"How do you eat chicken?"

Translation:Comment manges-tu le poulet ?

February 14, 2018

This discussion is locked.


"Comment mangez-vous du poulet"


To quote a post by Sitesurf in a thread on the reverse translation:

"How do you eat chicken" is about chicken in general. "how do you eat the chicken" is a chicken in particular.

In French, if you want to inquire about something in general, you will still need to add a "definite" article: le, la, les l' (in front of a vowel).

Taking this explanation into account, "Comment mangez-vous le poulet" would be an accepted answer.

You can read through the thread here:



I still don't understand, I thought "du" is supposed to be used for something general and "le, la, les, l'" for something particular (as you stated)? Yuck! Is it because its not part of the chicken or 'some' of it?


The articles "du, de la" are not general but partitive.

To remember what "partitive" is about, remember "part of"... something uncountable.

There is a difference between "eat some chicken" (partitive) and "eat chicken as a food category" (generalization).

The question here is inquiring about how you usually eat chicken as a food category. Do you eat it cold or warm, roasted or smoked?... that is the meaning of the question.

This is why you need "le poulet" as "chicken in general".


I love how Duolingo teaches this type of nuance, although it's difficult to infer on one's own. It'd be great if there were pop-up tips for answers that you get wrong and that are common pitfalls for newbies (or if you can track the frequency of incorrect answers, overall).


Good point. Good point.


Okay, so then why does DL require "du" for the question about "He like's vegetables, therefore he eats beans." It seems like "beans" means beans in general, not some actual amount of beans. It definitely marks "les haricots" wrong for that question.



Isn't it the same for bread? It should be le pain, but in the example, it's du pain. Comment manges-tu du pain?


"Comment manges-tu le pain ?" would, just like for "chicken" inquire about how you usually eat bread as a food category.


Let me get this straight then. If the chicken is right in front of me, and my friend is looking at it, then his question is: Comment manges-tu le poulet?

If I'm talking to a friend about food in a restaurant, then one of us can ask: Comment manges-tu du poulet?

Am I right?


"Comment manges-tu whatever as a food product in general" will always consider the object as a generality, hence the use of a definite article.

Reminder: The French definite articles are used for specific things and generalities.


Ok, I am still lost. Tell you why. How do you eat chicken? asks the question in general, hence I need du poulet here. If the question was "How do you eat the chicken (on the plate in front of you), then I would need le poulet into the sentence.

"The question here is inquiring about how you usually eat chicken as a food category. Do you eat it cold or warm, roasted or smoked?... that is the meaning of the question. This is why you need "le poulet" as "chicken in general"."

That's right. If it is about eating chicken generally, then why isn't it du poulet?

If I am still incorrect (which I suppose), then tell me an example of when we should use du poulet, please. I'm going crazy.


"Du poulet" is not "chicken in general", but "an unknown amount of a mass".


Ahh finally I get it! Thanks, very helpful.


I'm always getting confused on this issue and someone please correct me if I am wrong. In this sentence chicken can either be referred to as this specific chicken, the one in front of me, (How do you eat THE chicken) or eat chicken in general. (How do you eat chicken)

To refer to the chicken in general sense, a definite article (le, la, les) must be used. To refer to chicken specifically you may use either definite article ( le, la, les) for count nouns - the chicken OR partative article (du, de'la) for mass nouns - some chicken.

So either ''Comment manges-tu le poulet ?'' or "'Comment manges-tu du poulet?'' should be accepted.



If you can add "some" before an uncountable noun without changing the meaning of the whole sentence, you will need a partitive article in French.

In this case, "How do you eat some chicken?" looks really weird.

The question here is inquiring about how you usually eat chicken as a food category: Do you eat it cold or warm, roasted or smoked, with mustard, vegetables?... that is the meaning of the question.

This is why you need "le poulet" as "chicken in general".


Does that mean, using coffee as the example, "il boit le café," means "he drinks coffee" generally, whereas "il boit du café," means "he drinks coffee" right now or "he is drinking coffee"?


"Il boit le café" is short for "il boit la tasse de café", so it is very close to "il boit du café" but "le café" is more precisely a specific serving.

"He drinks coffee" is "il boit du café", which also means "he is drinking coffee". In either case (habit or action in progress), he can only drink an "unknown amount of a mass thing".


That's good enough for me! Whether I write du poulet, du pain,du poisson etc and they are marked as incorrect I will try to memorise them for future corrections because I'm totally confused by du and le.


Without being able to easily explain why, I can sense that 'du' wouldn't be quite right in this case, so you end up having to use 'le'. To get round the problem of whether 'le' means chicken in general or this particular chicken in front of you, I imagine in the latter case you would add -ci or -la (sorry, can't do an accent on this keyboard) after 'le poulet'.


