"Je dois un poulet."

Translation:I owe a chicken.

March 30, 2013



I suspect fowl play.

April 13, 2013


Why is this sentence used (as opposed to something you might use on an everyday basis)? Did you forget to pay the chicken rent? Borrow too much money from the chicken and can't pay it back? halp.

April 1, 2013


I think it's a reference to Socrates, whose last words were, according to Plato, "Crito, I owe a chicken to Asclepius" (Asclepius was the god of healing, who was healing Socrates of his unfortunate state of being alive).

May 15, 2013


It's a true question for the ages - which came first; the chicken or the debt?

June 18, 2013


Seriously. I can now tell people I owe a chicken but have yet to learn how to ask where a bathroom is.

September 7, 2014


Où sont les toilettes s’il vous plaît.

September 24, 2014


Too funny! Tres amusant!

October 22, 2018


I found this interesting because I always thought of devoir as 'must' 'have too', 'should' or 'need to' ... I translated this as I need a chicken... apparently wrong J'ai besoin un poulet et une explanation. ;)

December 6, 2013


devoir has two meanings... "to have to" or "to owe". simple as that, really.

March 26, 2014


3 meanings...also homework.

December 23, 2018


When followed by infinitive, it does indeed mean "to have to", otherwise it's "to owe"

September 5, 2014


So "I need a chicken" would be "Je dois avoir un poulet" ? As in, "I have to have a chicken" ... Is this correct?

September 21, 2014


Yes. You conjugate the first verb and the second stays in infinitive form.

September 21, 2014


besoin de un poulet et une explication

April 24, 2014


d'un ;)

October 7, 2014


Does this mean that I owe something to the chicken, or that I owe a chicken to someone else?

May 24, 2013


I think this phrase means "you owe a chicken to someone else". Like you forgot to pay a chicken or something

June 18, 2013


I am laughing while I write this, but now I have to know. How do I say you owe something to a chicken?

November 11, 2013


Tu dois quelque chose à un poulet.

November 13, 2013


The perfect illustration of the difference between direct (the thing/amount owed) and indirect object (to whom it's owed).

January 23, 2014


je ne comprend pas cette phrase

April 1, 2013


*comprends ;P

February 1, 2014


Je dois=I owe, I am in debt

un poulet=a chicken

Je dois un poulet=I am in debt of a chicken, I owe (somewone) a chicken.

July 19, 2014


"to owe" is used when the verb "devoir" is followed by a noun, when it is followed by a verb, it means "to have to, must".

More about this verb:

August 5, 2014


Because of stuff like this, DL is much more fun than Rosetta Stone... Long live DL and its discussion pages!

August 3, 2014


exchanging chickens for stuff is regular in most the world

August 13, 2013


I once read about a journalist whose grandfather had a reputation in the family for being a master linguist because of his ability to speak a dozen languages which enabled them to survive forced migration. The journalist was surprised to discover late in life that all his grandfather actually knew were currency denominations and different language variations of the phrase how much is a chicken here?

Apparently the answer provided him with all he really needed to know about the local economy wherever they were forced to travel

August 14, 2013


I traveled years ago in a country I didn't know the language, and someone kindly taught me the basics: Hello, Thank you, Excuse me, I don't understand (the language), numbers 1-100 (time + money), and all the words for which is the ladies' toilet.

October 16, 2018


Je te dois un poulet - I owe you a chicken.

August 13, 2013


So, how would I say "I need a chicken"--when I'm starting to cook---um say coq au vin?

February 8, 2014


j'ai besoin d'un poulet??

February 9, 2014


or "Il me faut un poulet." :)

August 5, 2014


Je dois avoir un poulet?

February 16, 2014


does this mean he owes someone a chicken or he owes a chicken something???

June 28, 2013


This is bizarre. How about "I owe you a chicken"? That would at least make sense.

April 29, 2013


The French phrase did not specify who was owed. It could be the Chicken God. Consider in English:

"I owe fifty dollars"

It does not say who is owed the money, but it is only one phrase in a conversation. More information is needed, but it is perfectly valid.

"Je dois 50 euros"

That is basically the phrase with the chicken, but the currency is different.

Remember jinxing people? Making them owe you cokes? Things other than money can be owed. People can even owe respect or time.

August 16, 2013


Well it does make sense if you owe someone a chicken... what do you owe? "I owe a chicken" .. its just that I dont think this would apply to too many people these days

July 19, 2013


I think this one is from the surrealist school

August 20, 2013


Rather old school ;) Barther was a natural part in most person's life not that long ago, and still is at some places on Earth. And comes to life again in difficult times as in wartime. And references to that still exist in litterature, theater, film and so on.

July 19, 2014


I would love to know in what sense the chicken is owed, as others have pointed out. Can I say "tu me dois une voiture?" or even better, "tu me dois une Audi A8, rouge, s'il te plait"

November 18, 2013


You owe someone ore something (an organisation, for example) a chicken. The other phrases seem correct to me.

July 19, 2014

[deactivated user]

    Is there a liaison between "dois" and "un?"

    August 6, 2014


    I think the 'questioner' has egg on his face after this one - he has certainly laid a trap!

    January 17, 2019


    This is the most ridiculous sentence I have ever seen. WTF does it even mean?

    April 16, 2014


    It means that some circumstance has come about (barter economy, private arrangement, wager) where someone owes someone a chicken.

    In barter economies, chickens are like the currency equivalent of a ten dollar bill as compared to cows which are like thousand dollar bills. Chicken/ten dollar bills are much more suitable for regular transactions than cow/thousand dollar bills.

    People who spend all their lives in large cities in advanced economies can rest assured they will never hear or need to use this phrase. For much of the world's population, including urban populations who look slightly outside their own personal experience, this phrase has some interest.

    April 16, 2014


    Still it might pop up in litterature, plays, movies, documentaries, articles and so on even for the modern city dweller in a monetary society.

    July 19, 2014


    How do we know when dois isn't need? Je dois de l'eau is it that I owe water or that I need it? Or is it only when you need to do something like Je dois etudier?

    June 24, 2014


    Yes, devoir=to have to do something, to owe something. When you talk about needing something you use besoin de quelque chose.

    July 19, 2014


    Yes I agree that "besoin" or "Il faut de" is to need something....that's not desperate. However I was taught in High School French that if you are REALLY desperate that you use devoir....Je dois (quelque chose) Comme, JE DOIS FAIRE DU PIPI! :)

    January 12, 2015


    "devoir" + infinitive = obligation, necessity, probability ... ( + http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/devoir.htm )

    "devoir" + noun = to owe

    "avoir besoin de" = to need + "falloir" (Example: "Il me faut un stylo." = "I need a pen." )

    August 5, 2014


    So if I wanna say "I owe you a chicken", I'm guessing it would be "Je te dois un poulet."?

    January 16, 2015


    Who in the world says 'I owe a chicken?'

    October 22, 2018


    someone who owes a chicken

    November 22, 2018


    DuoLingo, I can understand that we need to learn that devoir can mean 'to owe', but this sentence is absolutely useless.

    November 16, 2018



    January 17, 2019



    March 24, 2019
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