I think circumstantial context, or a word such as "usually" or "often", can tip the meaning of "the weekends" toward the general.
These discussions help us identify which of the English translations are what the Chinese is actually trying to say. Since we're not Chinese speakers yet we don't know this when the English seems a bit off and can be fixed various ways with various different nuances.
We know from experience in these discussion pages that both the English and the Chinese have been full of errors. (Getting better all the time though.)
I'll caveat this comment by stating that I'm not a native Chinese speaker, but in my understanding and experience, "会" can also express a sort of generalized predilection or conditionality (and here, the beer-drinking is a tendency conditional on the getting together).
To analogize with English, in English it's possible to say, for example, "when we get together, we'll usually have a few beers". This is pretty informal, but it's also pretty common.
Also, in some regional variations of Mandarin "会" is almost just a filler, not unlike "很". In this usage, more specifically, it's employed as an auxiliary to ask about or state the presence or absence of some condition, but it doesn't impart any extra meaning over the version of the sentence without it. Here's an example:
That sounds right to me, I have not checked the link but it is true that it is sometimes used as a sort of filler, I think Mandarin has quite a few of those, which is one reason why it is both challenging to explain and to learn. To answer the earlier question it can really a bit of both, but more of the latter, it could mean either as well, since there is no context.
Given the dog's breakfast that this course remains, I'm absolutely stunned that I got through this question on the first try.
"When I meet with my friends on the weekend we drink beer."
Thanks to everyone who reported alternative correct answers.
Edit: It's much better a year later.
Wow, so instead of seven "eggs", make it seven "waters" then. I didn't know this trick of converting uncountable nouns to countable nouns so easily. Thanks :-)
P.S. I hope this little jest of mine will demonstrate the true difference between the countable nature of water and beer.
make it seven "waters" then.
countable nature of water
Except that water doesn't have any countable nature. Not all nouns can be both countable in some situations and uncountable in others.
Anyways, I'm going to leave it at this because others that have commented in this thread will receive email notifications every time someone posts a new comment. But relating back to the sentence at the top, I guess "beers" isn't really wrong but it's just not as natural as "beer".
'would drink' is wrong here, because 'meet' is in the present tense while 'would' represents a habitual action. But habitual action in the present is a contradiction in terms. It will work if you change 'meet' to the past: "When my friends and I met on weekends, we would drink beer.'
I can't say exactly how common it is, but it's perfectly normal and natural English, at least in North America. In fact, it's common enough that there's an internet-based service company called Meetup that facilitates groups of people getting together.
That said, "get together" is also a common phrase. I'm not sure if there's a closer Chinese equivalent to this, but perhaps "小聚", "聚聚", or "聚会", depending on the context.
The mistakes you make in your comments suggest that you're not a native English speaker, and you don't have native-level English. This isn't a criticism in itself, and I applaud your effort, but it does make me wonder why you haven't phrased your comment as a question instead of a statement.
You're wrong here. "Meet up" is normal English, and very common.