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  5. "Ils écrivent des lettres."

"Ils écrivent des lettres."

Translation:They are writing letters.

March 29, 2013

74 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrincasComIsto

When you listen to the full phrase she says "Ils" but when you go turtle mode she says "Il". Is it just me?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

The full phrase is pronounced with liaisons ils-Z-écrivent, but the turtle mode enunciates words one after another in isolation, therefore there is no liaison.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xMoj10

"turtle mode" I love you xD <3


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WaterBomb

That's the first time I've heard anyone say the phrase 'turtle mode'!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/badlang

No, I have difficulty with the difference between 'he' and 'they' when I listen on my laptop.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fredacevedo

The 's' pronounced because the following word begins with a vowel.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Levilalala

XD "turtle mode" #turtle_mode


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/superdeux

Hello to Everyone! Can anybody explain me next thing: I am a bit confused :-(

In Russian we have two different words which in English and, as I understand, French have only one word - LETTER:

  • a part of written word - for example "word" consist of 4 letters/lettres - "БУКВА"

  • a paper with text on it - letter/lettre - "ПИСЬМО"

How can I understand, what exactly means "we read letters" / "nous lisons des lettres" - do we read letters (printed emails, for example) OR we are kids and learning to read words by letters?

Excuse me for possible mistakes.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

No mistake, the English and the French languages also use letter/lettre with these distinct meanings. Therefore the above sentence can mean either of the two, in the absence of a context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/itsfireproof

I just read earlier that 'des' is de les, which is 'the'. So why is 'the letters' wrong here


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"des" can be 2 distinct articles:

1) indefinite article, plural of un/une: une lettre -> des lettres

2) contracted definite article, made of preposition "de" + definite article "les" = of the: la couleur de la lettre -> la couleur des lettres.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/julza

why not elles?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

the subject could be "elles".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/katerina.fe

I think the same. And duolingo should permit to write "elles" instead of "ils"..


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lukas280

Why is it that the s in Ils ecrivent isnt carried on to make secrive when pronouncing it? Like the vous etes.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NemishKanwar

How can you distinguish b/w il and ils, used google translate but shows that they are same


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

il écrit = eel ekree

ils écrivent = eel Z-ekriV


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nataliee29

can this not also be " they write letters" ? or is it because the letters do not belong to anyone that des means some..


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/danachiueh

"Ils écrivent des lettres" translates to either

They write/are writing of the letters

They write/are writing some letters


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LamesMahmo

I wrote the same as you and my answer was right


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/smarlie

i wondered why it can't be les lettres(the letters) but des??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

ils/elles écrivent les lettres = they write/are writing the letters (specific letters = definite article)

ils/elles écrivent des lettres = they write/are writing (some) letters (an undefined quantity of letters, more than one letter)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/danachiueh

"Les", as you say, would be directly translated to "The letters", while "des" has no direct English translation - it is just a plural of un/une, and to make a plural of letter you must say des lettres not just lettres.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cloudcalculator

I answered 'They write the letters' why is it wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PatrickJaye

@Cloudcalculator

"They write the letters" would be "Ils écrivent les lettres".

In this case we are given "des" lettres. Which translates as "They write some letters" or simply "They write letters".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hombremanz2

I answered "They write letters" and it was marked wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Inaneen

I think because "des" is indefinite article, like un/une. From the sentence we don't know which letters they are writing, so best english translation is with "some" or with nothing. If we said "Ils écrivent les lettres." we'd be talking about some specific letters and then "the" would be better.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Blazerken

They are writing some of the letters.

Why is this wrong??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LamesMahmo

I wrote " they write letters" it was right but they showed me another translation which was" they write some letters" i don't know what's wrong but you might have forgot to write a letter or something , hope that helped you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RA52134

That's really puzzling. I wrote "They write letters" but I got it wrong. "They write some letters" was the correction given.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

What you wrote translates to "ils/elles écrivent certaines des lettres"

Here "des" is just the plural article: une lettre, des lettres.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mecassid

Except that the translation given when you mouse over des is "some (of the)" So as this was a new word, I checked and moused over it. Then, typed in what the site had given me as a translation.... and was marked wrong for it. BTW, this also happened with carrottes (carrots vs. a core sample of) and souris (smile vs. mouse). The flash cards in particular are wrong, or use a 3rd/4th meaning of a word that is not being taught.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rabesierra

hi, how can i understand when they speak french more? if anyone can help please do, thank you


