"Ils écrivent des lettres."

Translation:They are writing letters.

March 29, 2013

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


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.


"turtle mode" I love you xD <3


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


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


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


XD "turtle mode" #turtle_mode


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.


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.


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


"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.


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


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


il écrit = eel ekree

ils écrivent = eel Z-ekriV


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


"Ils écrivent des lettres" translates to either

They write/are writing of the letters

They write/are writing some letters


I wrote the same as you and my answer was right


why not elles?


the subject could be "elles".


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


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


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)


"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.


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



"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".


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


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.


They are writing some of the letters.

Why is this wrong??


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.


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


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

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


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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!


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.


So I guess "des" means some?


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


"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


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!


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.




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


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


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?


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


why is elles ecrivent des lettres not correct


Could I have used : Ils ecrivent DU lettres. ?


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


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


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


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


il = he; ils = they


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.


why do you ake the right ansers the wrong ones


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


how can I do it with out a mic


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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.


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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