"Il a de petits éléphants."

Translation:He has small elephants.

March 31, 2018

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Could someone explain to me why it's “de“ here and not “des“?


When a noun is preceded by an adjective, des becomes de: il a des éléphants, il a de petits éléphants.


Thanks- have a lingot


"De" sounds like "duh" whereas "des" sounds like "day"


If it's ''de'' then how do I find out if it's plural elephants?


I wondered the same thing. Listened to the response again and realized the liaison between "petits" and "éléphants" gives it away.


it sounds "deux" for me


I too thought it was deux.


It said the solution was He's some small elephants, which makes NO sense.


Some people who think they know English, actually have serious problems with the language. That solution is "bad," but there are people who mistakenly write that and they mean: "He has some small elephants." However, this abbreviation of has/have can only be used when forming present perfect verb tense. Example: They've eaten all the food. He's taken all the money.

I continually see supposedly "correct" English on Duo that looks suspiciously like ESL students decided on what was "correct" English. I would know, since I have been teaching ESL students for almost 30 years.


"Il a deux petits éléphants" et "Il a de petits éléphants" sont phonétiquement pareil et tous les deux bons.


Can anyone tell me how to tell ,when it is only auditory, the difference between plural and singular elephants?


Isn't 'Il a des éléphants petits' translation of 'He has small elephants'? When does the adjective preceed the noun?


The notes for 'Adjectives 1' introduce the BANGS rule: Adjectives precede the noun if they describe Beauty, Age, Number, Good or bad, and Size. So it would be "petits éléphants".

The notes for 'Plurals 2' state that if "des" is followed by an adjective, then it is shortened to "de". Thus it becomes "de petits éléphants".


when it's not really distinctive....you might say "il a des éléphants roses" - he has pink elephants - when emphasising something unexpected. Mind you, how often do you hear the phrase, "he has little elephants?"


Could it be "It has some small elephants" in reference to a zoo or a wildlife park. I don't know of anyone who has some small elephants- or even some big ones!


Excellent explanation and makes sense.


Who ownes a damn elephant?


Well, Bart had Stampy for a while.


I don't think i'll use this one much


very difficult to discern a difference between de and deux at full speed.


I put deux into my answer!


But it says it translates to "He's some small elephants." I will try: He has small elephants.


Hmm. I guess "He has some small elephants" is acceptable, but "He has small elephants" is more fitting.

[deactivated user]

    and <éléphants> me semble et <élésants>! pas


    Petit___small or little which?


    Basically, both!


    How do you know verbally that this is plural?


    And please don't say context.


    You should hear the 's' from petits join with the following 'é...'. When singular, that sound won't be there.


    Could not distinguish between singular and plural!


    Why is it that the same sentence translates to: He has then in other examples it is There is - there is no way of knowing when it is a "spoken" question.


    Why it has 'zeee' sound in it, like "petite-ezzz-zelephant"?


    Why not des petite éléphants?


    Okay, how could I know it was elephant and petit in plural?! I just couldn't! Since it's "de", there was ni way to figure it out it's in plural, cause it sounds the same petit-petits, and elephant(s)! Urgh!!!


    I was not able to detect the plural, How would you know when is singular or plural?


    In writing it is simple: look for the plural sign (an s in most cases).
    Orally it is a little more difficult, because "éléphant" and "éléphants" sound exactly the same. But in most cases the articles tell you what is meant: one elephant woiuld be "un éléphant", several elephants are "des éléphants".
    Here "des" becomes "de" because of the adjective in between.


    This les and des is going to be the death of me. I'm having a very difficult time hearing the difference.


    I get that this is an example sentence, but let's be real: this is absurd as my old Koine Greek grammar giving us sentences such as "On account of the teaching of the apostles the disciples entered the temple." Seriously, who has small elephants? I don't mean to be a pest here, but this example sentence is logically absurd unless you're a zookeeper or a collector of stuffed animals.


    this lesson isn't explained very well throughout duolingo. I've done many lessons on de vs des and did not at all understand the rule behind it until I looked up this forum. For me it was all guessing. they need to work on making this more obvious. Also I noticed duolingo on computer form explains the rules whereas the cell phone app lacks that feature entirely. it would be helpful if that was on the app.


    You are right in saying the browser version contains the "tips and notes". That's why I always use this one. You can use it on a mobile as well, just don't use the app but a web browser.

    "des" is the plural indefinite article. It becomes "de" when there are adjectives between the article and the noun (as is the case here).


    "Just to make the underlying pattern clearer: Generally, it's de + article. If you can count it, the article is plural, and de + les is is put together to get des. If it's not countable, it can be de + la for female things, or de + le for male things. Now, if the following word starts with a vowel, the article gets shortened to l', so you get de l'. And as an additional annoyance, de + le gets shortened to du."


    Thank you for clear explanation.

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