"Oh non, les escargots ont mangé les laitues."

Translation:Oh no, the snails ate the lettuce.

June 22, 2020

40 Comments
This discussion is locked.


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

Hmm... "..les laitues." - in this context, both the generalised singular AND the plural make perfect sense as translations. If I were a gardener and my lettuce plants had be eaten by snails, then the plural should be used. Duo should accept both.


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

It is accepted as a typo. Can't report as the reporting option is "my answer should NOT be accepted "


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

Is it incorrect to use "la laitue", here instead of the plural? How does one know which one to use?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/angus390025

That's what I did at first as well. When I got it the second time I wrote "les laitues". I do not know whether the singular laitue is correct here.

In other sentences it was accepted. For example, "Léo est un escargot, il ne mange que de la laitue."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pom666
  • 1363

les escargots ont mangé la laitue (generic term or there was only one laitue - very little garden) )

les escargots ont mangé les laitues (here we speak about the lettuce(s ?) of the garden)


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

You are helping people with their French here, let me help you with your English. The word term has no e and lettuce is an uncountable noun in English. That use of the plural here is being pointed out to English speakers as different. As always, in order to use an uncountable noun as a countable noun, you need to specify a unit. With lettuce, that unit is a "head". There are 10 heads of lettuce growing in my garden.


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

Minor edit...

I don't think this is quite correct. Not all lettuce plants form a "head". There are also loose-leaf lettuce plants, and others. If you want to speak of the plural in English, "lettuce plants" serves the purpose. However, "lettuces" is a useful shorthand.

Generally, I try not to comment on the use of English because this is a French course, but if you are helping someone who is not a native English speaker, you need to take care. I'm not sure whether pom666 is a native English speaker or not, but his/her comment seems to suggest he/she is.


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

My assumption was that they were not. The misspelling of term, the phrase "very little garden", etc suggests an advanced but non-native speaker. And if you Google the term head of lettuce and view the images, you will see pictures of romaine lettuce, Boston lettuce and other types that don't form the nice head that we think of with iceberg lettuce. Just because they don't look like a head doesn't mean that they aren't called heads of lettuce.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pom666
  • 1363

thanks lynettemcw , uncountable noun and countable .... it is not obvious for me ! (I fixed "term" ) In French we say "tête de laitue" too !

edit : and thanks for "an advanced (!) but non-native speaker" : it is true !

"small" instead of "little" ?


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

I am inclined to agree with lynettemcw but with the caveat that if used that way, it begins to sound rather high brow and certainly not every day spoken or written English. Other than being very grammatical, one would say ten lettuce. For example, you would say a bag of lettuce or a crate of lettuce, unless of course you want to say how many lettuce there are.


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

Lets eat snails that ate lettuce to get to our vegetable quotum


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

In southwest france lettuce is called 'la salade'


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

Does anyone else hear "ont me mangé"?


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

I think the plural with definite article corresponds to "the heads of lettuce". (Wierdly, the French call them *les pieds de laitue!)

Here's what a francophone said on a hinative forum:

""Des laitues" : several, WHOLE lettuces "De la laitue" <=> some of it, adding lettuce (without any further instructions).

In a list : well... "- laitue" As an instruction : "ajouter de la laitue" or "ajouter un peu de laitue"."

https://hinative.com/en-US/questions/2530


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ppkzH80V

I would also say "the snails ate the lettuces".


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

The predominance of French in haute cuisine means that I recognize escargot as the snails that I may eat, but don't think of them as something that eats anything else.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/geometry667721

So true! :-) You will also recognize "le bœuf" as the beef you might eat, while bœfs can be alive and well, eating "l'herbe" (herbs, or rather simple grass here).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kevin968039

... oh they eat all right... Slugs and snails are every home farmers nightmare!


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

When is it la laitue versus les laitues?


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

Since there were two essentially similar questions about this within 24 hours but no answer given, let me give you my non answer. My Spanish is much better than my French, so I maybe depending too much on Spanish to answer this, which is one reason I hesitated. But the concept of using a plural with food items we speak about as uncountable can be quite different in other languages. I take this sentence to mean that the snails were eating the lettuce in the field, or all the lettuces. We don't generally say that. We say heads of lettuce. But in French they would consider snails eating heads of lettuce essentially saying they are eating lettuces using the plural of laitue.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Martyn413385

Well, if this was talking about a row of lettuces that had been growing in the garden until the snails destroyed them then we would say "On no, the snails ate the lettuces". This is a more likely scenario than getting tied up with heads of lettuce etc. Alternatively, when washing the salad in the sink and finding that the lettuce has been partially consumed then we would say "the snails have been eating this lettuce" or "this lettuce has been eaten by snails".


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

Not sure if anyone else has got this, but I got the "Type what you hear" variant of this question, wrote the sentence (in french) and was told I was wrong, with the answer being the English equivalent of the sentence. No suggestion given that I was meant to translate it!


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

Eat the snails! Take back what's yours! >:D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobertStei486649

Why is it not "mangés"


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

Because the past participle only agrees with a preceding direct object.


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

Because past participles only agree with gender & number when the auxiliary verb is être, not avoir.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Celine353510

That's EXACTLY what I typed! (Checked several times) So why am i marked wrong??


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

Why can't you say have eaten?


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

Suuiren

"...have eaten..." looks fine to me. In fact, it's a more likely way of expressing surprise and disappointment. More precisely, "...ate..." puts the emphasis on the snails and what they did, whereas "...have eaten..." puts the emphasis on what was eaten. It's subtle, and others might not agree.

However, we shouldn't quibble over such trivia. You know you understood the French, so I suggest you report such problems and move on.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sandib67

Okay now.. sometimes "de la laitue" is lettuce and sometimes "des laitues" is lettuce. Please be consistent and accept both as lettuce. These glitches drive me crazy!


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

Lettuce grows in heads, but it is also used as an uncountable food. Des laitues pertains to lettuce from different heads of lettuce. De la Laitue is either from one head or from the uncountable lettuce. But you will notice that this says les laitues because the snails are eating the entire heads of lettuce, or at least that's what's being said.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PatriciaWh501707

My query is to the 'les'. Should it not be 'des' as in 'some' snails? 'All' snails would not have been eating the lettuce.


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

I think I can explain this... The appearance if "the" in the English and "les" in French means it is referring to some particular snails, rather than snails in general. For example, these could be particular snails that are being prepared for a meal. (The thought of it doesn't appeal to everyone.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roger866787

'Lettuces' is not a typo.


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

Lettuce is an uncountable noun in English, although not in French. Like any uncountable noun you may see a plural if you are talking about different varieties, as in asking how many different lettuces are in your salad (i.e iceberg, bibb, butter, romaine, etc). But, despite the fact that there is an obvious unit, you do have to mention the unit to use it with a number. I have five heads of lettuce, which keeps the word lettuce as singular, and without a number it stays singular, like meat or corn.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roger866787

So to say 'they are all my lettuces' is incorrect?


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

No, but I would assume many varieties of lettuce if I ever heard such a sentence, which I haven't yet in 68 years. Would you also say Those are my spinaches or those are my brocolis ? It's all my lettuce is what I'd say. It has always surprised me that things like water or coffee that should require you to specify a container to count them do allow ones to be assumed, but somethings that do have logical units do not allow that, but that's certainly true in terms of some food items.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roger866787

Search for 'plural of spinach'.


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

I absolutely did, because I wasn't sure how to spell it, which certainly supports the concept that it's quite rare. But the entry did list spinach as an uncountable noun. And as I said, all uncountable nouns do have plurals when discussing different varieties.

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