"He drinks a coffee and water."

Translation:Il boit un café et de l'eau.

April 24, 2018

This discussion is locked.


It is a bit unclear when de is used. Understand eau is water but de l'eau is confusing. Any clarity would be much appreciated, thanks.


You really need to understand what the French partitive articles are.

They are required before uncountable nouns to mean "an unknown amount of a mass".

"Du" is needed when the uncountable noun is masculine and starts with a consonant sound, "de la" when it is feminine and starts with a consonant sound, and "de l'" when the noun starts with a vowel sound.

  • I drink wine = je bois du vin (masculine)
  • I drink beer = je bois de la bière (feminine)
  • I drink alcohol = je bois de l'alcool (masculine)
  • I drink water = je bois de l'eau (feminine)


So 'du' in this case means 'de le'


"Du" always means "de" + "le".


Very very helpful explanation! Merci!


This was very helpful. Merci beaucoup


When is it boit and not bois? I usually learn these but this one isnt clicking.


Je bois, il boit


Don't forget Tu bois.


sitesurf hallo... it is not about this sentence it is about the program of exercises in this section...and there is no other way to report it. the program would not let me. it is the section where you type in " le " or "la" and there is a picture on the left and you type in the French... however asking for onion I type in le oignon, but the correct answer is expected un oignon... when I try to type into this section un oignon the check button would not function. I need the "le" or the la I tried "le and then continues with un oignon, but it would not accept it... I wanted to finish the "food" section but there is no way I could get pass this point.Can you please help


You may have been faced with a technical issue on your platform, but here is how it should work:

For "onion", the description should read "an onion", to be translated to "un oignon".

For the image exercises, you are usually asked for a noun with a definite article:

  • "the apple" = "la pomme"

But sometimes, you are offered a noun with an indefinite article:

  • "an egg" = "un oeuf".

For nouns starting with a vowel sound (homme, oignon, oeuf...) we use an indefinite article, because with the definite article which has to elide to "l'", you don't know if the noun is masculine or feminine.

So, please carefully read the instructions.


Thank you for your reply... It was a technical problem. I had tried all options...when my answer matched the correction I was unable to activate the check button in order to continue...When I entered the"le or "la" that the computer wanted in order to activate the check button, I received the correction for un or une.... whatever I did, I was unable to continue......... I closed the program and started again. I wrote the message to you because it may be a programming issue. it was not the issue of definite or indefinite article. the correction wanted the indefinite article that the computer did not allow me to type in., next time I will send you a screen shot. I hope that my explanation will make sense........ But thank you so much for responding. I just keep admiring the moderators for their brilliant job. It only was frustrating because I was unable to continue.


What instructions! I see none. I end up just guessing or trying to figure out what rules might apply. Usually wrong.


The basic rules for translation at this level in the course is that an indefinite article translates to an indefinite article and a definite article to a definite article. But since the same sentence can be used for several exercises, you should get some kind of instruction like "translate", or "type what you hear" or "fill in the blank" or something of the like, plus sometimes a couple of options to pick from. If you do not understand the exercise or the system's response or the grammar, please ask your question here with as many details as possible about the task you had to do.


This sentence is about a male with a cup of coffee in one hand and a cup of water in another, correct?

A single cup containing coffee AND water would be different, I think.


Why is it "un café".... and not "une café" ....? Café ends with an "e" i expect it to be feminine...


An ending "é" or even "e" is not a sign that the noun is feminine. You have to learn every noun with its gender, like this:

  • coffee = [un café], as if the indefinite article were a prefix. Thereby, next time you have to translate "coffee", you will know it is a masculine noun.


In this question, the lesson writers would have better prompted us for the answer they desired by instead stating, "He drinks a coffe and some water." Just stating, "He drinks a coffee and water," leaves the water open to our interpretation.

I was unsure of which answer would allow me to translate the English to French correctly. Instead of considering the best phrase for the purpose of learning, I was instead debating which answer would allow me to technically complete the task correctly. I'd rather focus my effort on the job of learning not passing the grade.

(Note: I tried to enter this info in the process of flagging an error to correct, but the system glitched only allowing me to select a pre-selected reason without entering feedback. So I'm posting my feedback here in hopes someone in the development team will get it.)


"De l'eau" is "water" or "some water", both accepted. Similarly "un café" is "a coffee" or "a cup of coffee", alternatively accepted, as well as "drinks" or "is drinking". As a consequence, you can combine each element the way you like best and pass.

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.