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"Ce ne sont jamais les bonnes cartes."

Translation:These are never the right maps.

March 30, 2013



I would never say "these are never the good maps". I'd say "these are never good maps" or "these are never the right maps".. I reported it.


Why is "the" needed for the translation here whereas very often "les cartes" can just be translated with "cards"? Is ist because there is an adjective before the noun?


une bonne carte = a good map

la bonne carte = the right/best map

The presence of the changes the meaning from good to right/best in French.


I wrote "...never the good cards" and got it right!


Your translation is a good one. However it doesn't demonstrate to other students that the good one means the right one. That is why you have so many posters on this thread saying you should just drop the from the translation.

You can't do that because if you do, you lose the point that it isn't just a good card but the good one, the right one, the best one, the one you wanted. It very well may be a good one, maybe even a really, really good one but it isn't the good one.

Of course, you don't have to demonstrate anything to other students about superlatives but Duo does.


Strange,, likewanda6555o5, i wrote, 'never the good card', and got it wrong.


Thanks, northernguy. Is that why despite this being a negative sentence, "les" is not replaced with "des"? I would sincerely appreciate a reply.


Your question leads me to think that you believe that a negative sentence should normally attract the indefinite article in French. I don't remember any such rule.

But there certainly is no such rule in English. You can express a superlative by attaching the to the following noun.

You can imagine a card game where at the start there is no set of especially good cards. As play progresses, some cards become particularly good cards. As play progresses further a card becomes as good as you can get and is better than the other newly developed good cards.

If I remember correctly, there is a card game called hearts where the queen of spades is a significant card to possess in your hand.

Depending on the distribution of the cards, it is either the best card to hold or the worst. Failing being placed in either category it is just another card. That is because it depends on the distribution of cards and how the players manage their hands in relation to yours. That means you don't know what status if any, it will acquire during play. Nor can you be sure you will be able to exploit its superior status or will be left saddled with its loss inducing negative quality.

Alternatively you can reduce the risk by trying to dump it as just an ordinary card before it acquires any prominence (if you are able to manage doing so).

Players call it the bitch because it seems to be perfectly ordinary but can propel you to victory or ruin your chances of success. And you can't really know which it is , until the game, like life, plays out.

You can have or not have the good card, job, woman or whatever without knowing which one it is until your life plan makes it apparent. When it does become apparent you will be glad you have or don't have the good/bad one. You will know what you mean when you tell yourself that.


Many thanks, northernguy. I merely quote what Sitesurf wrote in a discussion;

1) In negative sentences the object's article is dropped: Il n'a pas DE noun il n'a plus DE noun il n'a jamais DE noun 2) In expressions of quantity with "de", the object"s article is dropped as well: il a beaucoup DE noun il a plus DE noun il a (un) peu DE noun il a autant DE noun I merely want to know if this applies to ALL negative sentences.


I have noticed that the article is dropped as you say but I thought it was optional and common, like leaving out some in English sentences.

F.W.I.W. I have not looked at Duo French for about a year as I found its focus on grammar and sentence construction was holding me back. I have made orders of magnitude of improved progress by reading short stories with an accompanying audio track. Unless you are dealing with disarming bombs or doing brain surgery, obsessing over grammar doesn't really help you progress. Coming back to French after a year, I am amazed at how much of the grammar I have forgotten even though I can read and listen to French with much greater understanding than before. It is worth noting that the new crown system has made Duo virtually useless for reviewing basics.


yes in french a generality is expressed with the definite article, but here i believe that it is talking about a specific group of cards because of the demonstrative article ce, THESE are never the good cards, indicating it's not a generality? i think:) someone can correct me if they want

Edit: I don't know if it is because of the adjective or not, just a gut instict i would assume not, because then how would you express a generality about good cards:) but don't take that as gospel


But in English "the" is inappropriate here. The correct English should be "These are never good cards" (or maps)



Your sentence is fine English. It just isn't a good translation of the French example provided by Duo.


An aside: How does one Edit something they have already posted here? Is it possible?


The edit function should be available for your own posts.

If you are on a desktop computer looking at your own posts and you don't see the edit function beside the reply button, you may be signed in on a different account from the one you used to post the original.


