Some words have 'du' before them, others have 'de', is this to do with fem/masc?
In this case the english sentence "we eat bread" is really "we eat some bread" - however in english we can leave out "some" if we like. In french we can not leave out "some". In this case "du" = "some".
We must also note that "du" is actually "de + le" but is always written and said as "du" so when the noun is masculine as in this case we use "du".
With a feminine noun we use "de la" as a translation of "some" this is not contracted and so is just written as "de la".
So as an example "we eat meat" = "we eat some meat" = "nous mangeons de la viande".
There are different rules for plural nouns but I won't bore you with those right now.
"De" on its own however is a completely different matter. It has several other meanings including "of" and "from".
One thing that can cause confusion is that "de +le" can also mean "of the". We have to remember that it must still be written as "du".
""The hat of the boy" = "le chapeau du garçon"
Therefore "du" can translate as "some" - in other cases it can translate as "of the". Very important - these are separate meanings don't get them confused and in particular do not combine them.
"Du" does not translate as "some of the".
"Nous mangeons du pain" can be translated as either:-
We are eating some bread.
We are eating bread.
The English sentences mean the same thing but in English we can leave out "some" we want to.
In French we can't leave a naked noun so we can't leave out "some" in the french sentence - so in this case it must be "du pain".
I thought that "du" was used for something you don't quantify, like air. Can't you request 2 slices of bread, therefore making it quantifiable?
You are right - however in this case bread is uncountable like air.
The original sentence did not mention slices of bread. If it had been slices of bread or pieces of bread then it would have been "des"
Actually it simply implies that the word has no article. Make sure you check before posting! @PatrickJaye
Not at all, Jayla. PatrickJaye is correct. The use of "du" (m) and "de la" (f) are partitive articles and refer to an unspecified amount of something. This is a challenge for most new learners. You can open this link in a browser to get a complete explanation. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/fl/Du-De-La-Deshellip-Expressing-Unspecified-Quantities-In-French.htm
So in French, if the noun is not accompanied by an article such as 'le, la, un, une,' etc, does it have to be accompanied by 'du'? We can't just write is as 'Nous mangeons pain'?
That is right. We cannot write "Nous mangeons pain"
In French nouns almost always need an article (or some other determiner - eg. your bread - votre pain). They cannot stand alone.
"Du" is an article. It is the partitive article used with masculine non-countable nouns. It means an unspecified amount of something. In English we can usually translate it as "some". In English that is optional.
Du is not an article it just replaces an article. And In english It is not optional for example you MUST say i have some money instead of I have much money! Please stop spreading false information
Slow down, jayla. Please read PatrickJaye's posts above. They are correct. And please don't make assertions that someone is wrong until you are sure your information is correct.
mangeons totally sounded like mangent! how was i supposed to know? I just getting used to this stuff!
"mangent" should sound like "mange" as you don't pronounce the "ent", vs "mangeons" is pronounced as "mange+on", you can hear the "on" pretty clearly. Youtube some French lessons taught by real person, it helps to look at their lip motions too. The only tricky part is when "mangent" is followed by "un". But you can always tell as "mangeons" can only happen when it's "nous" "mangeons", and "mangent" only follows "ils" or "elles" or any other kind of "they." Hope it helps.
Who the subject is. All verbs get conjugated based on who it is that is "verbing". In English it is very simple: I eat, you eat, he eats, we eat, you (plural) eat, they eat. In French it is: je mange, tu manges, il mange, nous mangeons, vous mangez, ils mangent. While it seems incredibly complicated at first, there are verb groupings that all get conjugated the same way. For example, the verb mangER ends in ER. All regular verbs that end in ER have the same endings -e, -es, -e, -ons, -ez, -ent. Once you memorize that, you'll be golden. Here's an article/lesson to get you started. There are more lessons you can click on at the bottom of the page. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/erverbs_regular.htm
It depends on who performs the action and is called verb conjugation. In English, we just go 'I am'/'you are' followed by a verb (eatING, drinking, laughing). In French, the verb 'changes' (gets conjugated) depending on the subject. An example is for MANGER (english: to eat).
I am Eating: Je Mange; You are Eating: Tu Manges; He/She is Eating: Il/Elle Mange; We are Eating: Nous Mangeons **Note: It is Nous mangeonS; You (all/respect) are Eating: Vous Mangez; They are Eating: Ils/Elles Mangent;
If you have a group of guys and girls eating, use Ils.
I notice that "I like wine" = "J'aime LE vin", vs "I am eating bread" = "Je mange du pain"... Does this mean that "wine" is a countable noun? Can I say "Je bois du vin" and "J'aime le pain"?
Both "vin" and "pain" are uncountable nouns.
When we use "aimer" or other appreciation verbs we use the definite article (le, la, les)
So yes we can say "je bois du vin" and "j'aime le pain".
Yes "I drink (am drinking) beer" = "Je bois de la bière"
"I like beer" = J'aime la bière"
I put 'we eat the bread' but it marked it as wrong. Can anybody help me??
Hi, Zoe. There are two different sentences here. "We eat THE bread" (nous mangeons le pain) and "we eat (some) bread" (nous mangeons du pain). The little word "du" (m) in this situation is called a partitive article. It is used to refer to an unspecified amount of something. It does not mean "the". PatrickJaye is correct and has given an excellent explanation at the top of this page. Please take a moment to read it. There is no direct counterpart in English but sometimes the word "some" is used. More often than not, it is omitted in English, but the "du" (for masculine nouns) or "de la" (for feminine nouns) may not be omitted in French. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/fl/Du-De-La-Deshellip-Expressing-Unspecified-Quantities-In-French.htm