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  5. "Je descends les escaliers."

"Je descends les escaliers."

Translation:I am going down the stairs.

April 6, 2013

66 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrandiWL

So what do the French call an escalator?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1965

An escalator is "un escalier mécanique". "Un ascenseur" is an elevator.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/almarioboter

Merci, those are useful vocabulary words.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rasalingo

How would you translate instead, "I go downstairs." ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1965

The expression "là-bas" means roughly "over there" and doesn't mean "downstairs". To go (ou) come downstairs = descendre (l'escalier).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Iflana

Not that it's incorrect in any way, but I'd never say "I'm going down the stairs" in conversation. I would say "I'm going downstairs" and Duo accepts that in this example. There are many correct ways you could say this in English!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mammad99

I go downstairs=Je vais en bas (no dashes)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kacenka9

Is 'les escaliers' always plural. Even for single flight of stairs? Would je descends le escalier mean, that I go down one step?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1965

When you say "Je descends l'escalier", it means "I am going down the stairs" or "I'm going downstairs". It only refers to a flight of stairs, i.e., a single staircase. I suspect that different speakers may be confused by the fact that "stairs" can refer to a single staircase/stairway.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SquirlRat

So wouldn't "I go down the staircases" be an accurate translation here? Duo doesn't accept it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shirlgirl007

You go down the stairs of ONE staircase, only one staircase at a time, not multiples. See other answers, above...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aeronautix

"I climb down the stairs", non?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1965

There is no "climbing" involved in going down the stairs--a ladder or a tree, maybe--but not stairs.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/taramitzy

You are right, of couse --- but it is quite common in English to hear of climbing down a ladder, or a tree, or a mountain ---usually where there is effort requiring a descent facing the slope and with both hands clutching at any available support.! Trying to think of a word in English which means precisely that,.... maybe clamber?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BUTTERFLY1243

UM I i think that it is: I GO UP THE STAIRS


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/N.Rennard

Even though "I go down the stairs" is technically correct. It sounds like very poor "cave man like" English. If you hover your pointer over "descends," one of the options is "(I) am going down."

The preferred translation of this sentence, in my opinion, would be "I am going down the stairs."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MrKnightley

Yes, most first-person French verb conjugates accept this form of translation... I.e., "I [verb/action]..." or "I am [verb/action]-ing..."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shirlgirl007

Well, just the previous question did not accept I am HAVING 2 plates of rice. It only wanted: I HAVE 2 plates of rice. So all quite arbitrary, it seems to me, not sure what to think about this.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nzchicago

It's not actually arbitrary - I'll see if I can explain. Avoir means "to have" in the sense of possession. We don't say "I am possessing two plates of rice," we can only say "I possess two plates of rice." But when you say "I am having two plates of rice" you mean "I am eating" or "I am ordering" two plates of rice. And for that meaning, in French you would use prendre: Je prends (I am taking).

For most other verbs, the two English forms can be translated interchangeably - ie Je joue: I play/I am playing

But it doesn't work for avoir in the sense of possession. That's why your answer wasn't accepted.

Hope that makes sense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shirlgirl007

Ok, so is avoir the only verb that has this exception? And is there another word for how we say in English, I am having... in terms of food?I know there is manger, but that is to eat. Thanks for your help!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nzchicago

Other verbs that I can think of are "to know" and "to want." We don't generally say "I am wanting" or "I am knowing." There are doubtless other examples.

I don't know of another French verb apart from predre to mean having in the sense we are talking about.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1965

Good job explaining by nzchicago. Here is more on stative verbs when you are ready for more: https://www.thoughtco.com/differences-between-action-and-stative-verbs-1211141


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/posteral

"I'm coming downstairs." should be correct


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nzchicago

That would be "Je viens en bas." (I think.) Downstairs/upstairs are the locations that you take the stairs to get to.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/taramitzy

Gorgeous -- Just try saying THAT in Duo-ese !


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

"Nue descendant un escalier" (Marcel Duchamp, 1913)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/taramitzy

The challenge was to say it in Duo-ese, not French! Later: sorry, that sounds abrupt and rude - definitely not my intention. I was personally intrigued by the thought of what an a.i. robot would make of the picture - ;-}


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lazypoet

I have a question: why do they add an s in "descends" when it is "je" and not "tu" ?

