You're right. I can't think of any situation where I would say "He is eating a candy." The English translation should be either "He is eating a piece of candy." or "He is eating candy." Though I entered "He is eating a sweet." and I don't think I'd get funny looks from my friends for saying that, so I find that an acceptable translation.
That would be "il mange du bonbon" where "du" is a partitive article referring to an undetermined amount of something. It is actually considered the plural of "un" but there is no real equivalent in English other than saying (some) candy. Other examples, il mange du poisson = he is eating fish, i.e., an undetermined amount of fish vs. il mange un poisson = he is eating a fish.
So the issue here is "count noun" vs "mass noun"
A count noun is fine to refer to by sheer number. A tree, sixteen trees.
Mass nouns must have qualifiers. You wouldn't say "a rice". A grain of rice, a cup of rice, etc.
You're right, but thinking about how much more common count nouns seem to appear in French has helped ms immensely.
I'm Brazilian and we have that same thing here. In both Portuguese and French, we have male and female nouns. In English, you just use 'the' for all nouns. In French, "la" (the) and "une" (a) are for female nouns, while "le" (the) and "un" (a) are for male nouns. In Portuguese, however, it is "a" (the) and "uma" (a) for female nouns, and "o" (the) and "um" (a) for male nouns.
That's kind of how it is here in the US. Very rich, special and decadent, and also used occasionally in phases to describe being spoiled or lazy, "I was in bed all day eating bon bons while those firemen were fighting the fire". Over the last several years ice cream bon bons have become very popular and now that's what I think of when I hear the word bon bons.
You are going to see a lot of terms which appear in UK English and US English. If your answer is accepted, then it is accepted. When you sign on to Duolingo, please understand that you are entering a world where English is spoken in many variations. "Lolly" is accepted to accommodate Australian English and "sweet" singular, "sweets" plural, for British English, but there is no version of Duolingo that is exclusively for the use of Australian English speakers. So we must face the fact that different versions of English will be shown and that we do not make disparaging remarks about others.
If, as Andrew433661 says, you want to say "candy", it is really not correct. "Un bonbon" refers to a singular item, not a category or something general, i.e., it is "a piece of candy" to AmE speakers whereas BrE speakers are likely to refer to it as "a sweet". For "he is eating candy", it would be "il mange des bonbons", where "des" is the plural form of the partitive article referring to an unknown quantity of something. In the given exercise, "un bonbon" is not an unknown quantity, it is one. Given the various forms that candy may take, in AmE, this is generally expressed as "a piece of". BrE approaches the concept of candy similar to the French "un bonbon", referring to it as "a sweet". Does this help you?
French has no "continuous present" tense. So "je mange" may be translated as "I eat" or "I am eating". If you need to emphasize that the action is happening at this very moment, you can say "je suis en train de manger un bonbon". The expression "en train de" with the infinitive is translated with the continuous present tense in English.
There is, but it is not used as habitually as in English. It's used to emphasise that the action takes time, or to establish it is happening when something else happens, or for emphasis.
You form the present continuous using: être en train de + inf.
Je suis en train the manger un bonbon. = I'm busy eating a sweetie.
Australian English uses "lolly" to refer to a wrapped piece of candy. When it's on a stick, it is generally called a "lollipop" which is not called by the generic name since it is a specific kind of candy/sweet. Aus/NZ may use it generically although the Cambridge English Dictionary is fairly specific about it. In that sense, a lollipop is not "un bonbon", but "une sucette".
It's AmE and BrE. In AmE, "un bonbon" is "a piece of candy". In BrE, "un bonbon" is "a sweet" or perhaps "a lolly". A clear understanding of this takes us face-to-face with the use of the French partitive articles which are used to refer to undetermined quantities of something. Here's an example of how it works with the noun "bonbon" (a countable noun):
- un bonbon = a piece of candy (AmE), a sweet/lolly (BrE)
- le bonbon = the (piece of) candy, the candy, the sweet, etc.
- les bonbons = the candies (there is more than one of them) but refers to some specific ones.
- des bonbons = (some) candy. There is no counterpart to the plural partitive article in English, although "some" can be used. It is usually omitted in English, but the "des" may not be omitted in French when used to mean an undetermined quantity of candy.
To learn more, open this link in your browser: https://www.thoughtco.com/du-de-la-des-1368977
I feel like "He is eating candy" should be acceptable. I understood that I was omitting the article for the sake of a clean translation, but the app seems to want me to include the article even though it's not quite right in English. Duolingo often punishes me for clunky translations that err on the side of accuracy to the source language, so I decided to go with accuracy to the target. No consistency.
That is one of the accepted answers but perhaps not the most natural expression in English. The French present tense may be translated as either "he eats" or "he is eating". French does not have a separate verb tense for present continuous but it is used quite often in English.