"Ils mangent moins que nous."

Translation:They eat less than us.

March 25, 2013

This discussion is locked.


I think the sentence should end with "we" and not "us" in the English translation. Generally, I think subjective pronouns follow "than" in English, since the implied remainder of the sentence requires a subject. "They are eating less than we [are eating]."


I think you are almost certainly technically correct, although a majority of people would probably say it with "us" at the end. (Similarly, most people would say "than him" or "than her" rather than saying "than he" or "than she," even though the latter may be prescribed as the correct English constructions.)


I would say not.

You can say "They eat less than we eat", but if you don't want to repeat the verb, you cannot imagine it to be placed automatically, because the pronoun (we/us) is now the object of a preposition phrase.

(EDIT) I am convinced that the 'we'-version is also correct (in fact originally the only correct one, similar to German) and just like many other things in English, it has deteriorated.


You do not have to repeat the word. There are many cases in which the subject is "understood" as in go! Stop! Don't. In all of those cases the subject is understood to be "you." Than is a conjunction, not a preposition.


I'm not a native English speaker but from what I've been learning I suppose the grammatically correct form should be "they eat less than we eat" or more commonly "they eat less than we do (to imply the verb-to-do 'eat'". Please let me know if I have mistaken something?


Both of the translations you suggest are correct. One can also omit the second verb: "They eat less than we." This is also correct, but will sound a bit too formal to most people.

In informal speech, native speakers (especially young people) would more likely say, "They eat less than us." Many people claim that this is incorrect. But the Merriam-Webster Dictionary disagrees. Along with Shakespeare, Faulkner, and T.S. Elliot, the editors at M.W. are comfortable with "than me," "than him," "than us," "than them," and "than whom."

In short, according to the experts, "than" can be used as a conjunction or a preposition. So both "They eat less than we," and "They eat less than us" are grammatically correct.




@ maquignon: In the sentence in question and in many like it, "than" can be used as either a preposition or a conjunction. (You are right that it cannot be both at the same time.) That is the consesus among experts:

In simple comparisons in contemporary English, than often takes an oblique pronoun, which lexicographers and usage commentators regard as prepositional use and as standard. ----Wikipedia:

  • They eat less than us.
  • They eat less than we.
  • They eat less than we do.
  • They eat less than we eat.

All of these are standard English. One of them uses "than" as a preposition. It is structurally and semantically similar to this:

  • They eat less compared to us.


You are exactly correct.


Yes and no. See my reply to Lucas_Chow above.


wow, I thought you were wrong at first, but now I'm convinced. Thanks! I'm learning English even while trying to learn French!


It can only end in "we" if it is followed by "do". "We do" is correct.


I'm not clear how to hear the difference between "il mange" and "ils mangent" in this example. Any thoughts?


They are pronounced exactly the same.


I wonder why they don't accept the former as correct then, if we can't hear the difference.


This does seem like a case where, if it is a "write what you hear" exercise, you should be able to write either "il mange" or "ils mangent". I would be inclined to report it.


I'm reporting the issue.


Il mange moins que nous.

Surely that should be "he eats less than us" NOT "they eat less than us" as that would be "ils mangent?


That was also my thought.


The example is written ILS MANGENT, so THEY EAT is needed. Not sure if it's been changed since you posted? Can't see dates on the mobile app.


I got the listening version of this sentence and in this context Il mange and Ils mangent are indistinguishable in sound


Are they supposed to be distinguishable in sound?


I don't think so, they both sound like il mange. In this case, the s in ils and -ent in mangent isn't sounded

  • 1336

They eat less than we (do).


Audio is terrible


Where does "que" come in in this sentence? I'm having trouble understanding the usage of the word in this context.


Am i the only one who thought the pronounciation of "nous", normally "noo", was strange? Sounded like non.


Why doesn't "they are eating less than we are" work?


Perhaps because the "are" is implied at the end and not directly translated. The meaning is the same.


If you wanted to say 'they eat without us', would it be - Ils mangent mois nous' ?


"they are eating without us" would be "ils mangent sans nous" I think


I wrote they eat lesser than us and it is wrong?


It would be "less" and not "lesser." In English, "lesser" means something that isn't as great or as important as something else.


I wrote 'they eat less than we are eating', and it marked me wrong. should it have done this, or is it faulty?


The sentence I was asked to translate into French is "They eat less what we". No way of reporting this error.

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