Hi, I was doing revisions for the things that I have studied, and apparently they do introduce new things to you while you're revising. Here's what I got
Elle ne mange que des légumes.
The translation for "ne" being "(negation)" So naturally I translated it as
She didn't eat vegetables
And duolingo's translation is
She only eats some vegetables.
Can someone explain the usage of "ne" for me? Why does a "ne mange" translates as "only", when hovering over the word "ne" shows "(negation)"
Merci beaucoup :)
"elle ne mange que des légumes" is not negative, despite the presence of "ne". It is a "locution" meaning "only" and synonymous with "seulement" : "elle mange seulement des légumes". for "ne" to really mean something negative, you need another part to the "locution" : "elle ne mange pas de légumes" (does not eat), "elle ne mange plus de légumes" (does not eat any more), "elle ne mange jamais de légumes" (never eats), etc.
Thanks for that explanation Sitesurf - I came across it in the inverse tree and my instinct was to write "Elle ne mange que DE fruits". I got it wrong, of course, so I went hunting around to discover why and came across this post through a Google search. Very helpful as always :)
Just to add to the good answers of siebolt, Sitesurf and Callipedie, the "que" is as important as, or maybe more important than, the "ne". In casual speech, not writing, French speakers sometimes completely swallow the "ne" so that this sentence would sound like "elle mange que des légumes" to me but would be understood as "elle NE mange que..." by another French speaker. (This dropping of the "ne" is even more common with forms of negatives, especially in "ne...pas", so it is better known.)
@sephquartz I would recommend "Practice Makes Perfect Complete French Grammar". I highly recommend any language books by McGrawHill as they tend to be very cheap and very useful. http://www.amazon.com/Practice-Perfect-Complete-French-Grammar/dp/007178781X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342451695&sr=8-1&keywords=complete+french+grammar