"Nous donnions à différentes associations."

Translation:We used to donate to various charities.

April 17, 2018

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Why not, "We were giving to different charities."


You are absolutely correct in my view. Describes an on-going action in the past.


I selected the tiles 'we donate to different charities' (i.e not including the left over tiles 'used' and 'to' as in the answer above)

My answer was flagged as having a typo (? on a tile question) and accepted... should it have been?


It is not a typo but a conjugation error.

"Nous donnions" is past imperfect so "we donate" in present cannot work.

"Nous donnions" in imperfect can mean:

  • We were giving, to describe an on-going action in the past
  • We used to give, to describe a past habit/repeated event.


Thanks for the nice explanation, Sitesurf. Anyhow, it'd be better to have that answer marked as wrong IMHO. And even if half correct answers are accepted, the student error should be better described than "a typo".


I agree, but the computer has not received specific instructions for such a case. It only saw that one letter (d) was missing.


Out of curiosity, how does one write the idea "We donate to different charities", in the sense that I donate to Oxfam and she donates to the Red Cross?



Nous donnons (elle et moi) à des associations différentes.


Why does differente sometimes precede, sometimes not precede, the noun(s)?


Good question. In French class, we learned that only certain adjectives precede the noun, and different is not one of them, therefore it should follow the noun.


Read the comments.


Why not, literally, 'we used to give to different groups'?


Why various? Why not different? Is it because it is placed before associations, thus becoming less descriptive and more figurative?

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I heard the man's voice of "donnions a" as "don-ni-yon-WA". I thought it should be "do-ni-yon-Za" or "don-ni-yon- A".

The female voice reads "do-ni-ion-A", same I thought.

Question on how to pronounce the "ions" with following "a". Any help please?


Until now, "associations" has been "organizations" in the sentences. Why is "We used to give to different organizations." now incorrect? Please clarify to ease my confusion.


It should work, report it.


I did. Thanks, though.


Can anyone explain why "différentes" comes before the noun here? Thanks.


Before the noun, "différentes" means "several", "multiple" or "various". After the noun, it means specifically "different" as in "not the same".

So, "Nous donnions à différentes associations." would mean "we give to several charities."

And "Nous donnions aux associations différentes." Would be used in a case like: "My husband and I are both philanthropists, but we give to different charities."

Although, as with any language, there are exceptions and people don't always use the word placement this way. It all depends on context.


This has ALWAYS confused me.


Didn't "associations" also used to mean "organizations"?


Association has several meanings, depending on the context. Here the context is that donations are received, so "charities" is a good bet. Do you agree?


"Charities" usually are "des associations" but not all "les associations" are charities. Think of the NRA in the US or "l'Association des Amateurs de l'Authentique Andouille Auvergnate" in France, which is a club of lovers of the authentic "andouille" (small sausage made of chitterlings) from Auvergne.


But you could also donate to those associations/organizations without them being charities. So shouldn't they also be acceptable translations?


Yes, you could, no problem. I just wished to explain what "une association" is in France. The accepted translations for associations are: associations/non-profits/charities/organizations.


Boy does this "correct" English transliteration seem awkward to me. Is "Associations" always translated as "Charities"?


Please read the rest of the thread.

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Semantically speaking, charities is equivalent to associations/organisations caritatives. Please adjust the original sentence to avoid ambiguity.


This is confusing, if this is the meaning, how do we then say "we donated"?


"We donated" could translate to "Nous donnions" depending on context.

The imparfait tense is used to describe ongoing activities and states in the past. So, for example:

"When I was young, we donated a lot of money to help the poor"

would translate with the imparfait because the action of giving was ongoing:

-->"Quand j'etais jeune, nous donnions beaucoup d'argent aux pauvres."

But, if the act of giving was a single time action, it would be Passé Composé:

"I gave you 5 euros last week!"--> "Je vous ai donné 5 euros la semaine derniere!"

Although, "faire donner" or "faire un don" is a closer translation of "to donate". "Donner" by itself can safely be translated to "to give" in most situations. It's just like in English: "We donate our time" and "We give our time" are synonymous.


I got the listening exercise for this sentence, how can I know that "differentes associations" is supposed to be plural.


"Différentes associations" means "various associations". With this meaning, there is no singular.

With the meaning of "different associations", as the plural of "a different association", the French would be "des associations différentes", as the plural of "une association différente".


I believe an article would be required if it were singular.

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