"Do not feed the animals."
Translation:Ne donnez pas à manger aux animaux.
The use of an infinitive instead of an imperative makes the command less authoritative, more of a piece of advice, like:
(il est préférable/conseillé/recommandé de) ne pas nourrir les animaux.
This is just a polite trick, because in zoos, you'd better not feed the animals, otherwise you might be in trouble.
"Donner à + infinitive" is a construction meaning "to give something to +Verb":
- donner (quelque chose) à manger = give something to eat
- donner à penser = give something to think about
- donner à croire = give something to believe
Other verbs can use that construction as well: j'achète à manger (I buy something to eat), je prépare à manger (I prepare/cook something to eat)...
In this particular sentence, "à manger" replaces "de la nourriture", a word that the French do not like much (for the sound of it?) and most of the time find ways to avoid. If you ever watch the cartoon "Ratatouille" (in English with French subtitles), you may notice that the word "food" is used many times but the word "nourriture" not once.
"Ne donnez pas les aliments" would be "don't give the food", specific.
When the verb is negated, partitive and indefinite articles disappear and "de" is used alone:
- Give (some) food = Donnez de la nourriture: "de la" is partitive
- Give (some) food products = Donnez des aliments: "des" is indefinite
- Do not give any food/food products to animals" = Ne donnez pas de nourriture/pas d'aliments aux animaux.
There are contexts in which one would use "alimenter" as "to feed", e.g., a baby, a sick person, etc. It has other uses, as well, financial, etc. But it would be understood in terms of actively feeding the animals, not just tossing them a bit of something. Although it may technically be possible, it seems that francophones don't use "alimenter" in this context. The sentence strictly means, don't give them anything to eat. The same meaning in English is usually conveyed as "don't feed them". Take a look here to get a broader look at "alimenter": http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/alimenter/2277
"Ne nourrir pas les animaux" was rejected; "Ne nourris pas les animaux" was the 'preferred' answer; Sitesurd says "Ne pas nourrir pas les animaux" is commonly seen in zoos. What part of nourrir is "nourris"? And what is the significance of putting "ne pas" together rather than round the verb?
Public instructions can be given in infinitive, so as to soften the command a bit.
"ne pas nourrir les animaux" is a typical example of what you can read in a zoo.
However, in everyday life, since your commands are addressed to identified people, you should use the proper imperative forms:
- donne-moi ce papier (tu)
- donnez-moi ce papier (vous)
- donnons-lui ce papier (nous)
I don't know which type of exercise you did with this sentence, but chances are that it was a multiple choice question where you probably had to tick 2 boxes, one with "donne-moi" and the other with "donnez-moi".
Because the infinitive is "nourrir" and not "nourrer".
je nourris, tu nourris, il/elle/on nourrit, nous nourrissons, vous nourrissez, ils/elles nourrissent.
In imperative, you can use "nourris, nourrissez, nourrissons", which are the forms of the present tense, but without the personal pronoun.
Reported it, but "N'alimentez pas les animaux" should be an acceptable answer. According to Larousse.fr:
alimenter, verbe transitif - Procurer à quelqu'un, à un animal les aliments nécessaires à leur subsistance ; nourrir
Depending on context, "la nourriture" can be replaced with: Gastronomie (f), cuisine (f), aliments (m), mets (m), plats (m), victuailles (f), repas (m), produits (m), provisions (f), alimentation (f)...
Plus, a few slang words like "la bouffe, la pitance, la mangeaille, la bectance, la bouffetance, la boustifaille, la croûte..."
Where is the food? = Où est le buffet ?