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"J'écris une lettre."

Translation:I am writing a letter.

5 years ago

109 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/Ada1974

It could also mean: I am writing a letter.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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you are right. if "I am writing a letter" was not proposed, you should flag it as a mistake next time you meet this sentence.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ada1974

Thanks, it wasn't. How can I flag a problem?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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You found the button to "discuss the sentence", so you will find the "report a problem" button, which is just next to it on the left side. Then you will be proposed a drop-down menu to specify what your problem relates to and you will also have a box where you can explain exactly what the issue is, or propose an improvement, etc.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bT9m

Or is it possible to say "Je suis en train d'écris une lettre"? Is there any change in the form of the verb 'écris' in this sentence?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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after a proposition, verbs are in infinitive: je suis en train d'écrire une lettre.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Desmond0

Ya well it is i write a letter

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/THeNeeno

And it is also "I am writing a letter." That was exactly the point. In English they mean different things, but they are said one way in French.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DaveRegan1

Wouldn't that be Je vous ecris une lettre? It seems to me that this should be I write a letter.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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You have added "vous" (you) though there is no indication of whom the speaker is writing to.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/iCat28

How do you know when to put the appostrophe like in J'ecris instead of saying Je ecris???

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Germandy
Germandy
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If the following word starts with a vowel, you take off the "e" and replace it with the apostrophe. It mends the to words together so they sound more smooth. J'écris, j'ai, j'entends, j'entre, j'envoie, j'habite, j'utilise, j'installe... :-)

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/luizfalves

So it's not optional, then? I thought it was...

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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It is mandatory because that kind of "elision" is not like I'm instead of I am, it is not to save time, but to avoid hiatus and ease the flow of the speech.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brdie91
Brdie91
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French is a very fluent and beautiful sounding language. If it were je ecris, it'd sound weird. So you remove the e from je, and combine with an apostrophe. The same goes for h's. Ex: J'habite New York(I live in new York)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ejenajej

Why there is no liaison between "ecris" and "une"?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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Marking the liaison would be preferable, but the voice (like many French people) forgot it.

For a better flow of the sentence: écri-Z-une

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/allburningup

Many French people skip the liaison? How many? Has it become more common to skip it than to say it?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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It is the correct usage, to mark the liaison. Educate people include liaisons when they speak, less educate people make spelling mistakes and skip liaison (but not all, because some sentences are hard to understand or to pronounce without liaisons). And in some cases, even educate people forget to mark the liaison, as anybody can make spelling or grammar mistakes.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mitaine56

In Québec, this liaison isn't used very often. I mean in this specific case.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jasen.yee

If you go by the sound, you can hear a strong distinction between the end of "une" and the beginning of "ecris." You mash the two together only if the end of the first words sounds like the beginning of the second word, like "je" and "ecris." And plus, putting "une" and "ecris" together does not make any sense. I mean, "a write?"

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
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No, it is when the next word starts with a vowel that you hear the usually silent last letter of the word as if it started the word with the vowel. In the case of the last letter being an 's', its sound changes to a 'z' sound. There is no physical difference to the spelling of those words as there is between je and a word that starts with a vowel. The liason between "écris une" is not visible, just auditory, as it will sound like (ékree zuun).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bboblom

Is there any difference in how "I am writing a letter" or "I write a letter" are expressed in French?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SirOctopus

They are one in the same. Same for "I run" "I am running" and the likes.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/penseesdevous

But how would you know when each one is used? Would I know by context clues or something?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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When we want to express that an action is in progress at the time we speak, we use "en train de", which is the exact meaning of the English continuous tense:

  • je suis en train d'écrire une lettre

  • il est en train de courir

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AdamCurtis

But don't get in the habit of using 'en train de' every time you want to translate a progressive sentence (I am (verb)ing) into French. 'En train de' is emphatic. Usually it's unnecessary. Personally I save it for when I want to express an equivalently emphatic idea from English.

