"Fish live in the streams."

Translation:Les poissons vivent dans les ruisseaux.

April 16, 2018

4 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/lecosse

Clearly I am slow to grasp a principle here; why 'Les poissons'? which fish? Not all fish live in streams, only some fish live in streams. Or are we talking about some specific fish? 'Les' or 'Des'? Can anyone help my ignorance?

April 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/georgeoftruth

Any statement of generality, whether true or not, uses the definite article*. If I want to say "fish live on land", I would still use the definite: "Les poissons vivent sur terre." Obviously, that's not true, but I'd be correct grammatically. Or if you want a semi-true statement, "Les poissons vivent dans la mer." Still the definite article.

If you were to exclude things and say "some fish live...", it's better to quantify it with "certains" or "quelques" as in "certains poissons vivent..." or "quelques poissons vivent..." It's good to keep in mind that "des" is simply the plural of "un" or "une." Using "des" in the subject means "more than one".

*The asterisk above is because something like "un poisson n'a pas de jambes" can also be considered a statement of generality. Using a singular indefinite article, of course.

April 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/lecosse

Thank you, very helpful, and with a little more focus I may get it.

April 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Yiannis49

“Des poissons habitent dans les ruisseaux” should be accepted because this sentence can also mean that a few fish live in the streams aside from the general statement that fish live in streams.

August 28, 2018
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