Hi ferynn, thanks for your reply
Ah yes it is "du" we say.... Ok now I am really confused. Why "manger" instead of "mange"? I am fairly certain with all of the animal eating rice examples that Duolingo has presented me it has been using "mange du riz" and not "Manger du riz". And why no contraction in the case of "viande"?
This is how I understand the whole "du/de la" thing in my POV as I wrote it in my handy-dandy notebook :)
"Du" is a masculine variant of the word 'some'. Usage wise it does not require the placement of "le" after itself if the word after it (du) is inherently masculine.
For example: "Ils mangent du pain" NOT "Il mangent de le pain".
Not only is the the second sentence wrong but it doesn't sound or feel right either.
On the other hand, "de" is the feminine variant of 'some'. Its usage requires the placement of the DEFINITE ARTICLE of "la" after it should the NOUN in question be inherently feminine.
Hope that helps!
Sorry, I was just giving you a generic example with the infinitive form. So if we go back to the animal, it would be "L'animal mange de la viande / L'animal mange du riz".
As for why no contraction for "de la", well...I have no real explanation, except "this is how we do". :/ "De le" sounds very weird. I guess you'll have to accept it.