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  5. "Les jeunes hommes écrivent d…

"Les jeunes hommes écrivent des lettres."

Translation:The young men are writing letters.

June 6, 2013



Why does "jeunes" appear before "hommes?" I thought adjectives followed nouns, with the exception of number and size.


BAGS - Beauty, Age, Goodness, Size. Jeunes comes under 'age' and thus comes before the men


You missed a letter. It is BANGS or BARGS. The n/r is for number or rank.

Ex. Première position.


I have never heard of this acronym before. Can someone go into further details for me? Thank you kindly!


BANGS is an acronym for Beauty, Age, Number, Good or Bad, and Size. Any adjectives that fall into that category come before the Noun, rather than after it.


See the Tips and notes to the Adjectives 1 lesson: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/Adjectives-1


Other than the link you provided, where can I find the Tips and Notes?


For some reason Duolingo provides access to the Tips and Notes only on its Web platform, and not on either the Android or iOS app. On the Web platform, even on a phone, a particular lesson would show a lightbulb icon, if it offers some Tips and Notes for the lesson's topics.


So where do the "color" falls?


Color adjectives are regular, which means that they are placed after the noun.


The tips and notes for adjectives also mention that BANGS doesnt apply to people. So shouldn't jeunes be after hommes.


They do, but some of them have a different meaning depending on their placement:

  • un jeune homme = a young man (18-30)
  • un homme jeune = a man who seems young in the context, for instance: "le nouveau président de la république française est un homme jeune" - he is 39, a young age for a president.


The tips and notes for adjectives also mention that BANGS doesnt apply to people.


Yes they do, although "grand" is tricky:

  • un grand homme = a great man
  • un homme grand = a tall man


I didnt get this. The S in BANGS is for size, which means "grand" must be placed before "homme" to indicate the idea of big size. However, in the example that you gave, "un homme grand = a tall man" , "grand" follows "homme".

Also," un jeune homme = a young man (18-30)". The Tips and notes for adjectives say that an adjective before the noun has a figurative meaning. so, here jeune is before homme,"but,a young man (18-30)" is not figurative. It is a literal meaning. You literally mean here that the man is young.


"jeune(s)" is not a matter of size (the S in BANGS) but of age (the A in BANGS).


@sitesurf, I am sorry there is some misunderstanding here. I know grand corresponds to the S in BANGS, and jeune corresponds to the A in BANGS.

My question is something else.

According to BANGS, "grand" must be placed before "homme" to indicate the idea of big size. However, in the example that you gave, "un homme grand = a tall man" , "grand" follows "homme".

Secondly, in the example that you gave ," un jeune homme = a young man (18-30)". But, The Tips and notes for adjectives say that an adjective before the noun has a figurative meaning. so, here jeune is before homme,"but,a young man (18-30)" is not figurative. It is a literal meaning. You literally mean here that the man is young.


The rules are:

1) French adjectives, including objective adjectives are placed after the noun - example: color adjectives.

2) A group of adjectives are placed before the noun, including:

  • BANGS - une belle plage (nice), une jeune personne (young), un deuxième verre (second), une grande maison (large), une gentille dame (kind), un petit chien (small/little).

  • Some adjectives that are usually placed after the noun can be placed before the noun with a change in meaning - un homme pauvre (without financial resources) vs un pauvre homme (miserable/pitiful)

There are exceptions to the above rules.

  • un grand homme (a great man) vs un homme grand (a tall man)
  • une grande femme or une femme grande (a tall woman) vs une femme brillante/remarquable (a great woman).


I think the best explanation I've seen is that if the adjective comes before the noun, it means something literal. So 'le jeune homme' means a man who is young, while 'le homme jenue' is more figurative, as in, he is young for his position. So if you were discussing French President Macron and you said 'Il est un jeune homme,' you'd be saying he's literally a young man. But if you said of him, 'Il est un homme jeune,' you'd be saying that he was young to be holding the office of president.


85% of French adjectives are placed after the noun.

Some of them can have 2 placements: before the noun with a subjective meaning and after the noun with an objective meaning.

Adjectives describing beauty, age, numbers, goodness/badness and size (BANGS) are irregular and placed before the noun, with a few exceptions you will learn here. The example of President Macron being "un homme jeune", that I explained above on this thread, is one of these exceptions.


Thank you, Sitesurf, for being so patient with us on this tricky topic.

