"Tu dois un poulet."

Translation:You owe a chicken.

April 1, 2013



This lesson had me confused, as it's the first time I had seen the verb "devoir" by itself.

After a bit of internet sleuthing, I have learned that when devoir is not followed by another verb in infinitive form, it takes on the literal meaning "owes." However, if it is followed by a verb in infinitive form, it takes on the literal meaning "must."

Please, someone, correct me if I'm wrong.

June 3, 2013


No need to correct you, you are right.

June 3, 2013


Good to know this

March 9, 2019


so, tu dois manger un poulet would be you must eat a chicken?

March 4, 2014



May 15, 2014


Why is it dois manger? Must to eat??

August 20, 2014


Think of it as "have to eat", if that helps!

The rule, though, is that if you have two or more verbs (and it's not a composed tense like passé composé), you conjugate the first one and the rest are in the infinite. We largely do this in English, too, with "must" being an exception. I want to eat, I have to go, etc.

August 20, 2014


To be honest, whilst this may be helpful at first, thinking of English verbs using "to have" where it is not necessary may cause problems later on when you go on to learn the compound tenses, such as the passé composé.

August 20, 2014


Oh, sorry, I was unclear -- think of "tu dois manger" as "you have to eat". It's a valid (colloquial) translation of devoir, and helps make using the infinitive afterwards feel more natural.

August 20, 2014


"Dois manger" = Must eat (in proper English there is no "to" after must (the verb).

December 24, 2014


Very helpful, thanks. I was wondering about that, too...

November 25, 2013


I'm looking forward to arriving in Paris so I can use this sentence.

August 17, 2013


Tu dois un poulet. Le singe est sur la branche.

September 19, 2013


Le singe est derriere sa femme!

February 4, 2014


Le singe était derrière sa femme. Maintenant il est sur la branche. ;) http://youtu.be/x1sQkEfAdfY

February 4, 2014


LOL thanks for the video!

July 17, 2014


Oh mon dieu. J'adore Eddie Izzard. Il est mon prefere.
That translation took me 10 minutes.

September 30, 2014


c'est mon préféré (he is + modified noun)

October 1, 2014


Les requins sont sur le toit.

May 21, 2014


Le souris est en desous la table

February 6, 2014


la souris est en-dessous de la table

February 6, 2014


Hahahaha, one of my French professors had us watch that video!

February 6, 2014


Good for him/her ☺. What a cool professor.

February 6, 2014


:) A girl from one of my classes in France showed me this, I think it's the equivalent for French students: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SSkObIf9Ic

February 6, 2014


That is awesome.

February 6, 2014


True story which I had forgotten about until now. I had this French guy giving me private French lessons. Afterwards when I wanted to pay him, he said that instead he wanted me to buy him two chickens. He knew of a farmer who sold chickens, so off we went, and I bought him two chickens which he kept in his back yard because he wanted fresh eggs. So, indeed, I did owe him a chicken... well, two chickens.

October 11, 2013


That's a lovely story!

October 12, 2013


I get all my loans from chickens.

August 19, 2013


Its the only way!

September 1, 2014


I love this discussion

September 18, 2013


I'm learning so much about French culture!

May 22, 2013


And now my friend owes a chicken something too? This sentence confuses me...

April 1, 2013


Chicken debt must be common in France.

April 8, 2013


I regret to say that I do not, in fact, owe a chicken. This is all the result of a misunderstanding.

It is true that I have lost an amazing amount of owls lately but I had nothing to do with any missing chickens.

June 1, 2013


I seem to be mostly losing hearts lately, but it does seem to be because of some owl...

November 6, 2013


Owls or Fowls?? Oh the barter system. This discussion sure is fun.

December 11, 2018


I think that "tu dois un poulet" means that it is your counterpart's turn to buy a chicken or that he owes money to the butcher for the chicken he bought and did not pay immediately.

April 3, 2013


That's what I thought too, would French people also get this joke or does it not translate?

July 11, 2013


This is all so hilarious. It really has brightened my day! I'm still laughing at the "chicken currency" funnies. LOLOLOL Not making fun of the beautiful French language...just making light of what is difficult (and continuous) verbiage. One wonders why Duo continues to use "he/she/we/you owe(s) a chicken" rather than at least some of the times, perhaps saying that someone owes a euro, a meal, a favor, a debt or a ticket, etc. We love the French language and French speaking people!!

