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French nouns - une valise vs la valise

There are several questions now in Duolingo with a picture and a blank to fill in the French word.

Previously, there was a list of possible articles to choose from, but now I'm seeing questions without the list of articles.

For example, a picture of a suitcase. With the title: Write "suitcase" in French. The only answer that it accepts is "LA valise". Why not "UNE valise"?

Am I missing something here? Would a francophone automatically default to "La valise" when they see a picture of a suitcase instead of "une valise"?

April 17, 2018



No, a francophone would write "valise"!


This is pretty counterproductive for French learners, as Image exercises are meant to teach the full name of the things shown, which is determiner + noun. We'll see to this and add articles to the English noun (definite or indefinite) for learners to know they need the matching French article in their choice/translation.

Just for information, Image exercises are added by the staff without notice to the contributors' team, so we might have to search for all images, which might take some time.


There are others for the words "cœur", "oreille", "cerveau", "ombre", "cou" and "jambe" with just a picture, no articles, and only the definite-article-versions are accepted.


As well as the others listed above, there is "montagne", "forêt", and "pierre"

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In the Portuguese course they have "o" and "a" (Portuguese for "le" and "la") as check boxes on top of the word itself so there's confusion possible, it's odd that they did it differently for the french course.

Also it's weird to use the definite article for that because in french it devolves into "l'" when followed by a vowel so it doesn't teach you the gender of the noun properly, for instance "l'autruche", "l'arbre" etc... It would make more sense to use un/une that's always written in full IMO: "une autruche", "un arbre",...


In the Medical section. There's an exercise with the title "Write medicine in French" and a picture of a pill bottle without the articles to choose. The only accepted answer is "les medicaments". Apart from not accepting the indefinite article, how are we to know it is plural?


I added "the" before "medicine" so that the system adds a choice of articles for you to translate it to "les médicaments" and I added "le médicament" as another correct answer, since this noun is regular in French (with a singular and a plural forms). Next time you get this exercise, pls let me know if it works properly, thanks.


There is also the exercise "Write Science in French" without articles.


The lesson for "Bus" is slightly different. The direction is: Select the French for "bus". But then each picture has the article included, like "Le bus".

If the directions read: Select the French for "the bus" it would fit.


This was corrected one week ago for you to get "the bus" = le bus. Yet, corrections may take some time to show on some platforms.

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