"An elephant is drinking water."
Translation:Un éléphant boit de l'eau.
- il boit DE L'eau = he is drinking (some) water (a certain quantity of water)
- il boit L'eau = he is drinking the water (which is in his glass)
- il ne boit PAS D'eau = he is not drinking (any) water (no article with the negative form)
But the sentence above is not negative... why do they use d'eau instead of de l'eau?
Boit d'eau is given as an alternative answer to the (correct) boit de l'eau. I've flagged this as an error.
'du' is used with masculine nouns and is a combination of both de and le: de + le = du, de + les = des and if is feminine, la, or l', it is just de - de la and de l'.
For example You would say 'du lait' because milk is masculine - de le lait/ du le lait is wrong. to say 'some food' you say 'de la nourriture' because food is feminine As 'eau' starts with a vowel, you need l' in front of it and de always goes with l' so it is de l'eau.
Hope that makes sense...?
Why is it d'eau and not l'eau? How would we know that the elephant is drinking general water over specific water?
It was a Duolingo error. The only correct answer should be "boit de l'eau."
conjugation of verb "boire": je bois, tu bois, il/elle/on boit, nous buvons, vous buvez (polite singular and plural), ils/elles boivent.
- une eau is feminine, so the partitive in feminine is "de la"
- but "eau" starts with a vowel, so "de la" has to be elided to "de l' "