"He keeps on being a bad boy."
Translation:Il continue d'être mauvais garçon.
maybe you should remember one basic rule about French: we love small words, and articles in particular. but there are times when a particular emphasis, a special turn of phrase, a legacy from older days (+ a number of still valid rules, of course) make us use nouns without articles.
personally, if I had to translate this English sentence, I would say: "il continue à être un méchant garçon" (which is very correct French, not a special twist of my own mind).
I put 'continue à être' (and was marked wrong). Is there any difference in nuance between using 'continue à' and 'continue de'? Both seem to be in use.
Nowadays, "continuer à" and "continuer de" are generally interchangeable.
You may choose "de" if the verb starts with a vowel sound, so as to avoid a hiatus:
- il continue d'avoir vs il continue à avoir. (A-A)
- but the hiatus is less marked in "il continue à être" (A-Ê)
According to the official rules (l'Académie Française), "continuer à" should be prefered when the action is in progress:
- l'homme prend son verre et continue à boire (he is finishing what he started)
And "continuer de" should be prefered for habits:
- l'ivrogne continue de boire (the drunk keeps his bad habits).
Duolingo does start bringing new words into the "strengthen skills" exercises as you get stronger.. It can be frustrating if you feel as if you are being tested, and with unfair questions. Just try to remember that you are just being nudged along, and there is no devious person writing the phrases trying to trip you up. The writers/programers are however trying to help you learn not to make some of the more common mistakes in speaking that would annoy a French speaker. It also helps if you read the notes provided after the tiles that list each of the lessons in a skill. Please be patient and try to just have fun and learn. You will enjoy it if you struggle on!
Both "mauvais" and méchant" can be placed before or after a noun, with a nuance in meaning (subjective vs objective).
"mauvais garçon" is a fixed phrase meaning "bad boy".
But you can easily say "c'est un garçon mauvais (=> I can prove it)" if this is a fact (although being particularly judgmental, this description should be more subjective than objective).
If you tell your son: "tu es un méchant garçon", the meaning will be "you are a naughty boy", more or less meaning that at this very moment, "he is being" as such.