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  5. "Les ânes allaient et venaien…

"Les ânes allaient et venaient sur le pont."

Translation:The donkeys were coming and going on the bridge.

April 5, 2018


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Note that the French word order (allaient et venaient) is the reverse of idiomatic English which usually says "coming and going". It may also be expressed as "were going back and forth".


Duo makes me crazy. Sometimes we are required to give the word by word translation. Other times we are required to give the English meaning. I know that in English "coming and going" is the accepted phrase, but put "going and coming" because that is the literal translation. I was marked wrong.


I agree. They should note literal or figurative translation


a simple marker for literal translation would be good, if allowed (green), required (orange) or not (red with white bar).


Fortunately seems to have been fixed. Knowing how un-intuitive DL has become, I put "going and coming" even though it sounds completely wrong in English. I am sick of being marked wrong because of DL's pickiness about literal translation


Welcome to language learning. Sometimes a word by word transliteration will work, sometimes you need to find the closest equivalent.


The point is that Duo often demands literal word by word translations.


Couldn't agree more, how frustrating!


Thanks. I get it now.


Could you also translate this as "going to and fro" or "going back and forth" because coming and going doesn't really make complete sense?


Sure, you could do that in conversation or translating a book or something but Duo can't be expected to capture all possible reasonable equivalents. The idea here is to grasp the basic meaning, give Duo an answer it will recognize. You can improvise on your own time.


@Esther: I would like to repeat Esther's question. It has not been answered yet. I put "going to and fro" and it was marked wrong. Is it a missing option, or is it wrong?


Why there is no liaison between ânes and allaient?


The liaison is optional between a plural noun phrase subject and a verb (eg les ânes allaient). On the other hand, it is required between a personal pronoun subject and a verb (eg ils allaient).


How about 'over the bridge'?


It is also correct.


Is (The) donkeys required here. Previous sentences spring to mind, Birds have feathers. Owls are birds. Although les was in the french, not required for the english translation, is this sentence somehow different? Please bear in mind, I am already les/des challenged...


"The" is absolutely required for the English version of this sentence, because it's referring to specific donkeys. You can tell because 1) this sentence is in the past tense, so unless donkeys are extinct now, it cannot be describing a general characteristic of donkeys; 2) common sense should tell you that it is not a general characteristic of donkeys that they go back and forth over bridges.


I am not native English speaker so I have a doubt: I wrote "donkeys" instead of "the donkeys", because in other exercises the article is skipped, so I don't know how to identify where to use it and where it is not necessary


We would usually use the article in English if talking about a specific group of donkeys... for example, the ones mentioned earlier in the narrative, or those waiting at the bridge etc. "Donkeys" without the article would mean donkeys in general, not a specific group of donkeys.

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