"You are eating."
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In English, to mean that an action is in progress at the time you speak, you use the continuous verbal form, ie verb BE + action verb in the gerund form (-ing).
• you are eating means you currently eat
In French, this verbal form does not exist (directly translated “vous êtes mangeant” is incorrect).
Therefore, you can translate either “tu manges/vous mangez” or “tu es /vous êtes en train de manger”, where the construction verb être + en train de + infinitive correctly expresses the English continuous form.
DuoLingo's style of teaching is by trial and error. You try something, it tells you whether you got it right or not, and if not, what the correct answer should be. It's a lot like the way we learn our first language. If you are expecting more in the way of preparation, you may be in the wrong place.
If you look down the left side of the page, there are links to vocabulary lessons and grammar lessons and much more. It's a good place to go when you are puzzled over something you see here.
This is directed at whoever is in charge of building/maintaining these lessons:
I think the problem is that we haven't been taught this "etre en train de" construction up to this point - and in fact, it doesn't seem to appear anywhere else in these materials other than this particular question. According to what we've been taught so far, the only correct answer is the one that begins with "Tu manges...". The answer that begins with "Vous etes en train de manger..." only appears on this question and nowhere else, at least that I've come across, and in this format (radio-button-selection options) there's no explanation for how this construction works.
So, as a learner, the solution would be to either reformat this question so that this "Vous etes en train de manger..." construction doesn't appear as a possible answer (because as far as we beginners know, it's a wrong answer and we have no information to tell us that it is a correct answer at this point, other than this discussion thread); or, include some instruction on this construction prior to this question, so that when we see this answer appear in the list of options, we'll understand why it's a correct answer.
French is confusing enough as it is without this extra confusion thrown in! :-)
If the English sentence is in continuous present: "you are eating", you can always translate it to a French present = "tu manges/vous mangez".
However, Duolingo also accepts and suggests the French way of expressing that an action is in progress at the time you speak: "tu es/vous êtes en train de manger", where "en train de + infinitive" means "in the process of + gerund".
There are two pronouns and 3 meanings in French, corresponding to the English "you":
tu manges is familiar, what you use to talk to a member of your family, a friend or a colleague
vous mangez is formal, what you use to talk to someone you don't know, or you owe respect to, like a teacher, a policeman, a doctor.
vous mangez is also the plural "you (all)".
It's helpful to utilize conjugation tables like this one: http://conjugator.reverso.net/conjugation-french-verb-manger.html
- Je mange (I eat)
- Tu manges (You eat)
- Il/elle mange (He/She eats)
- Nous mangeons (We eat)
- Vous mangez (You eat - plural or formal)
- Ils/Elles mangent (They eat)
For the same reason that we say "I eat", but "he eats" in English. It's just that the conjugation of verbs in French is more complex than in English. You can use conjugation tables if you're not sure, such as this one: http://conjugator.reverso.net/conjugation-french-verb-manger.html
- je mange = I eat
- tu manges = You eat (you informal)
- il/elle mange = He/she eats
- nous mangeons = We eat
- vous mangez = You eat (you formal/polite or You plural)
- ils/elles mangent = They eat
Wow. I went though YEARS of French in college and was only one semester away from getting a minor in the language and they never taught the 'Vous êtes en train de manger' form.
No wonder I never felt like I was really learning the language while in school. They weren't exactly exhaustive in their lessons. Tuition wasted!
"you are eating" is a continuous present, which does not exist in French.
Therefore, there are two ways to translate this phrase:
- with simple present: tu manges
- with an idiomatic phrase conveying the idea that the action is in progress at the time you speak: "tu es en train de manger", with "en train de + infinitive" meaning "in the process of + gerund".
Two correct answers, I choose one of the listed correct answers, it's marked as wrong even with the green check mark. This question should be fixed, or at least tell me what context the question is being asked. If I'm to use the 'respectful verb' at least tell me that or remove the "less correct" answer.
"Manges" is the 2nd person singular form of the present tense of the verb "manger" - it goes with "tu" (you) and only with "tu".
"Mange" can be either 1st person singular, or 3rd person singular - it goes with "je" (I) or with "il" (he or it - m.), "elle" (she or it - fem.) or "on" ("one").