Does it mean I'm doing it right at this moment? Do you always add an s for that?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/canegrassocane

because it's Descendre the infinitif, and as many verbs that end in -re they are irregular. It should go like this: je descends tu descends il descend the other persons are the same as in -er verbs


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nzchicago

Actually that is a regular verb; it's one of the three types of regular verbs (the others end in -er and -ir). All verbs of that type take -s for je and tu, and drop the -s for il/elle/on. Same for vendre, prendre, etc.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LiamBeans

The "-s" ending is a pretty common conjugation with "je" in the present for almost every verb whose infinitive ends in "-re," such as prendre "to take" (je prends "I take/I'm taking") and entendre "to hear" (j'entends "I hear/I'm hearing"). It doesn't say anything about whether you do it repeatedly or you're doing it at this very moment; context takes care of that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/akarapaper

Is it the same meaning as " Je me descends les escaliers." ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/atomicmrpelly

"Descendre" is not a reflexive verb therefore "Je me descend" is not an acceptable formation. It would mean "I descend myself" which is slightly suspect ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1965

Rechecking Larousse, Wordreference, Oxford French Dictionary, Reverso and l'internaute -- none show any use of "descendre" as a reflexive verb.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/soslzp

Why" I'm coming downstairs "wrong ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nathanhnash

Because you're not supposed to just provide an answer that describes the same thing but rather actually translate what's being said.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/taramitzy

It isn't wrong. It depends on your action in relation to the person you're addressing. If you're leaving someone upstairs it would be more natural to say "I'm going downstairs" - but if you're approaching someone who is on a lower floor "I'm coming downstairs" would be perfectly correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/linnn1estar

I said "I went down the stairs" and Duo said it was wrong!! Does anyone know why??/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lesmisloony

Only because "went" is past tense and the sentence is present tense ("I go down the stairs"). You were mostly right!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/linnn1estar

Thanks!! I have only been learning french for 2 school years. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DorothyFio

is there a difference between l'ascenseur and les escaliers ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lesmisloony

Yes, "l'ascenseur" would be "the elevator."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Parsamana

How would you say "I go down the steps"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/manaanna

I wrote "I descend the steps" but they want "I descend the stairs." In American English we use steps and stairs interchangeably.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KateAfanas

i don't understand why you can't walk downstairs just as well as go. My answer 'I am walking downstairs" was marked wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AngelaBlazye

why was my translation 'I am coming downstairs' marked wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nzchicago

Les escaliers is the staircase itself. "Downstairs" is a location - the place you get to when you have gotten to the bottom of the stairs. There is a way of saying that in French, but I"m not confident enough to provide that, sorry. Might be in one of the other comments.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Natalie526785

I put je dessine ... And it was wrong. Isn't that about the same pronunciation


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nzchicago

Not really. The ending of dessine rhymes with "scene." For descends, the "nds" are all silent, and the preceding vowel is nasalized. Also, I think the first "e" is slightly different because in dessine it is followed by a double s; but the main difference is the ending of the two words. Not similar at all.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Schety

Why didn't "I climb down the stairs" work? That's at least as common as "go down", and if anything it's more correct, not less.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Suze546189

As below, what is one escalator? How can a staircase be "les"...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nzchicago

Just as in English, you can say "L'escalier" (the staircase/stairway) or "Les escaliers" (the stairs). It amounts to much the same thing.

An escalator is "l'escalier roulant."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eowyn11

Why not im going downstairs???


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DorothyDel2

I wrote I am coming downstairs & was marked wrong & yet the translation of descendre is to go down or to come down. Why am I wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bryan472866

On a previous question i had answered that the cat descends the stairs this was marked wrong. In this question it is descends, yet both subjects are singular. Am i missing something


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/commediadellarte

this is confusing - to me anyhow. i translated with "I am going down the staircases'. marked wrong. so what is the plural of 'staircase' in french? one staircase = l'escalier, two staircases = deux escaliers - no?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shirlgirl007

Well, I guess you would have to be pretty agile to go down more than one staircase at the same time..We go down many stairs, on the same staircase..in my opinion..


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkHolden8

Other sentences in this block relating to someone descending the stairs offer the option of "going" or "coming". Why does this particular one not? You could be calling out "I am coming downstairs" it would still be "je descends les escaliers"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SakrajitGh

How will one translate "I climb down the stairs."? As we climb up the stairs, so do we climb down the stairs. So I wrote "I climb down the stairs" and DL marked it wrong, but it is not. Pl fix it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brian648024

I wrote this answer prev iously and it was incorrect. Duo wanted" je descend l'escaliers". What gives?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nzchicago

Impossible. Conjugation is wrong, as well as article. It could have been "l'escalier." (singular)

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