"He puts the dish on the table."

Translation:Il met le plat sur la table.

June 3, 2020

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Huh, Duo didn't like my answer of "Il met l'assiette sur la table." Is that because "dish" indicates more of a recipe or preparation served on a plate than just a plate itself, which would be "la assiette"? Kind of ironic if the English word "plate" translates into French as "assiette" when it surely derives from the French "plat."


On this course at least, "une assiette" is the translation for "a plate" and "un plat" for "a dish".

As a container, "un plat" (dish) is a large container (many shapes are possible, including that of a large plate) to be filled with food for several people.

As a food preparation, "un plat" (dish) is a combination of various ingredients. It can be an appetizer, entree, or main course.

"Une/L'assiette" is a container for one serving of food, or less frequently for various sorts of a single food: une assiette de fromages (cheeses), une assiette de charcuterie (cold cuts).


Sitesurf - Do you have any idea why the official Duolingo tips https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/Food/tips say "ce plat = this plate" and "ces plats = these plates" but I think that Duolingo doesn't accept the translation plat= plate? I'm assuming that you don't write the tips, but shouldn't it be consistent?


These are called in grammar terms Demonstrative adjectives.

  • Ce is for male nouns that start with a consonant sound: "Ce morceau".
    Ce livre = this/that book ( " ce " before a masc noun with no vowel sound)
  • Cet is for male nouns with vocal sounds at the start "Cet homme".
    Cet hotel = this/that hotel ( has a vowel sound so we need the "T")
  • Cette is for every female noun "Cette pomme" and "Ces" is for every plural "Ces hommes" "Ces pommes".
    Cette chaise = this/that chair ( chaise is Fem , so we need cette)

A vowel sounds is "a e i o u"
but also remember in french most of the time h is mute so it gets included.

Everything else is a consonant.


I may not have asked my question very well. Ignoring the demonstrative adjectives, why do the tips say plat = plate, but Duolingo won't accept that translation as correct in the exercises?


As a noun, le plat describes a full platter or a larger dish. i.e. a platter also full of food. Such as one that may be put in the center of a table to be shared with those at the table.

For an individual plate, such as when setting a table with a plate for each person sitting at the table, you use the word une assiette.

Une assiette is a feminine noun.

In this example, the word plat is referring to the noun.

The noun in French for this word does NOT have an "e" at the end of it.

If it is used as descriptive word (adjective), then there are the variations of plat / plats / plate / plates, depending on the grammatical gender and number of the noun it is describing.


This is my understanding as well, but I still think that the Duolingo tips are a bit misleading and may be causing some confusion for beginners.

To avoid the confusion, there could be a better word to demonstrate the demonstratives other than plate = plat.


In the Duolingo dictionary, to quote one example:


When plat/plate is used as an adjective (a word naming an attribute of a noun, such as sweet, red, or technical.) :
In this case it means : flat, still, dull

plural plates plats
singular plate plat

However, when it is a noun, it is a masculine noun.
i.e. le plat (singular) ; les plats (plural/more than one)

Also see https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/french-english/plat

There is also something more I wish to tell you about the word :
le plat, the noun, and how it is different from the English word plate.


Duo asked to translate "He puts the dish on the table."- it did not accept l'assiette, accepted only le plat. I believe both plat or assiette are correct in this sentence.


According to the Petit Larousse (dictionary), plat = piece de vaisselle de table plus grande que l'assiette sur laquelle on sert les mets; son contenu. In other words, "piece of tableware larger than a plate on which the food is served; its content."

This is consistent with the explanation that sitesurf has already provided. However, doesn't seem consistent with the Duolingo tips, so I'm not surprised that people are confused by this.


Surely there is a better word than dish to translate this. It took me ages to work out duo didn't mean an actual dish but a meal. Serving or meal maybe?


Le plat can very well be some kind of food receptacle/serving dish. Or it could be food course. In France, all the food isn't necessarily put on the dinner plate or table all at once. Meals often consist of several courses even at home. Each plat/dish/course is served one at a time. You eat an appetizer first, then after you finish that, you get the main dish, then maybe some salad or cheese, then dessert. So, a plat is part of a meal, not the entire meal. Meal = repas, so it's a different word.

Plat isn't really a serving either. A salad made from one endive can be four servings for four people, but it's only one plat/salad course.


ohhh - what a GREAT explanation !


So le plat du jour on a menu is the dish of the day?


Why not l'assiette vs plat? All the other dishes were assiettes


As far as I can tell, here is the difference.


  • assiette = usually refers to a dinner plate, salad plate, or dessert plate (try a google image search). You eat from these types of plates.

  • plat = a larger serving platter/dish/bowl/plate (or the food course served on it). You put the plat on the table, then each diner takes a portion from the plat and puts it on to their own eating plate.

English: dish

  • any kind of plate, bowl, cup, serving dish, mug, and so on

  • a food course

Word Reference is a good resource for looking up translations (although mine are partly based on my dictionary at home and time eating with French people).

Sometimes, there are "false friends." Words that seem similar in French and English but actually mean two different things.




Final verdict-In translating from english to french Duolingo really should have accepted assiette or plat in this sentence. If the sentence had said he "served the dish", then I could understand using plat.


That's not the way it works. First, original sentences are written in French, then translated to English, as faithfully as possible. Then the main translation (the closer to the French original sentence) is offered for back-translation to French.

Since the original French sentence has "plat", the translators duly translated it to "dish"; so now, you have to back-translate "dish" to "plat".


How do you know what the original translation was? Anyways, maybe in French they never say dish to mean a plate, but in English we do commonly use it. I have never heard of anyone washing plates, always washing dishes, for example. Duo really should have accepted. I bet they will adjust it later to accept. I wouldn't translate a given french version of this sentence as 'plate', but they didn't give us that.


Thank you for your helpful explanation of "false friends". We should all be aware of how words in the English language can confuse/ have different meanings in context, especially eg in UK vs US usage.


Since in English we use dish interchangeably with plate, I don't see how I'm supposed to know that I should have used le plat instead of l'assiette. Anyway...


Il met l'assiette sur la table rejected in favour of il met le plat sur la table for he puts the dish on the table so plat is the prepared course of a meal, the plate's contents, but assiette means just the crockery item or plate itself. Very confusing since the words plate and dish are interchangeable in English, and in English 'dish' can also mean the prepared food as well as the plate it is served on. I will try to remember plat du jour is a dish/special course / on the menu of the day, which is served on china plates or assiettes !

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