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  5. "La fille perd son manteau bl…

"La fille perd son manteau bleu."

Translation:The girl loses her blue coat.

March 28, 2013



In English, one never says one is losing/misplacing something, only that one has done so in the past. If duolingo gives "missing" as a translation of "perd," why shouldn't that be correct?


...unless one is narrating something in present tense, which is not uncommon when relating a story orally. "Since it's too warm to wear it, she carries her coat with her. However, she looses the blue coat in the rush to get off the train."


Or in many written stories as well.


Why can't I use, "the girl is missing her blue coat"?


To lose = perdre

To misplace = manquant

There are two different definitions.


Are jacket and coat not the same? It did not accept "The girl loses her blue jacket."


Apparently, "jacket"="veste".


They are totally interchangeable in English and I've never been corrected interchanging them in French my whole life. Just the cost of a free and automated service.


Jacket and coat are not totally interchangeable in English. A jacket is a shorter outer garment than a coat. A trench coat, for example, would not also be called a trench jacket. A knee-length woolen coat would not be called a jacket, it would be called a coat. I grant you that many people refer to jackets as coats, but the reverse is not really true.


"La fille" for both "the daughter" and "the girl."


But only in context or with the appropriate modifier such as mon or ma etc.


This is a weird sentence to me. She loses her blue coat? Unless she is in the habit of doing so, I'm not sure what this means. Is this an idiomatic phrase for something else?


Mostly I think it's just laying the groundwork for future lessons, when we'll see the same phrase in past tense.


Well yeah, but think in terms of something like a film script, or maybe the title of a chapter of a book.


It could be used in sentences like "whenever the girl goes camping, she loses her coat"


I have read somewhere that French doesn't have tenses like past or future in these types of simple sentences...am I right?



French has tenses even in simple sentences. The issue is that French tenses don't always match the English tenses.

This particular sentence is the French present tense - however it can be translated into either the English simple present - "the girl loses her blue coat" or the English continuous present tense - "the girl is losing her blue coat".

In English these two sentences do not mean the same thing - however French does not have a continuous present tense at all - so the two different English sentences are translated into the French present tense.

Just as in English this sentence could be written in the past tense - in fact there are a number of past tense options - just one example:-

"The girl lost her blue coat" = "La fille a perdu son manteau bleu.

French can express the future in several different ways (even in simple sentences) - one way it can do this is the French future tense:-

"The girl will lose her blue coat" = "La fille perdra son manteau bleu"

The future tense is interesting because strictly speaking it is English that doesn't have a future tense - in the sense of a changing verb form. So English has to find other ways of expressing the future such as using "will" or "going to" in addition to the verb.


I appreciate this detailed comment from @PatrickJaye.

At the same time, I still think the English wording "she is losing her blue coat" should be accepted. If it's true that French has no continuous present tense at all, then this wording feels less continuous to me than "she loses."

Some argue that "she is losing.." is awkward in English, but so is the "she loses.." wording. Like myself in most social situations, there's just a fundamental awkwardness to this sentence. So I don't think the "it's awkward" style of reasoning could exclude the "is losing" version from being an accepted translation.

As a final note, most other verbs have been quietly accepted in either the "is Xing" or the "Xes" forms in English until now - at least in my duolingo experience - so that this unexpected change feels like a confusing test of something I haven't been taught.


Part of what you say is incorrect according to Duolingo... my answer was "the girl is losing her blue coat" (as you say above) and this was marked incorrect. I feel Duolingo might be making a mistake here.


That was a pretty thorough explanation. Thanks! :)


You are welcome


Thanks. Was wondering why do marked me wrong for 'the girl lost her blue coat'


I thought "The girl takes off her blue coat" would be appropriate, but apparently not. I think my translation is less ambiguous, as "loses" may imply that the coat is misplaced.


That's the meaning of the verb "perdre".


Comment est-ce que je peux dire 'the daughter' en francais?


It's just 'la fille.' You have to consider the context to determine whether 'la fille' means 'the girl' or 'the daughter'.


I agree with Harris. No one says the girl is "losing/loses" her coat. Either she has or she hasn't. This is not a correct translation.


Every monday the girl goes shopping for a new blue coat because every Saturday, when she is out, the girl loses her coat.


While your use is correct that is not what their sentence/statement says. You must have the qualifier, or rather conjunction "because" in this case to use it that way according to English grammar. You would never say "The girl is loses her jacket" as a stand alone sentence. She loses her jacket everyday, once a month. We buy her one "because, each time, etc, she loses it." You do not indicate the girl loses her jacket as a continuous action verb like walks, talks, moves, etc as is the case here. Sorry. The translation is still wrong. Some translations just aren't exact and this is one of them.


