"On peut prendre du jambon ou du poulet avec les frites."

Translation:We can have ham or chicken with the fries.

April 21, 2018

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this is getting really confusing. why is it du jambon/poulet but les instead of des frites?? i know the audio says les but realistically shouldn't there be some consistency in the sentence?


There's no requirement for consistency. The fries here is specific in the context. For example, if we're talking about the best fries in town, or the fries that I just made. You can have ham or chicken with THE fries.

If the fries were not specific, it would of course have "des" instead. I can have ham or chicken with fries (avec des frites).


'With the fries' would not be good English


There is nothing at all improper about saying "with the fries". The sentence suggests that there are two possibilities here: you can have ham with the fries or you can have chicken with the fries, i.e., you can have ham or chicken with the fries.


Why not. With chips?


Note the article.

  • avec les frites = with the chips
  • avec des frites = with chips


Could 'les frites' not mean chips in general here?

Example: One can have some ham or some chicken with chips. (i.e. as a suggestion of food items to eat alongside chips)


Your example will still be "avec des frites".

Since the sentence is not about the chips itself, the definite is not used. If the general topic is explicitly about the chips, then you'd use the definite article, as in "Les frites sont bonnes" or "Les frites vont bien avec du jambon."


Just a side-note here about "on". It seems convenient to translate it as "one", but the use of "on" is very comfortable in French whereas in English, saying "one" feels a bit stiff. Remember that "on" will often be taken as "we" in the generic sense, and it may also be used in the sense of a generic "you" or a generic "they" if it fits the context.


why is "some ham or some chicken" not accepted?


It is accepted, provided you didn't make any other error in the sentence.

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