"Les hommes sont calmes."

Translation:The men are calm.

April 4, 2013

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Many new learners have trouble in the beginning. Let me recap the three things we need to know about this sentence.

  • Singular and plural nouns: Les hommes (the men) is the plural of « l'homme » (the man). L'homme is pronounced as a single syllable "lom" because the "h" is silent and it must be combined with the article "le". "Le" is pronounced as "luh"; "les" is pronounced as "lay". When you hear "lay", you know it is a plural noun, not singular. Since the "h" is silent, the plural form "les" will be combined with "hommes" is what is called a liaison. Normally, the "s" in "les" will not be pronounced, but it is pronounced here because the next word begins with a vowel sound. The liaison is pronounced like a "Z", i.e., lay-Z-om. http://french.about.com/library/pronunciation/bl-liaisons.htm
  • Conjugating the verb (être = to be) must be conjugated. Don't try to associate a word (like "are") with only one form of the French verb. You must be able to conjugate the verb in English as well as in French. If you don't know how to conjugate the verb "to be" in English, please stop now and review. I am, you are, he/she is (<= these are singular). We are, you are, they are (<=these are plural). In French, these correspond to: je suis (I am), tu es (you are, singular), il/elle est (he/she is), nous sommes (we are), vous êtes (you are, may be either singular or plural), ils/elles sont (they are). The plural subject (les hommes) required the 3rd person plural form of the verb (sont). Please review the Tips & Notes at the beginning of the lesson.
  • Adjectives in French: Unlike English, French adjectives usually change form to agree in gender and number with the noun they modify. The man is calm = L'homme est calme. The men are calm = Les hommes sont calmes. The French adjective "calme" does not have a different form for masculine and feminine nouns, but it does have a singular form (calme) and a plural form (calmes). The "s" is not pronounced but it must be written when modifying a plural noun. A more typical French adjective, i.e., one that changes form for gender and number is "grand" (big/tall). "Grand" is the masculine-singular form. "Grande" is the feminine-singular form. To make either of them plural, add an "s", i.e., "grands" (masculine-plural) and "grandes" (feminine-plural).
  • Many French words may be translated differently to English. The French "calme" is defined in English as "calm, still, quiet". If Duolingo tells you it is "still", it does not mean that "calm" is wrong. It is only showing you another correct translation.


I wish that Duolingo have a feature for saving comments and replies so that someone could come back and read it again in the future, this is gold for me. Thank you.


You can move the discussion to Safari and then save it to your e-mail. From there you can move it with copy and paste to a place where you want it


I took a screen shot and then wrote it down, that helped.


A big MERCI to you, my friend! This definitely helps break down the French language to a more digestible format!


Why we should say "The men... " instead of "men" to translate "les hommes" while somewhere else dulingo translated "les infants " to "children" not "the children" ?


les, le and la all mean 'the' les enfants means 'the 'children

also the sentence is a plural so if you used 'men' on its own it would be wrong 'men are calm' it needs to be 'THE men are calm' its a plural


How do I know when I am suppose to write either " The calm men "or "The men are calm", because I keep getting it mixed up?


Don't translate what you don't see. Translate the verb to be/ ser only when you see it

The calm men - no verb, that is NO ARE then NO SONT - les hommes calmes

The men ARE calm - ARE is there, translate it - les hommes SONT calmes


would this be the same with the perfect tense


I thought the men should be plural? so shouldn't it be "les hommes sommes calmes" for "the men are calm"?


No. Sont is already the plural (for they), and "sommes" is only for "we".


No it should not. The third person plural of the verb "être" is "sont", not "sommes" (which is the first person plural).


How is calme and calmes pronounced? Are they different?


They have the same pronunciation.

Use www.forvo.com to practice pronunciation.


The translation could be Men are calm because the definite article can indicate that we are talking about men in general. Both "The men are" and "Men are" correct, I argue. That's how I teach it in my high school classes.


Chances you know it better than I do, if you're teaching it to high schoolers, but as far as I know, the fact that they said "Les" means that the word "The" is somewhere in the sentence. Just know that there is an entire team working on Duo's translations, and that they are constantly getting feedback.


