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  5. "Ils ont les citrons."

"Ils ont les citrons."

Translation:They have the lemons.

March 27, 2013



I thought it said "Ils sont les citrons"


If it was ils sont it will -s- But it's ils ont -z-


How am I supposed to know it's plural if they don't pronounce the 's'? is there some variation in the vowels or something I need practice detecting?


Yes, there is. It is subtle, the 's' in "Ils ont" sounds like a 'z' sound rather than "Ils sont" where you pronounce them as 's'es.


The verb ont tells you it's plural. If it was singular, then the verb would be a


I can't tell when to translate a plural noun as "the lemons" or just "lemons."


"the lemons" (those we're seeing, those we're talking about, etc.) = "les citrons" anyway and always

"lemons" =

1) either "des citrons" if it is undetermined (e.g. I brought lemons -- J'ai apporté des citrons ; They sell lemons -- Ils vendent des citrons ; You make this cake with lemons -- Tu fais ce cake avec des citrons), or when there is no context, as in exercises on Duolingo.

2) or "les citrons", if the meaning is general (attention: general does not equal undetermined, but "all of..."). E.g.: "Lemons are sour / good for health / yellow" -- "LES citrons sont acides / bons pour la santé / jaunes".

Beware, "des" does not always imply undetermined objects, because in French "des" is also the contraction of "de + les"; subsequently, this falls in the first category mentioned above. It happens when the word (generally a verb) before is constructed with "de". E.g.: "avoir besoin DE" (to need), "s'occuper DE" (to be in charge of, to deal with), "avoir envie DE" (to fancy, to feel like). Imagine you're making a cake with a friend, several ingredients in front of you, and you say "OK, now I need the lemons" -- "OK, maintenant j'ai besoin DES citrons" (literally "de les citrons", which is a mistake in French, not even colloquial or slang, really a total mistake that hurts the ears).

The same case with undetermined objects is made using simply the phrasal "de", dropping the "les". E.g. "I need lemons for my cake" -- "J'ai besoin DE citrons pour mon cake". yes, it's weird and complicated at first, but you get used to it with practice...


Wow, this helped me A LOT! Thank you so much!

[deactivated user]

    "They've the lemons." is the weirdest possible correction. Not impossible, but really weird and obscure!


    I was corrected thus: (The set of lemons is unspecified, so you must use the partitive "des".) The text to translate,however, is "Ils ont les citrons" which I feel should translate to: They have lemons.


    same. the lemons sounds weird, unnatural and incorrect in this sentence.


    So apperently "They have the lemons! Attack!" Was wrong


    how do you say "suck my nuts" in french??? (or german :) )


    just curious



    Those Lemon stealing wh-


    How do I know if it's plural??


    You hear "les" (pronounced much like "lay") instead of "le" (pronounced a bit like "ler" but with with the vowel sound downplayed).


    When do you use ont


    So far, I haven't managed to figure out when to translate "les ..." as "the" and when to leave it as it is.


    No sound. what is wrong?


    So bloody frustrating as a native english speaker, I put the "the" in and duolingo leaves it out and the opposite when I don't put it in. I realise there is a subtle difference in the meaning, but struggle to get it. Any ideas :):)


    I'm not an expert, but I have figured out that Duo usually wants you to leave out the article in English if it sounds unnatural or unnecessary.

    You almost always need an article in front of a noun in French so you should put in whichever article makes sense for the sentence. The only times (I know of) where you don't need an article in French are

    1. in front of an occupation (I guess the French think of occupations as adjectives?),

    2. after the word pas (just use de without le/la), and

    3. between the verb parler and the name of a language.

    Can anyone else think of more?


    But it look like l said it right what exactly is missing


    I used "Ils ont des citrons" I was incorrect. If I use use des instead of les does that change the meaning?

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