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  5. "I am eating butter."

"I am eating butter."

Translation:Je mange du beurre.

March 23, 2013



why we have to use 'du' here? can't 'le' work?


"le" translates "the": I am eating the butter = je mange le beurre.

"du" is the contraction of "de-le" and it is partitive, which means that it represents a part (a piece, a certain quantity) of something that you cannot count.

"I am eating butter" = I am eating some butter, a little butter, etc... => je mange du beurre.


Another sentence "I like eating cheese" is translated with "J'aime manger du fromage" and "J'aime manger le fromage" is considered to be wrong. Why? Is it because you generally speak of the consumption of food whereas here ("I am eating butter") you specify that you are eating "some" butter? I'm really confused with this!


"j'aime le fromage, j'adore le beurre, je préfère les confitures, je déteste la soupe... " all these sentences use definite article "le, la, les" because the verbs I used are appreciation verbs, which naturally introduce generalities.

Generalities in French are built with definite article le, la or les, whichever the noun that follows (countable or uncountable objects).

With action verbs (manger, boire, respirer, prendre...) + an uncountable, singular noun, you have to use the partitive construction (see above comment).

  • I like eating cheese, butter or soup = j'aime manger du fromage, du beurre ou de la soupe (some of each, an undefined quantity of each of those substances).

  • I like eating the butter I bought = j'aime manger le beurre que j'ai acheté: when the English use "the", you know that the substance is defined (here by "i bought/que j'ai acheté). Then, the French also use the definite article.


Such an excellent explanation! Thank you.


Why couldn't you use "de"?


"de" is there: "du" is a contraction of de-le

  • je mange du beurre
  • je mange de la margarine.


I thought "du" was a contraction of "de + le" if the word is masculine only. Isn't beurre considered feminine with the "e" at the end?


beurre is definitely masculine (bear in mind that -e ending words are not necessarily feminine, there is absolutely no rule in that respect)


I am eating - shouldn't it be "Je suis en train de manger"?


Strictly speaking, yes. But Duo accepts both forms "je suis en train de manger" and "je mange"


Hmmm, I had another mistake then perhaps


It doesn't accept it in this case, just so ya know.

[deactivated user]

    Hm im confused... in an another exercise I used de la and was marked correct.


    Then it was about a feminine word. This time it is about a masculine word: le beurre.

    [deactivated user]

      It's been a while, but I'm quite certain the word was butter, beurre. So it's masculine mkay.. maybe some bug, hopefully got fixed already.


      I lost my last heart for 'du'..... aaaaarrrggghh


      I don't know how to spell butter in French. Then I create a word "buttre", it is ended with e, I guess it maybe "la buttre". So my answer is "Je mange de la buttre", and Duo said you are corrcet. Is that a joke?


      Buttre = butter in the artificial language, called Interlingue:


      Why it is accepted here, I do not know.

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