You are perfectly right. When we say « les hommes », it can mean either “the men in a specific group or context” or either “all men”. In the second case, we might need to be more specific and say « tous les hommes » but it is not mandatory and would actually translate to “all men”, not “men”. I do believe they should accept “Men are calm” as a translation. Although the resulting sentence may not be true (!), it is the same than saying « les tortues sont calmes ». You could be speaking only about the turtles in your own aquarium or about all turtles in general, it all depends on the context where it is said.


I have a question about the pronunciation of the word "calmes". When the whole sentende is read (by the man) it is pronounced "calmE". When I just click on the word itself,the woman pronounces it "calm" (without the "e"). Why is that and what is the correct way? Merci beaucoup! :)


The ending « e » is a mute one so it is not supposed to be pronounced. However, depending on regional accents (in the south it is pronounced as a full vowel for instance) and the level of speech the speaker may accentuate its pronunciation more or less (in very casual speech we don't pronounce it at all while when more formal or literate we tend to pronounce it a little more).


I can never really tell is it is Le or Les


touche... i cant figure out if its sommes or sont.... or les or le... hommes or homme sounds the same every time... :(


"sommes" and "sont" have a very different pronunciation.

"les" and "le" seem to be confusing for learners, they sound a bit alike.

"hommes" and "homme" sound exactly the same, that's why you won't be able to tell the difference.

Use this link to practice :



Le is singular masculin. La is singular femenin and les is plural


"Le" is the masculine form of "The", "La" is the feminine form and "Les" is the plural


is there any difference in pronunciation between le and les?


It's actually easy since you know english. Les sounds exactly like "Lay" in english. Le sounds like "Loo" not exactly but very similar.


I would say "Le" sounds more like "Luh" :P


Yes there is. See my post above.


Why is the "s" in "les (les hommes) pronounciated in one instance,and in another not .This i s the case in Basic 2 ,lesson one


The s in les and in most other words ending with s, is only pronounced when the next word starts with a vowel sound - that is a vowel or non aspired h.


It gets me confused between 'es' ans 'est.' Any help?


"es" means "are" for the second person singular ("tu") of the verb "être" (présent simple):

  • "Tu es fou." = "You are crazy."

"est" means "is", it's the third person singular ("il/elle/on") of the verb "être" (présent simple):

  • "Il est fou." = "He is crazy."
  • "Elle est folle." = "She is crazy."

You'll need to learn conjugation if you want to improve faster on Duolingo. Good luck.


im not quite sure why an 's' should follow an adj 'calme'


Adjectives agree with the noun they describe.


Because French... I know, It's confusing


Difference between calme and calme? Mange and manges?


"Calme" is an adjective. In French, adjectives follow the gender and number of the noun they modify. So, if the noun is "hommes" ('men', plural), then "calmes" is plural and takes an 's'. This is covered in the "Tips and Notes" at https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/Basics-2

"Mange" is a form the verb "manger". Endings of verbs are covered in the "Tips and Notes" at https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/Basics-1


Why are there so many silent letters in french?


Because we are the infamous French who love to make foreigners suffer! :D Maybe another explanation is that French people are lazy and forgot to pronounce most of the letters. :p


For a fair amount of words (NOT ALL), the last letter is not pronounced.


question ~ when will the other words come into place? like how calmes is associated with peaceful and still, are peaceful and still spelled the same as calmes ( calm ) ?


D'accord. Et Je cannais.


How can the right answer be "calmes" when hommes is musculin .. shouldn't the right answer be "calms" instead??


No. Calm in French is one of those adjectives that doesn't change with masculine or feminine. It is always going to be "Calme." L'homme est calme. Not "L'homme est calm."

"L'homme est calme," "La femme est calme," "Ils est calmes," et "Elles est calme," Are all correct.

The same applies for the adjective, "Riche."


@JackMartian it would be « ils sont calmes » and « elles sont calmes ». ;) So yes, while in English you would have only one word referring to the plural (“they”), in French, all 3 words in the sentence indicate a plural when written, but only one is indicating the plural when pronounced (« sont »).


Whoops. Yes, not est, sont. Silly mistake.


What is sont??


It is the verb/auxiliary “to be” in the 3rd person plural.

être = to be

je suis = I am

ils sont = they are


what is the different between sont and sommes?


