"Is this horse expensive?"
Translation:Ce cheval est cher ?
You were taught "expensive = cher" and that is good enough for this sentence.
You may also be interested in knowing that "costly", as a synonym of "expensive", also has a French, translation: "couteux".
Duolingo shows you extra vocab for you to learn more, but you don't lose anything if you don't know "coûteux" (feminine "coûteuse", masc plur. "coûteux", fem plur "coûteuses")
They should not throw out a new, alternative word for expensive and then expect you to know there were two options and both had to be selected. I knew cher was correct but not couteux. This is not nice! Had we been introduced to the word at some point we might be expected to select it.
"C'est" means "this is" or "it is." One of the most familiar ways to ask a question, very common in spoken French (and English), is to make a statement but raise your voice at this end - "C'est un cheval cher?" ("This is an expensive horse?") In that context, you could translate "C'est" as "is this," because a reasonable translation would be "Is this an expensive horse?" In this sentence Duolingo wants "Is this horse," so you can't use c'est, because ce needs to be put next to cheval to say "this horse" ("ce cheval").
In a multiple choice, the correct answers (two of them) were supposed to be "Ce cheval est couteux" where couteux had and had not a circumflex above the first "u". This is the first time I've come across an optional diacritical! Does this relate to the gender of the subject?
coûteux is masculine, singular and plural
coûteuse is feminine singular, coûteuses is feminine plural
Removing the circumflex accent on some words is part of a "recommendation" made by the French authorities in 1990. The issue is that nobody knows where and when the accent is still required, so by default, it is optional here.
There are several possibilities for a yes/no question:
- the formal construction uses a Verb-Subject pronoun inversion but when there is a real subject, it comes first: Le cheval est-il cher ?
- the standard construction starts with "est-ce que" and you add a statement form: Est-ce que le cheval est cher ?
- the informal construction is a simple statement with a question mark and an inflexion at the end: Le cheval est cher ?
This is a binary question (answer "yes/no").
There are 3 ways to translate it to French:
- formal, with the real subject first, then the Verb-Subject pronoun inversion: Ce cheval est-il cher ?
- standard, with "est-ce que" in the beginning, then the question in a statement form: Est-ce que ce cheval est cher ?
- informal, as a statement with intonation and a question mark at the end: Ce cheval est cher ?
"Cet" does not work here, because it is reserved for masculine nouns starting with a vowel sound to avoid the vowel sound conflict: "cet oiseau" [setwazo], not "ce oiseau [suh-wazo].