For example, to say "I work" or "I'm working," I would say simply "Je travaille." To say angrily "I'm working!" or "I'm in the middle of working" or "I'm working right now," I would say "Je suis en train de travailler."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rose_boatly

Who would not know that

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/THeNeeno

So “Je suis en train de" would make this something like “I am actively" or “I am in the process of"? I like it. Very emphatic.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rockinrolen

How can you tell the difference between a masculine and a feminine word?\

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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You have to learn each new noun with its gender then when you use that word, you have to remember that articles, adjectives and some past participle have to agree with that gender.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MomoDarling

Don't get why letters are considered feminine.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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You just have to admit it and remember it. All nouns have a gender, there is no need to understand why.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AabLevellen

The physical letters are not considered feminine, the word letter is. It has to do with its linguistic origins.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/traceystarck

Can someone explain when to use the forward leaning accent mark instead of the backward leaning one? Like the accent mark over the "e" in ecris (write).

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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"é" is an acute accent (pronounced EH) and "è" is a grave accent (pronounced like "they").

unfortunately, you have to learn each word with its spelling and precise accents.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cbatt
cbatt
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How can you tell when to use un instead of une?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SirOctopus

Un = Masculine, Une = Feminine

Un homme, Une femme

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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Every noun has its own gender, so you have to learn all new words with their genders.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bumblebea_91

yes this is constantly where I get caught up. I get that they mean different genders but I still use un where I am not supposed to. How are we supposed to know that its une pomme and une lettre. So confusing.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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You are shown new nouns one after another and you have to practice them with determiners as they come.

So, you have to learn "une pomme" and "une lettre", as if they were one word, and not only "pomme" or "lettre". Otherwise, you will not remember the gender next time you come across these words.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/shaaaaaronz

Would you please tell me why it's "la lettre" but "une lettre"? In my understanding, "la" is for masculine, and "une" is for feminine.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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There are 2 main sets of articles:

  • definite articles: le (masc), la (fem), les (plural) = "the"

"le" and "la" are changed to "l' " whenever the following word starts with a vowel sound.

  • indefinite articles: un (masc), une (fem), des (plural) = "a/an" in singular (in plural: no article or "some").
2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Asem94

Why we put s at the end of the verb?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AdamCurtis

Letters and sounds at the end of French verbs can change depending on the sentence's subject. Here, the subject 'je' means you must use ecrire's first person singular form, ecris. If the subject were 'Elle', then the verb would change to 'ecrit'. This phenomenon is known as inflection, which also happens with English verbs. For instance, "I write" and "she writes". But, as you're discovering, inflection in French happens far more in French than English. It's one of French's bigger challenges for English speakers. --- I recommend not worrying about this detail too much yet. You're still working on introductory French, and there will be exercises later devoted specifically to verb inflection and conjugation.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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All French verbs are conjugated with different endings for different persons:

verb écrire (3rd group) : j'écris, tu écris, il/elle/on écrit, nous écrivons, vous écrivez (polite singular or plural), ils/elles écrivent.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zhi_Jing

Is there any simple way to memorise all the conjugate? thank you.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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There are patterns common to groups of verbs:

  • 1st group verbs have an infinitive in -er (like "manger"). The endings in indicative present are always the same.
  • 2nd group verbs have an infinitive in -ir and 1st person plural in -issons (like "finir"). Again all endings are similar.
  • 3rd group verbs are all the others, sub-divided in several categories.

What you can do, until they all get printed in your mind, is to hover on French verbs contained in the sentences you have to translate to English, and click on "conjugate" at the bottom of the little window.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zhi_Jing

Thank you very much! It's very helpful. Is there any recommended website from you which i can get to know the groups of verbs in more details?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cinda23

why is "I wrote a letter" wrong?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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"wrote" is preterit and "écris" is present.

I wrote a letter = j'ai écrit une lettre

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jack1789

There should be a liaison here, oui?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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Optional, but welcome.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HuiyingKoh

How should I pronounce "r" in French? It sounds so complicated.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SirOctopus

This might give you an audible idea

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsErE00ItH0

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HuiyingKoh

Oh dear this really helps a lot. And oh dear... This is so tough. Thanks for providing me the reference anyway! :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SirOctopus

You'll get the hand of it. If you ever learned how to ride a bike, then I'm sure you can learn a language.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kris.espancho

I don't know how to type in the accents on the letters on my tab.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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you have a virtual keyboard on the site.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AabLevellen

See if there are settings to allow you to have French as one of your input languages and a word suggestion feature turned on. Then you can pick the right word suggestion as you write.

