"He always wears blue shirts."
Translation:Il porte toujours des chemises bleues.
Is the word order important here?
"Il porte des chemises bleues toujours" is apparently not a correct translation.
If you're thinking about German, it's not working like that. Most of the time the word order can't be changed in French. So no, your translation is not correct French.
Must it always follow the verb? i.e., can the sentence still work like as: "Il toujours porte..."
Some adverbs can change place in the sentence, but never be inserted between the subject and its conjugated verb.
I will forever think of it kind of like Yoda-speak, he wears always some shirts blue.
"Quand 900 ans comme moi tu auras, moins en forme tu seras."
= When 900 years like me you are, less in shape you will be.
Sometimes when the english sentence has no article at all, it can be translated with a definite or an indefinite article. Can anybody offer any guidance as to when I should use which kind of article?
For this one, it is easy. Put the sentence in singular: "he always wears a blue shirt" = "il porte toujours une chemise bleue". Now, if in English a/an has no plural, the French indefinite articles un/une have a plural: "des".
Thanks! Based off of that reading, then "Il porte toujours les chemises bleues" is also a valid translation. Yes?
No. Here it has to be "Il porte toujours des chemises bleues." because we're not talking about specific blue shirts, we're talking about any blue shirt he might wear.
Right - but both my previous French education and the link that you provided said that the definite article can be used when talking about the general idea of of something. The article you gave me mentioned that "I like ice cream" can be translated as "J'aime la glace" - even though you are not talking about a specific unit of ice cream.
Yes you're right, but when we talk about concepts (when you say that you like "ice cream" you're not talking about any existing ice cream, only about what ice cream is as an idea), we use the definite article.
So to summarize :
one or several specific objects (or ideas) we know about : definite article
one or several objects (or ideas) we don't know yet (but which exist) : indefinite article
one or several objects (or ideas) as part of a whole : indefinite article
When we talk about the essence of something (so not about an existing form of this something) : definite article.
Here are a examples for each case :
- "J'aime les fleurs que tu m'as apportées." (The flowers are known in the sentence, because they are introduced by "que tu m'as apportées". It can also work from a sentence to another, in a discussion for example.)
- "J'apporte des fleurs à mon voisin." (It's just some random flowers, we don't know anything about these.) If I would use "les", it would mean that in a previous sentence someone talked about these flowers.
- "Il a prit des fleurs de ce bouquet." (Here we talk about flowers as part of a whole, the bouquet)
- "J'aime les fleurs." (Here I'm not talking about any real flowers, but only the idea of "flowers", I like what "flowers" are, so any flower that I might see in my life are concerned by this statement.) It works the same for objects not in the physical world, like feelings and ideas. If you say "j'aime la joie" you're talking about joy as a concept, not as an existing joy of someone.
Finally, be careful because you might be tricked by articles which seem indefinite while in fact they are not, when we have to use "de".
To make it simple :
"de + le" = "du" or "de l' "
"de + les" = "des"
"de + la" = "de la" or "de l' "
"des" and "du" in these cases are not indefinite articles but definite articles (because of "le" and "les" they replace).
I hope it was clear enough. I'm not a French teacher so I try to explain the best I can but you might still have things you don't understand (or there may be nuances that I didn't cover in this post). I encourage you to do your own research on the matter if necessary.
Une chemise bleue was not accepted, but surely he would only wear one at a time. Des chemises bleues sounds to me as if he is always wearing several blue shirts at once! ?
No no, the sentence in French only means that the shirts he wears are always blue. We use the plural if the shirts are different kinds, and even though they are all blue, they are still different.
If we were to use : "Il porte toujours une chemise bleue." it would either mean that the man has only a blue shirt to wear, and he wears the same all the time, or either that he always wear blues shirts which look the same, or almost the same.
It's not theory here, it's just how I interpret these two different sentences as a native speaker.
Is it possible to reverse the verb and the adverb in this sentence? I put "Il toujours porte" and it was marked wrong. Seems OK to me, is it?
No. French is not as flexible as German concerning word placement.
"Il toujours porte ..." is incorrect French.
Here is a good summary of adverb word order in French. http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa060300.htm
First, you use the infinitive form of the verb ("porter"), when you should be using a conjugated form (in this exercise it's présent simple), for "il" it's "porte".
Second, the correct expression is "tout le temps", not "tout les temps".
Third, "tout le temps" should be used after "porte".
Fourth, you'll have to use an article for "chemises", which is plural, so "des" is appropriate. We can use an indefinite article because we're not talking about specific blue shirts or blue shirts in general, we're talking about some unspecified blue shirts.
Finally, "chemises" being a feminine plural noun, you'll need to change the adjective "bleu" to feminine plural, which gives you "bleues".
The correct sentence would be "Il porte tout le temps des chemises bleues."
All this talk about "concepts" of ice cream, etc. are as confusing as the answer... when the cold ice cream freezes your brain, you will not think it's a "concept"! The singular/plural explanation is the only one that made any sense at all!
Any existing thing can be a concept, ice cream or anything else.
When you say "I like ice cream." to someone, you're not talking about an existing ice cream which can freeze you brain. You're saying that you like ice cream in general. Without further detail, any ice cream that exists in the world is concerned by your statement, as well as any ice cream that existed before and any ice cream that will ever exist in the future.
That's why we can say that you're talking about the concept called "ice cream" and not an object or even many objects called "ice cream".
I put il toujours porte des chemises bleues but it corrected it to il a toujours porte. Why is this?
The adverb is to be placed after the conjugated verb:
in present: il porte toujours
in passé composé: il a toujours porté
Translation: My answer - "il toujours porte des chemises bleus"; suggested answer - "Il a toujours des chemises bleues".
Why would it switch to "Il a"?
That's the position of "toujours" that confused the engine, it tries to suggest the correct answer which it analyzed as the closest to what you typed.
Your answer is incorrect because of the position of "toujours" (also, it should be "bleues" instead of "bleus"). The correct version is "Il porte toujours des chemises bleues".
If you want to use "avoir" instead of "porter", then indeed you can use "il a toujours des chemises bleues.", although in my opinion it's not that correct if your goal is to translate "he always wears blue shirts", because you can have shirts and never wear them for example, but in common French we can use (or rather abuse) "avoir" to mean "porter", so I suppose that's why it's accepted.
In my opinion, there is no good reason to translate "porter" to "avoir" in this context. I, therefore, removed the translation you were suggested.
"avoir sur soi" can be synonymous with "porter", like: he has a shirt on = il a une chemise sur lui = il porte une chemise.
I wrote the correct translation above but it said it was wrong and should be this: Il a toujours des chemises bleues.
Pourquoi "il portE"? Est-ce que "port" ne pas un vrai mot? Edit: nevermind, I understand my mistake
"port" is a real French word, but it's not a verb, it's a noun, it can mean "harbor" if you mean the location where boats arrive and depart from, it can also mean "port" if you mean a slot in a computer where you can insert various cables/devices (e.g. "un port usb" = "a usb port").
There are other less common uses which you can find here:
But no, "port" is not a conjugated form of the verb "porter". You can find the conjugation of "porter" here: http://la-conjugaison.nouvelobs.com/du/verbe/porter.php