Think of a pitch for a film, like say a romantic comedy: "There's this small-town girl, trying to make it in the big city, but she's lonesome. She tries bars, singles ads, etc. and nothing seems to work out. Then one day everything changes. The girl loses her coat. The boy finds it, and in the pocket finds a drawing she made of her building. So he sets out to find it. Hijnks ensue."

It's probably not a very good pitch, nor would it be a very good movie, but it's grammatically correct.

It could also be a title, again not a particularly good title, but it works.


Again, you had to use a whole paragraph as a qualifier to use that tense of the verb. No one simply says in English "she loses her jacket." This is translating. Translating means relaying it as it would be understood in another language. Without further content to justify the use no one would say that. Look at the idioms. We don't directly translate most of them because they make no sense, and that's why they are not marked wrong when we use the correct TRANSLATION for English. It's no different than saying "he goes to the store." It is never said as a stand alone sentence in English. He goes to the store because, while, when, etc. Or, there are preceding sentences to justify the use. One would need further content to TRANSLATE it that way. Otherwise, we would say "He is going to the store." They could have easily added a conjunction if they exp cited anyone to translate it that way. The rule technically applies in French also. So, while you can say the sentence structure is correct it is still nonsensical without further content for translation. Anyone can make a nonsensical statement. Walk up to several people and simply state. "She loses her coat." And watch the reaction. They will be confused or simply wait for more information to understand what it is you are trying to say. If you say "She is losing her coat or she lost her coat." they will understand exactly what you are saying, except for maybe who you are talking about. Exchange a proper noun for She, Susanne, Jane, and there is no question at all. In essence they are using the present indicative form of the verb when we would use the present continuous or the past form of the verb. In the world of translating that is an Improper translation.


Yeah, sure, the present continuous is the more common translation. My point was simply that the simple present tense is also a perfectly reasonable choice, and since you don't know the context might be correct. You should learn both. You should also learn all of the nuances.



There are two separate issues with this particular exercise that are causing confusion.

First, there is the use of the English simple present. This is an issue right across the whole of DL - not just this sentence. DL has decided to translate the French present tense into both the English present continuous and simple presnt.

I assume that you would say that "Elle mange une pomme" must be translated as "she is eating an apple" and not "she eats an apple". DL has decided to use both. Yes ideally it should be a longer sentence giving context but students (in the first part of the course) don't yet know how to use conjunctions and prepositions. It is a valid argument to say that DL should not introduce the English simple present tense until more complex sentences can be used - however it is a case of swings and roundabouts - there are pros and cons of either approach.

The second confusion with this particular sentence is with the verb "to lose". Actually the confusion arises from the question can we use "to lose" in the present continuous tense. I agree with your usage but you are having to adopt an idiomatic meaning. In the case of a coat the normal use of "to lose" gives us she either has the coat or she doesn't. It is not like losing your looks - we don't lose the coat in stages. But yes we can use the word with a slightly different idiomatic meaning.

For different reasons - in this particular case both options should be accepted - but personally I think "she is losing her coat" is even more unsatisfactory than "she loses her coat".


The thing is that pretty much every language learning method I've ever seen uses the English simple present for this kind of sentence. It's pretty much universal. It would be kind of weird if Duo were the only one not to do it.


Actually "she eats an apple." is correct. There is no confusion in this, though I understand most people wouldn't say it. It is still understood. The problem with this specific sentence is, it is implying a continuous action. And, losing a coat is not continuous. It happens in a matte of seconds. So, yes you might find it weird and all language learning programs do it. But, it actually is correct. I dance, she eats, we look. They are correct because there is no misunderstanding idiomatically. Now, if you have something like, "The book falls or is falling." Or, "The bee stings me." In English we don't say these things without qualifiers because they happen so quickly. They are not continuous actions. Spanish spells this out much more specifically also. Not that they don't have their own share of weird translation opportunities. I guess the best thing would be to clarify the use. In the textbooks they usually explain how such a sentence would be used. Actually DL is better than most programs of this sort I've seen in accepting more than one translation. This is just a weird one because the verb tense is clear yet the sentence doesn't quite make sense without knowing what they are trying to say. But, overall I guess it's good to know, and for those who aren't familiar with the language will hopefully learn how to use it. I just hate these types of situations because without a teacher or tutor many people give up because they never get confident they understand. However, like I said DL is the best one I know so far about showing more than one translation when it applies. Good points. Good discussion. Hopefully we've helped someone else understand :)


Very true! Great points. Haha! I think it's funny because I think she's losing her coat sounds better probably only because I recently used that in the baby scenario. Though it wasn't a coat. This mom with her family was pushing a stroller and the little blanket they were using to cover the baby some was sliding off and no one noticed. When they came even with me (we were walking towards each other, all I said was "The baby is losing the blanket." I didn't know if it was a boy or a girl. And, they immediately understood. But, again, that's rare usage. And, I'm sure if I'd had some reason to use it the other way that would make sense.