Here are more suggestions on how to access accents: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/2511843

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/on.the.brink
on.the.brink
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On many tablets or phones, you can access the accents from the touchscreen keyboard. Tap and hold down a letter for a second - a menu will pop up and display all the accent options for that letter. Then tap the accent that you want. For example, on my android tablet when I tap and hold the 'e' key - ë, é, 3, è, ê, and ē display as options.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SanthoshKu592065

What's the difference between je and j' or is it just a contraction like do not and don't

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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The elision of "je" to "j' " is mandatory, whenever the next word starts with a vowel sound:

  • j'aime les fraises
  • j'habite à Paris

Whereas "don't" is not mandatory.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/efuzzy

this is not propper english i am writing a letter should work

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE
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It is proper English but not the same temse in "I write" and "I'm writing". As in French, there's no continuous temse, both are the same in French.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
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Yes, it is also correct.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mahmood.mehr

"Je ecris" is wrong?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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Yes, when "je" is placed in front of a word starting with a vowel, the "e" is dropped and replaced by an apostrophe. This is called "an elision" and it is mandatory.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WolfBrown

does not sound like lettre it sounds like lett

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
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The 'e' is not pronounced and there is no emphasis on the 'r' so it is more mildly pronounced than in English.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Scottacious

Why doesn't she say, "J'ecri-Z-une lettre" why doesn't she tie the letters together?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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Liaisons are a phonetic convention that does not overtly appear in writing.

  • "J'écris une lettre" naturally links the ending '-s' and the starting 'u-'
  • "J'écris des lettres" does not require any liaison since "des" starts with a consonant.
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/diannelinc

if you wanted to simply say to someone "write!" would you just say 'ecris' or would you still say jecris? as the " J' " signifies the I, so does it mean you leave it out if you were talking to another?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
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If you were telling someone to write, there would certainly be no j' nor je which means I as the subject would be you or tu écris. You are right that for the imperative you omit the subject : Écris! or Écrivez! for vous.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RahulBajpa

How does one say J'écris

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
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I recommend you listen to forvo.com with French abd type it in to listen to French speakers.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KuushagraM

I want to know why ' suis' is not used. I think that it should be Je suis ecris une lettre

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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je suis écris = I am write, so you can see by yourself that this is wrong.

I am writing uses auxiliary "to be" + gerund to mean a continuous, progressive action.

This tense does not exist in French.

Therefore: I am writing = "j'écris" (simple past) or "je suis en train d'écrire" (meaning that I am in the process of writing right now).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/XXXINYI

how to pronounce the J'ecris?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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Please use forvo.com

Maybe have a look at IPA for French

[ʒekri]

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/abeeaquino

Is there a difference between un and une?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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"une" is the feminine version of "un", both indefinite articles:

un arbre, un homme, un animal (masculine nouns) = a/one tree, a/one man, an/one animal

une fleur, une femme, une girafe (feminine nouns) = a/one flower, a/one woman, a/one giraffe

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/isobelvmiller

what is ecrit

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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écrit is the conjugation for il or elle (3rd person singular)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tharun37

does it could mean i am wrting a book

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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une lettre = a letter

un livre = a book

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Prianca

Why can't it be J'écris une livre?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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"livre" is masculine.

You should start to learn every new noun with its gender, like:

  • book = "un-livre"
  • letter" = "une-lettre"

as if the indefinite article were a prefix.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chun-WeiKang

what about "i wrote"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CarinaSnowQueen

I wrote is past tense, and you learn that later on in French i think. I write and I am writing are both present tense, so they would both be j'ecris.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CatSaIazar

i wrote i was writing a letter and it said it was incorrect

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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was writing is past tense, whereas "écris" is present.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lukekettle

it could mean i wrote a letter

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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I wrote a letter (past tense) = j'ai écrit une lettre (compound past)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bob_baaab

i typed i am writing an letter that should be could be correct right

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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an letter is incorrect, because "an" is used only if the next word starts with a vowel sound = a vowel or a mute H: an apple, an hour.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Donovan_leroux

it should be i wrote a letter!!!!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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No, because "j'écris" is simple present.

In past tenses:

  • j'écrivais = imperfect (imparfait)
  • j'écrivis = simple past (passé simple: not taught on Duolingo)
  • j'ai écrit = compound past (passé composé)
3 years ago