On further reflection, I don't get any sense of the question referring to a specific chicken, otherwise the natural thing in English would have been to say 'this' or 'that' chicken, so it has to be 'le'.

[deactivated user]

    Avec ta bouche, évidemment.


    I took 'you' to mean in a general sense so put 'mange-t-on', (ie 'how does one eat') but was marked wrong.

    • 2067

    Is anyone else who mis-read it as " how do you eat children"?
    I was scared at first.


    Is there a reason I can't interpret this sentence more generally as "how does one eat chicken" and translate it as "Comment mange-on le poulet?"


    The reason is that English sentences with "you" are given French translations with "tu" and "vous", unless the sentence is an obvious advice, general statement or public address.


    Comment est-ce que tu manges le poulet? should be accepted too. Or am I wrong?


    You should not use "est-ce que" after interrogatives of 2 or more syllables. You can use it with "que, qui, où" and "quand". Many French people do it, but we are teaching proper French :-)


    Could you not say, Comment on mange le poulet? I took the meaning of this question to be more, "how does one do this?" instead of "how do YOU do this?"


    Conventionally, on this course, "you" translates to "tu" or "vous".

    The other way around, "on" can translate to "we, you, one, someone..." depending on context.


    I agree with the above comment. The French could quite properly and correctly be “on” in this sentence. It!s artificial to limit it for this course. Quite silly question either way.


    Is 'comment est-ce que tu manges du poulet' correct?


    Not quite because you should not use "est-ce que" when the interrogative word has 2 or more syllables. You can use "est-ce que" after: qui, que, où, quand.


    Thanks, I am trying to figure out when one should use "est-ce que" versus the verb-article type of question. I am still not sure but this helps!


    Comment est-ce que tu manges le poulet?

    why doesn't Duo recognise this as an alternative correct answer ??


    Please read the answer given to Pickleknows above.


    Why can't you say "Comment est-ce que tu manges du poulet?"


    Because "comment" is enough as an interrogative word to start a question.

    Please keep "est-ce que" for close-ended questions (answer: yes or no).


    you did not provide "manges-tu" as a selection. How are we suppose to learn if you don't get the selection correct.


    Ok. Thought I probably had to put 'le' in before poulet but wasn't sure. How and why is it ok for Duo to magickly insert a 'the' into a sentence that just doesn't have one. Under what circumstances would I be allowed to do that?


    what about 'comment on mange du poulet?'. I now understand why it would need 'le' instead of 'du'. But is another correct translation to use 'on' instead of 'tu'?


    Our convention is that when the English sentence has "you", the French translation should have "tu" or "vous", for learners to practice conjugations.

    The other way around, you will be able to translate "on" to "you" if the sentence is a piece of advice or general statement, or to "nous" in the other cases.


    I completely understand that it’s been set up like this and I can see the reasoning behind it. I was just asking if it’s a correct translation to use ‘on’ in this instance.


    I wrote: "comment mange-t-on le poulet" thinking that the "you" conveyed a general idea, so the use of "on" was OK as in "how does one eat chicken?" Perhaps I got the form wrong?


    Taking all comments into account, surely "du poulet" is not wrong??


    To make a long story short, "chicken" means "chicken in general" as a category of food. So, you need the definite article "le poulet" (= le poulet en général).


    'Comment est-ce que tu manges le poulet?' Is there any reason why this is not accepted?


    You should not use "est-ce que" after "comment". "Est-ce que" is reserved for "qui" and "que" and tolerated with "où" and "quand" because they are one-syllable interrogatives.


    du poulet should be correct also.


    Why isn't manges-tu acceptable?


    Yes, "comment manges-tu le poulet ?" is an accepted translation.


    Sitesurf - I was intrigued with your interpretation of this question. I didn't take it as being how I liked it cooked - roasted, grilled, etc. I was thinking about the process of eating chicken eg with a knife and fork or picking up a chicken leg with my fingers! In that case would I use du poulet?


    Even if you were asking about the best way to eat chicken (with sticks, a fork, your fingers...), "le poulet en général" or "le poulet spécifique" would still be the correct interpretations.


    sitesurf - many thanks for your response. I will get the use of de or le/la etc one day!!


    Why not 'du poulet'


    Please read the whole thread.


    There is no le in front of chicken so why is it not du poulet? The inconsistency is confusing


    Have you read the whole thread?


    The word “you” is usually used instead of “one” in common parlance, therefore using third person in this sentence is perfectly correct.


    "Comment tu mange du poulet?" is incorrect?


    "... tu manges le..."


    Why isn't "Comment est-ce que tu manges du poulet" not accepted?


    "Comment est-ce que" is ugly French. Please use "est-ce que" after "qui, que, où and quand", nothing else.

    formal: Comment manges-tu le poulet ?
    informal: Tu manges le poulet comment ? or "comment tu manges le poulet ?"

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