A good resource is a verb conjugation website: http://www.conjugation-fr.com/conjugate.php?verb=mangerx=0y=0
There you can see all the different possible endings (don't be scared, you won't be learning all of them for some time yet - ha.)
One main difference between french and English is that each pronoun has it's own form of verb conjugation, contrary to English were the verb stays the same except in third person and past tenses. I suggest when you see a new verb you check out that verb's conjugation to see how each pronoun modifies the verb.
In the vocabulary section you can look up the words you've seen and click them, at the bottom you see the conjugation table.
One main difference between french and English is that each pronoun has it's own form of verb conjugation, contrary to English were the verb stays the same except in third person and past tenses.
I suggest when you see a new verb you check out that verb's conjugation to see how each pronoun modifies the verb.
In the vocabulary section you can look up the words you've seen and click them, at the bottom you see the conjugation table. http://duolingo.com/#/word/fr/manger/Verb
All verbs are conjugated in French, which means that for each 'person' (name, noun or personal pronoun), the verb form changes in ending.
Verb manger in present tense: je mange, tu manges, il/elle/on mange, nous mangeons, vous mangez (polite singular and plural), ils/elles mangent.
One main difference between french and English is that each pronoun has it's own form of verb conjugation, contrary to English were the verb stays the same except in third person and past tenses. I suggest when you see a new verb you check out that verb's conjugation to see how each pronoun modifies the verb. In the vocabulary section you can look up the words you've seen and click them, at the bottom you see the conjugation table. http://duolingo.com/#/word/fr/manger/Verb
the reason is that French is not a translation of English, and vice-versa.
you are eating would translate to vous êtes mangeant, but it is not correct French: the progressive present simply does not exist in French.
so, you are eating = tu manges OR tu es en train de manger
Kenzi, my understanding is when you are just doing something right now like you are eating this moment, a French person would say "vous etes (I don't know how to type the circumflex on e yet, excusez-moi!) en train de manger" because the French language does not have the -ing form. you will not find it in beginners' lessons.
"être en train de + infinitive" = "to be in the process of + gerund".
Since the French language does not have continuous tenses, we use a phrase to replace them when we want to express that the event is in progress at the time we speak.
- you are eating = either "tu manges/vous mangez" or "tu es/vous êtes en train de manger"
Why did Duolingo not write "You (all) are eating", as they do in other languages? There mere absence of that "all" word made me choose the "tu" form (tu manges) over "vous mangez". PLEASE try to be more consequent, Duolingo! (I am studying Italian as well, where the "You (all) is ever-present in the early lessons. I'd say it is MORE needed here, in the French studies!)
You all have certainly learned it now, right? In the end, is the object to learn the language or to finish a lesson with full hearts? I'm fairly certain no one is going to forget this particular sentence after being blindsided by it. In my opinion, I think that is more effective than to give a specific lesson on it.
Actually, no, I haven't learned it. I learned that I need to click that answer in order for it to be considered "correct," but not why, or how to use it to make new sentences. And I use the computer-based Duolingo mostly, not the mobile app, so "full hearts" doesn't usually apply - and that's not the point anyway. Pedagogically speaking, this is very weak (and I say that as I am a teacher myself).
There are no lessons here, other than a few helpful hints that have fairly recently been added to the beginners' levels. The method of instruction is trial and error, pretty much the way we all learned our first language. DL just gives you sentences to transcribe or translate and you do the best you can. You are bound to make mistakes, and then you learn something from it.
Supplemental information is (somewhat spottily) provided on these discussion pages, and helpful people often post links they have found to more explanatory web pages.
A good resource is http://french.about.com/. There are links there to many, many lessons on both vocabulary and grammar, as well as other information.
Yeah, thanks. It's not like I'm an idiot or anything - I actually keep about a dozen other webpages open as resources while I'm "DuoLingo-ing" because I've learned (yep, through trial and error, other wise known as "the hard way") that DuoLingo doesn't teach things well at all. I need those other resources to actually learn - DL is just for practice and repetition. So in future, I'll keep in mind to not bother posting things here or suggesting improvements (because I do see a number of ways this could be improved, but clearly that's not the point).