I've noticed that when duolingo gives multiple definitions for a term, it's best to pick the first one, unless it really doesn't fit the context.


I would never say "these are never the good maps". I'd say "these are never good maps" or "these are never the right maps".. I reported it.


I still am not grasping the need for the. I was thinking playing cards and someone was complaining about the hand he was dealt


That's how I read it too. Playing cards and getting a bad hand, or maybe a bad tarot reading.


I had to come here to find out what in earth this sentence meant as Duo told me it was "They are never the good cards"....which pretty nonsensical IMO!


Sometimes when you are gambling it seems like ...they are never the good cards......

Some people feel like the cards they are dealt in life are never the good ones.


i think that "ces" is used with plural nouns meaning these, those and "ce" works with this, that.


Ce can mean it/this/that/these/that and is a pronoun (I believe - it takes that place of a noun and acts as a noun). No noun is required, and it doesn't get an "s," even when it means plural things, like in "ce sont."

Ce/cet/cette/ces means this/that/these/those in the adjective form (I believe, I'm bad at parts of speech) and requires a noun. Ce chien (This/that dog - masc/sing). Cet oiseau (This/that bird - masc/sing/but starts with a vowel). Cette recette (This/that recipe - fem/sing). Ces cadeaux, ou ces femmes (These/those gifts, or these/those women - masc OR fem/plural).


Is it only in negative sentences when ces is the subject that ces turns to ce?


No, ces cannot be a subject. Negative has nothing to do with it. If "ce" replaces the noun, it must be "ce," not "ces/cet/cettes/etc". If you say "ces," you must have a noun following it. Ces chaussures ne sont pas comfortable. OR Ce ne sont pas comfortable.


Thanks. Its much clearer now


Thank you Meg in Canada


Merci beaucoup!


What about ceux? I would have used "Ceux sont" in this example.


Me too - I couldn't tell from the oral what it should be - Annoyingly, I put Ce sont first and then changed it.


"Cartes" could mean maps, or cards, right? When I said "these are not the right cards at all" it gave me a wrong answer alert :/

  • 2313

The error was probably not due to the translation of "les cartes" as "cards", but translating "jamais" as "at all" (too far off from what Duo is expecting). "La carte" can be: card, map, menu, and with various modifiers to refer to a very large number of other types of cards: credit card, graphics card, identify card, phone card, press card, student card, etc., etc. http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/french-english/carte/169372


Why is the format not

ne sont [pas]

I forgot?

Edit: nvm, it would be It is not never the right map, which is a double negative!

  • 2313

For negatives, the ne...pas form surrounds the verb and simply means "not". This is "ne...jamais" which brackets the verb and is translated as "never". Remember, that double negatives are usually avoided in English or as is said, one negative word cancels out the next one, as in "two negatives make a positive". But this is not true in French, where multiple negative words are used to express the thought. That's one reason why one cannot translate every word, word by word, and expect to always end up with a good translation. Hope this helps.


why is it the "right" maps? "Bonnes"' connotes "good" not "right." l read this sentence as: "there are never the good maps."


I think Duo is suggesting an alternative. Good is the literal translation, but if you think about it, it could mean right.



une bonne carte = a good map

la bonne carte = the right/best map

The presence of the changes the meaning from good to right/best in French.


There are a lot of good cards and maps in life. Only a few are the right ones. A common way to refer to the right ones in French is to use the definite article, le/la/les.

Employing le/la means that these maps are not some good maps but the good maps. The particular good maps we have been looking for. The right maps. Which in this example seem never to show up.


northernguy je suis tout a fait d'accord avec vous sur regles de grammaire francaise avec l'introduction du nouveau cours Duo. j'utilise maintenant ce course uniquement pour Plaisir et pour appredre le vocabulaire et ameliorer les livres de grammaire.


Why not "ces"


Why not 'These maps are never good'?


why did it say " they are never the right maps "


An aside: How do you delete a post you made in error?


How do you know when to use 'ce' for plural or 'ces'?


What an odd, weird sentence and, IMHO, an unnecessary and confusing example.


"cartes" for "playing cards" must be accepted. "The good cards" or "the right cards" would be cards that can give you a winning hand in a card game. "Maps," of course, is correct, but then "never the right maps" sounds bizarre, because of the "never."

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