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/porquepuedo

I don't quite understand what you mean, but I think the answer to the question is learn more. It's not a race, it's a learning experience. You should take your time, take as long as you need to learn the language. The more you practice the more you'll be able to understand.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChinmayGup2

Sometimes Duolingo can really be a pain in the ass. It says "Il écrive des lettres" And guess what it expects me to answer: "Ils écrivent des lettres" They really gotta improve on their voice listening questions. Not the first question I'm annoyed with.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Listen carefully:

singular: il écrit = eel-ekree

plural: ils écrivent = eel-Z-ekreeV

conjugation of verb "écrire": j'écris, tu écris, il/elle/on écrit, nous écrivons, vous écrivez, ils/elles écrivent


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Toria54

Thanks so much for the phonetics Sitesurf. Would you mind doing it for "écrivons"? I think I was confusing the sound of "écrivent" and that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

I'm afraid I can't because "on" in "écrivons" is a nasal sound which does not exist in English. What you can do is to mimic it with the help of forvo.com or Google Translate or acapela-group, that are all good with pronunciation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Toria54

I tried that, and now the difference - and which is which - is clear to me. Thanks for those sites, and your quick response! Merci beaucoup!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RylieMcdon

When I was taking French back in school, my teacher always made sure to tell us the differences between pronouncing each conjugation. Like ecrivent being pronounced ehcree-vahn(t), not just the same as ecrit etc. After three years I know the difference is very subtle, but the enunciation of the robot lady sounds identical to each other form.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Addicted2Running

So I guess "des" means some?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/danachiueh

Yes, or it could mean "of the". It all depends on context. HTH!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"des" is an article that does not exist in English: it is the plural of "un/une".

singular = une lettre = a/one letter

plural = des lettres = (more than one) letters


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KristinWub

Why can you not use the word literature when translating for "lettres" ? It says it means the same thing on the drop-down definition. Somebody please help!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Context is not about literature, but about someone writing a letter: either a note to be sent through the mail or a series of alphabet signs.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Legenddragon707

I know OOOOOOOOOkAAAAAAYYYYYYY


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AMANDA624173

I think 'they write letters ' is also the answer.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeydo1

To a French speaker, its They write some letters. But almost always to us we hear the past tense so much when the word "some" is added. Its so rarely present tense


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kicsu

As far as I understand, French uses the plural form "ils" when using "masculine words" and "elles" for "feminine words". Can someone please explain which is the right one to use when talking about multiple people, both males and females? E.g. a boy and the girl reading a book: ils lisent or elles lisent?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Mixed groups are masculine by default. 999,999 women and 1 man together are referred to as "ils".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/patriciairwin1

why is elles ecrivent des lettres not correct


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WesleyPrates

Could I have used : Ils ecrivent DU lettres. ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hadas583059

Why is that "they" and not "he"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lolilcc2t211

geuss what i submited an awser and they did not taake it


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Levilalala

y so many letters????????


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndreaMilo2734

When do you know if "Il" is meaning "he" or when it's meaning "they" because doesn't "Il" also mean "he?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Strandfloh

il = he; ils = they


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lynn844425

I don't understand if I'm supposed to repeat the phrase back in French, or just say the translation in English when the microphone comes up.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZacheryHil1

why do you ake the right ansers the wrong ones


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Freyr77

I accidently pressed the button and then it heard the thing and I got it right!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmericanIZ

how can I do it with out a mic


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EthanSkorick

this doesn't sound at all like it's supposed to, we need an actual recorded human voice on these


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yashwant728504

Why it can't be "They write letters"? that itself meaning that they write some letters


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RA52134

I wrote "They write letters" but got that wrong. Please explain why. Thanks.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

Un missing correct answer in the list of possible answers.
I'm sure they'll correct it soon. And if you reported the issue, you'll receive an email saying it's now accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AJMonk

It marked me wrong because I left the s off letters. One tiny typo. Grrr


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Laura876968

It's just i don't know if there is 'some' as 'des' or not...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Clonkle

Hi all, general question about ils and elles.. would ils be used to refer to 'they' being a group of people, boys and/or girls while elles is 'they' just for girls?

Sorry if it's a silly question, I think of these things and I always forget to ask.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ADRIANKLOS2

definite difference between normal and turtle mode. normal elides to bring in the il"s" and the ecri"v"ent but turtle mode leaves them out and can be easily thought to be "il ecrit".

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