"She is out of milk."

Translation:Elle n'a plus de lait.

December 2, 2017

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When I put this sentence into UK english I wrote " she doesn't have any milk" so translated it to " Elle n'a pas du lait" but was marked wrong by Duo. I would be interested to find out if that was because my sentence was formed incorrectly or if it was because Duo considered my sentence to have a different meaning. Can anyone shed some light on this for me please? :]



Think of it: "she is out of milk" means that usually, she has some, but now she has run out of milk.

Therefore the translation needs to be "elle n'a plus de lait" (no longer).

"Elle n'a pas/plus/jamais de lait" (not "du") is the construction when the sentence is negative.


My English mind wants to associate the "plus" in this sentence with the milk ('no more milk') while the French interpretation associates "plus" with the temporal state (no longer). So how would you differentiate in French between 'have no more of milk' Vs 'no longer have any milk'? I also put "elle n'a pas du lait", but maybe the "du" was what caused it to be rejected.


With a verb in negative, the partitive article is replaced with "de":

  • elle n'a pas/plus/jamais... de lait

She does not have any more milk = Elle n'a pas plus de lait (no additional supply): in this sentence "plus" is not a negative but a positive and you have to pronounce the S.

She no longer has milk = Elle n'a plus de lait: "ne... plus" is negative and you do not pronounce the S.


They are the same in French. (Just like "Je mange" can mean both "I eat" and also "I am eating," and "J'ai mangé" can mean "I have eaten," "I did eat," and also "I ate.")

There are twenty thousand less words in French than in English, so a lot of words will double up. Think of it as a bonus for us native Englsh speakers! There is less to memorize.


I wrote "Elle n'a pas de lait" and was also marked incorrect, so they were looking for the plus...


I would interpret the French translation as "she hasn't any more milk". Confusing.


Once there is ne.. isn't there always a pas to follow?


No, not always. "Ne" is always there but the second negative word can change:

  • ne... plus = not anymore, not anymore, no more
  • ne... jamais = not ever, never
  • ne... rien = not anything, nothing
  • ne... aucun(e) = not any, not one, none
  • ne... personne = not anyone, not anybody, no one, nobody


Again this is dreadful american english. Is she a young female horse born from a mare and sired by a named stallion? Has she come from milk? In the vernacular you would say 'She has run out of milk' which implies all 'the milk' has gone, been used up.


Why is "Elle n'a pas plus de lait" incorrect?


The story is a bit different:

  • "elle n'a plus de lait" is purely temporal and means that she no longer has milk.
  • "elle n'a pas plus de lait" does not mean that she has none, but what she has is in limited amount.
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