"Tu ne payais jamais ni les restos, ni les cafés !"
Translation:You never used to pay for either restaurants or coffee!
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Does "cafés" in this expression represents coffee or cafes? I wrote "you never did pay for the restaurants or the cafes". To me, the expression seems more logical if it is addressing similar objects in this particular context. Restaurant and cafes are business establishment versus dinners or coffee which can be either food items or events. Maybe someone can offer a better rationale.
To me, Duo makes sense here. In modern English 'to go for a coffee' often means to go to a venue like Starbucks which in terms of price and formality is a rung or two below a restaurant but where, in addition to coffee, you can get simple hot and cold snacks. So linking it with restaurants in a sentence is not so odd.
In the UK coffee shops have largely replaced the traditional 'café'. Where 'cafés' still exist they tend to be located at the roadside and aimed lorry drivers (ie truck stops). In UK slang they're called 'a greasy spoon'.
From what I know of modern France I can't imagine the English use of 'café' would back-translate to the same. Duo's sentence must surely refer to all the occasions they 'had a coffee' in any of the different types of establishment you can stop at for a coffee, glass of wine, a croque-monsieur etc where, unlike a restaurant, the table doesn't have a tablecloth!
'You never paid, either in restaurants or in cafes.' Not accepted by Duo in July2020. Reported. It is not correct that 'les cafés' only translates to 'coffees'. It can be translated to the places where coffees and snacks are sold: cafes! And we pay IN those and IN restaurants, not FOR them. We pay FOR the bill/check IN restaurants and cafes.
I disagree, as explained in a comment further up. 'Payer' also means 'pay for' and you 'pay for restaurants' when you are referring to them as a class or category of expenditure. Eg: 'Which budget do we use to pay for restaurants?' That's the clear sense in which the French sentence is to be understood.
But I agree that 'cafés' means the places where coffee (and snacks) can be consumed. I just don't think they're translated back as 'cafés' in modern France.
It absolutely does not make sense to have "les restos" and "les cafés" in the same sentence and not have them both refer to places that you can purchase food. After about ten minutes of trying out different things I honestly don't believe there is a single alternate translation accepted for this. Even "You never used to pay either for restaurants or for coffee," which is how I gave up and phrased it to try and jump through this hoop, is not accepted.
You are right. And I'm pretty certain Duo is referring to places where you can get food and drink. I read 'les cafés' here as Duo teaching us the use of 'synecdoche' in French, ie the linguistic device where a part of coffee shops is used to represent the whole establishment. In point of fact, since it is usual in France to be able to get coffee and alcohol interchangeably in many establishments like brasseries, bistrots etc, 'les cafés' stands here, I suspect, not just for coffee shops like Starbucks but for all the places which are cheaper and less formal than 'les restos'.
I find Duo's English language very awkward - unless I am missing something. Please refer to this link; https://www.learnersdictionary.com/qa/The-Difference-Between-Neither-and-Either
I don't understand why "Tu ne payais jamais ni restos ni cafés." isn't accepted. I thought the definite article is omitted in ne...ni...ni... constructions unless talking about specific restaurants and coffee. Where am I going wrong?
I profoundly object! Duo's translation makes no sense at all. Who the heck goes around paying or not paying for restaurants?? Not paying for coffee DOES make sense, whereas paying coffee makes none. Since payer can mean to pay OR to pay for, the sensible, rational translation would be "...... either restaurants or for coffee." One does not pay coffee any more than one pays for restaurants. Duo's translation is silly.
If Duo wants coffee, fine, but cafe should be accepted. Why "les" instead of no article at all? Because in the affirmative the definite article would be used. "Tu payais les restos et les cafés." You used to pay for restaurants and coffee. Now add "ni." "Tu ne payais ni les restos ni les cafés." You paid for neither restaurants nor coffee. The translation problem comes with the addition of "ne...jamais." Now the French has a double negative, but the translation can't, so neither/nor gets axed. It makes sense to start out with "You never used to pay for..." At that point I would simply add "restaurants or coffee." But Duo insists on either or neither with "ni," even if it inevitably makes the translation awkward and the meaning ambiguous. So I accept Duo's translation. Placing "either" at the end of the sentence changes the meaning. Think about it.
How is one to get through this? I'd adapted to the American way of having coffees, and now I'm supposed to put coffee in the singular.....and we aren't allowed to treat them as cafés (where we go to drink coffee). This is making things unnecessarily annoying, and really isn't teaching me any French.
There are many different ways we do it, not always dependant on which country you're in. In England, I would go to friends for coffee. Now in Ireland (much influenced by what happens in America) I am dismayed to see a great trade in the village mini-supermarket of take-away coffees. (Bad for the environment)
"You never pay" is present tense. So I think the French translation of that would be "Tu ne payes jamais." "Tu ne payais jamais" is the past imperfect, which Duo often translates as "You never used to pay." This is a great site for verb conjugations: https://www.gymglish.com/fr/conjugaison/vatefaireconjuguer/search?verb=payer