October 8, 2013


So do you owe a chicken some food, or does you owe a chicken to someone else - maybe the butcher. Personally I would not want to be indebted to a chicken. :o)

July 17, 2013


yes, he owes money to the butcher for the chicken he bought and did not pay immediately.

'you owe a chicken some food' = tu dois de la nourriture à un poulet (devoir quelque chose à quelqu'un)

July 17, 2013


Apparently we have joined a chicken-based monetary system. I look forward to trading for all your dark meat.

February 25, 2014


I wish there were more relevant sentences. I highly doubt anyone is going to say that to me or me to them in my lifetime.

July 23, 2013


Je te dois un poulet.

August 16, 2013


I agree. You can learn sentence structure and vocabulary even with stupid sentences, but useful sentences would make so much more sense.

September 8, 2013


Croura, this changes my plans to carry a small purse when visiting France.

October 24, 2014


You are going to need a bigger purse.

October 24, 2014


Yes, but carrying chickens in the Metro in any kind of bag will be a real challenge! Bonne chance! By the way, you may want to check them at the door when you go to the Louvre ;-)

October 24, 2014


This sentence wasn't wierd because in Spanish, should and owe are also from the same verb (ie. deber).

January 10, 2014


Someone please explain to me how this is a real life, useful sentence.

February 24, 2014


This sentence is useful for the laughter that it has provided us, and for the opportunity for us to exchange cultural experiences. This sentence is useful because it teaches us one of the ways that sentences can be constructed in French. This sentence is useful because it teaches one way to use the verb "devoir" and it reminds us that second person singular present tense for "devoir" is "dois". This sentence is useful because it teaches us that "poulet" means "chicken"

February 24, 2014


Ahhhh. I will remember to employ this, this summer in Quebec. I am sure my use will add to their own laughter.

February 24, 2014


Are you wanting to learn grammar and vocabulary, or are you just wanting to memorize sentences? A negative attitude is not the way to go about learning a new language. But different strokes for different folks. Good luck!

February 24, 2014


I don't know if this makes enough sense to help anyone else, but I've started to think of the English word "obligation" when i read "doire." [ERROR! See Sitesurf's correction; I should have written "devoir."] It also connotes these two senses of something one must do or give.

August 23, 2014


The infinitive verb is "devoir" (not doire).

Note that "un devoir" (noun) = duty / homework

August 23, 2014


Thank you for the correction and the additional reference/reminder word!

August 24, 2014


I think Duolingo came up with a poor and confusing example here for demonstrating the use of the word "devoir" meaning "to owe." I've heard "Tu me dois 10€" or "Tu me dois un café" but a CHICKEN???

October 24, 2014


yes, this one I am going to memorize: you owe me $ 10 = tu me dois $ 10

February 21, 2019


i work with native french people and one of the first phrases they taught me was "je dois aller ou toilette"(i have to go to the bathroom), with dois meaing "must" or "have to". but here it's also "owe"? someone please clarify

November 18, 2014


The correct sentence is; "je dois aller aux toilettes" (feminine plural).

Verb "devoir" is relatively versatile, meaning "need to", "must", "have to", in front of a verb.

When used with a direct object, it means "owe": je te dois 10 euros = I owe you 10 euros".

November 19, 2014


I don't generally think of debt in terms of farm animals. But, it makes grammatical sense.

December 16, 2014


Yes, it does, and that's the point. When you have learned how to say "200€", you can then say "you owe me two hundred euros" (tu me dois deux-cents euros).

December 17, 2014


If the sentence means, "You owe a chicken:", is that to mean, I borrowed from the chicken, and now I owe him...OR is it to say, "You owe (some 'Unspecified other party') a chicken?

December 22, 2014


The latter, because the former would be: tu dois (quelque chose) à un poulet.

December 23, 2014


not worth discussing as duo lingo cannot change this after 70 comments!! just give the answer they want to move on!!!!!!!!

November 16, 2018


Wow this totally confused me tu dois, "you must", "you have to" "a chicken" "You owe a chicken" ?? is this a typo and should be you "You own a chicken"

November 29, 2018



March 24, 2019
Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.