"Sont" means "are" in the context of anything but nous (as far as I know). "Elles sont calmes", meaning "They are calm", is an example of this. "Sommes" is "are" in the context of "nous" or "we". For example: "Nous sommes riches", meaning "We are rich". Basically, to sum it up, French is confusing :P


It is actually the same than with the English “I am, you are, he is” where the verb changes for every person. The only difference is that French extends that to many other cases. ;)


Thanks for the tip


What is the difference between sont and sommes?


"Sont" means "are" in the context of anything but nous (as far as I know). "Elles sont calmes", meaning "They are calm", is an example of this. "Sommes" is "are" in the context of "nous" or "we". For example: "Nous sommes riches", meaning "We are rich". Basically, to sum it up, French is confusing :P


No..its not respondi g to my spoken words!


Like German, does French have specific formal/informal greetings and ways of saying pronouns like you? For example, I know that 'Ihr' (basically 'you lot') in German is an informal, plural version of you, and 'Du' also means you, but formally. Is it the same principle in French and are there masculine and feminine versions of the pronouns as well as normal nouns like (la) fènetre meaning window (if I got the accent wrong in fènetre please correct me) and (le) tableau meaning whiteboard?


you informal sing. = Fr. tu = Ge. du

you informal pl = Fr vous = Ge ihr

you formal sing and pl = Fr vous = Ge Sie

French has only 2 genders: le for masculine nouns and la for feminines (they become l' before a vocal sound)

German has der, die, das for masc, fem, resp. neuter nouns

the pronouns in third person En/ Fr/ Ge

he; she; it/ il; elle/ er; sie; es

they/ ils; elles/ sie


[11:11:25:25 11.12.2017] We hear "les hommes sont calmEEEEE". Some mistakes...


Just as I was beginning to think the multiple choice questions had been checked and corrected I have found yet another. The sentence is given without the word 'sont' but 'sont' is not one of the possible answers from which one can choose. PLEASE, DUOLINGO, CHECK THE MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS AND MAKE SURE THE POSSILE CHOICES CONTAIN THE CORRECT WORD! I am using an iPad.


If there was indeed no « sont » in the list of possible words, you should report it instead of writing here. Besides, it is the course's owner who should fix it, not Duolingo. :)


why is duolingo obsessed with being calm?


Don't worry, the calm rich men disappear eventually (For most of us)


I never started learning french, please delete the record of my french lessones


I wonder why everybody in Duolingo is calm and rich! We want to learn the opposite of the two words too!


What is the difference between sont and sommes


French changes the form of the verb for every person. Just like in English you have I am, you are, he is, but French generalizes that behavior to all persons and verbs. So when you learn a verb, you have to learn its conjugations (there are common patterns, so you don't really have to learn every one of them) and the verb/auxiliary “to be”, « être » is very irregular. You have to learn it thoroughly. By doing so, you will find out that:

We are = Nous sommes

They are = Ils sont


I know like une and un are femine and masculine, so do es sont and sommes have a simular thing lime that where they can only go in specific places?


what is the meaning of calm


Who cares that the men are calm?

  • 1719

Would one say the same french phrase for "Men are calm"?


Yes. Definitely.

  • 1719

Interesting. "The men ..." would be a specific group whereas "Men ..." is a global pronouncement.


Yes I got that. The context would indicate which it is, as there is no exact way of making the difference in French. But if it was ambiguous, you could add something like « Tous les hommes sont calmes », « En général, les hommes sont calmes » or anything else to make sure people understand that you are speaking in general terms, not about a specific group of men. But context is everything. Even with « En général, les hommes sont calmes », if you were a military reporting to your officer about your unit, then you might actually mean that “the men of my section/battalion/platoon are generally calm (these days, in action, etc.)”...

  • 1719

Quite cool. Thanks.


+213664842075 my whatss let's practice French


Why not Men are calm?


Why not Men are calm?


Yeah being left to guess the sont and sommes and other stuff should be explained....that is a true deficiency...


Where is difference between : Les hommes sont calmes and les hommes sont calmes ?


Thank you. Very helpful


What is the difference between sont and sommes, P.S this is french , please help.


Please read @n6zs's post at the top of this page. You will understand.


Shouldn't the voice be pronouncing the "s" of "les" because of the following letters in "hommes"?


I put "sont" as a previous answer and was marked incorrect.


. .,/ ,.n l,,blkmbb


All the lessons I've started wouldn't let me continue due to the fact that all of them don't have selection of missing words or selection of correct answers!!!How can this be resolved ?

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