I think one of the best features of DL is the discussion threads. Good luck with your students.



I agree with you that "she loses her coat" is not a stand alone sentence. However a very large number of DL exercises don't give stand alone sentences in English but that is usually because they are not stand alone sentences in French either.

However I am now a little confused about your objection to the translation in this particular exercise. Your most recent reply to @markandrew appears to contradict your original comment.

Are you now suggesting that "the girl is losing her blue coat" is a legitimate translation? If so - what does it mean? Is she is part way through losing it?

If that is not a legitimate sentence and you don't accept the simple present - what do you suggest as the 'correct' translation?


The is was a typo. Yes, technically if someone's coat was falling unaware, strange situation but possible, or maybe a babies coat falling off and the mom or dad not noticing, you could say "She's losing her coat." As a stand alone sentence. Nothing else would need to be said for the receiver to understand. Honestly, several people here are wondering why their translations, whatever they may be, are wrong. It's because of the sentence. I'm not even sure what they are trying to say. It's being interpreted as she lost her coat. What Johnginn says is correct. Assuming everyone here actually wants to be understood, this is an idiomatic error, which causes an error in translation. Unless it is somehow a continuing act of losing a coat we wouldn't say this in English without more qualifying information. When I first saw it, I wasn't sure what they were trying to say, same as if someone walked up to you and said it in English. They could have said. chaque jour, elle perd son manteau. Two more words would have explained that's what was meant. Without it, we have to try and determine what they are trying to say and then are wrong if we guess wrong. Does that answer your question? From a learning perspective it's confusing. And an improper translation because you'd automatically assume they must mean ??? Instead of knowing exactly what they are saying. So, looking at it that way, I guess you could say the translation is right? It's just an idiomatic error that makes it nonsensical? If they really mean "She loses her coat." Then I stand corrected. I just don't know what that means. Sounds more like one of those things that is "lost in translation" when you read translated texts. I'm using this as a tool to help tutor some students and this is the big discussion. The most common translation was, She lost her jacket. They don't understand why they are wrong or why anyone would say "She loses her jacket." So far their French counter parts can't give them any explanation either. Honestly, having lived there myself, I don't understand what it means, which is why I said originally either she's lost it or she hasn't. In which case it would be "Elle a perdu son manteau."


Here are examples of this sentence being properly used in English.

Example #1: A girl is carrying some clothes in a bag. There is a hole in the bag, which her blue coat is hanging out of. The coat is about to fall on the ground and be lost because the girl doesn't notice. Observing this I say to my friend, "The girl is losing her blue coat."

Example #2: You observe the girl and her friend place a bet on who can run faster. They each bet their coats. When the girl with the blue coat is defeated, you say, "The girl loses her blue coat."


Although this phrase has been EXHAUSTIVELY parsed, one issue I haven't seen discussed is the hover-hints, which include: "sheds/ is shedding" Now I'm wondering if this suggested meaning is an error. If not, then "The girl sheds her blue coat." or "The girl takes off her blue coat." would be completely intelligible in English and resolve many of the issues raised here with regards to rendering the sentence in the simple present.


That's an interesting idea, though in that situation I would expect enlève or retire to be a better fit than perd.


I'm assuming it is referring to animals that shed their skin, like snakes, certain insects, etc.


It appears past... =x


I had it all right and it said it was wrong!!! What the....


Jacket = veste Coat = manteau


How would you know if its her or his?


You would know only by the context of the conversation. If you are talking about "la fille" then it will be understood that it is hers. But, you could also be saying she is losing his coat. Great question. And you'd think it would be more confusing. But in conversation, son and sa, doesn't usually get confusing because it is understood through context.


The girl loses her blue coat


How come "droped" is not correct instead of lose?


1) "Dropped" is past tense, but this sentence is in present tense. 2) "To drop (something)" is laisser tomber (quelque chose), not perdre.


Is it very wrong to say "the girl has lost her blue coat?" it just seems like better English. Otherwise it sounds like she is repeatedly losing her blue coat. Put a name tag in it!


In this case, yes, because the sentence given is in present tense.

Your suggestion would have been: "La fille a perdu son manteau bleu."


I'll help you find it girl :)


Yes. In the French course Duolingo does tend to place events in the present tense, when in English they would be reports of events in the past. We must work with what they give us.


I thought it's bleue instead of bleu


Only for feminine singular nouns. « (Le) manteau » is masculine, so you use « bleu ».


So, why isn't it "La fille perde . . ."? I thought "perd" was the masculine form.


Verbs do not conjugate to agree with gender... « perd » is the present indicative for the third person singular, regardless of gender.

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