May I check something with you? I am thinking that there is a difference between "les robes longues" (from another exercise) and "les longues robes". Perhaps when the adjective goes before the noun, it is a subjective size attribute, and when the order is reversed, the phrase refers to dresses of a certain type -- perhaps evening gowns. Is there indeed such a distinction? I hope I didn't get them backwards.


"long, longue, longs, longues" is one of these adjectives that are usually placed before the noun but that you can place after the noun with a slight change in meaning.

So, "une longue robe" is a dress you judge as long with your own criteria (a long dress), just as "un long moment", "de longs trains", "de longues jambes" (legs)...

Clothes or clothing parts use the adjective as factual, because they are terms used by the whole textile industry: des manches longues, un pantalon long, une robe longue.


I guess I was on the right track. Thanks for clearing up my doubts, Sitesurf. To understand just what the French clothing industry means by "les robes longues", I looked it up at Amazon.fr. I see that whether casual or formal, these are full-length dresses -- down to the ankle, (and "les robes de soirée" constitute a sub-category of "les robes longues").


@PhantomPhiyer, https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/Adjectives-1

Quoted from the link above, Usually, figurative meanings will precede the noun, while literal meanings will follow the noun.

un pauvre homme — a pitiful man un homme pauvre — a poor man un certain nombre — a certain (particular) number une victoire certaine — a certain (guaranteed) victory ma propre voiture — my own car ma voiture propre — my clean car un cher ami — a dear friend une montre chère — an expensive watch


Short adjectives like beau, grand, petit, etc come before nouns


Is there a way to differentiate singular and plural in this audio? I got it wrong because l wrote in the singular form. Thank you in advance.


There are 4 audible plurals in this sentence:

les jeunes -Z- hommes écrivent des lettres


Yes once I read your post I realized I missed him connecting the "s" at the end of "jeunes" and the "oh" at the beginning of "hommes". Dang.


It thought liaision would be *jeunes-z-hommes-z-écrivent.

Why is it not between hommes/écrivent?


I got it wrong. Is it Les Jeune"z" omme"z" ecrivent I did something wrong.


Z liaison after "jeunes" but none after "hommes".


May I ask how come there is no liason after hommes? I probably missed a lesson/rule somewhere. Thank you in advance

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The subject of liaisons is rather involved. There are required liaisons, forbidden liaisons, and optional liaisons. Here's a link to get you started. http://french.about.com/od/accents/fl/Learn-Proper-French-Pronunciation-Liaisons.htm


I guess you have to have French ears to hear them.


this guy does NOT say les.


Les is pronounced like "lay". Le is more of a "luh" sound


The presence of 'les' rather than 'le', the v sound in 'écrivent' and the des rather than du or de la in lettres


a few questions before this it asked for the translation of "Les grandes robes des femmes" I put " the large dresses of some women" this answer was wrong , it wanted " the large dresses of the women" with this question I put " the young men are wring the letters" it said no, it wanted " the young men are writing some letters" HOW can I win ???????????????????


Ye, I was wondering the same thing. How are we supposed to differentiate b.w when to use "some" and when to use "of the"...



Well you are 90% there. Many learners have difficulty because they don't realise that "des" can sometimes be translated as "some" and in other cases as "of the" but it can never be translated as "some of the".

The sentence "les hommes écrivent des lettres" means that the men are writing letters - but how many letters - we don't know but we do know that it is more than one - so they are writing some letters. In English "some" is optional in this type of sentence so:-

"Les hommes écrivent des lettres" can translate as either:-

"The men are writing some letters" or

"The men are writing letters"

So when is "des" translated as "of the"? This is when we are talking about possessions.

"Des" is a contraction of "de+les"

So "les robes des femmes" = "the dresses of the women" = "the women's dresses".

So once we realise it is either "some" or "of the" we can try both in the English sentence and see which fits.

"The dresses some women" doesn't work so it must be " of the"

"The men write of the letters" doesn't work so it must be "some".


Should there be a a liaison between "hommes" and "ecrivent"?


Wait, so if I understand this article correctly, "fancy" or upper-class French citizens might use this liaison, but "common folk" won't? Is this similar to the English tradition of avoiding contractions and slang when attempting to sound formal?


By the way, most liaisons are extremely useful to be understood by your counterparts, especially if they are not French:

Ex: if you year [ l e z o m ], you will immediately know that "hommes" is in plural.


Thanks for stating it was an optional one. People kept replying to this question with the article without any explanation which was a bit unhelpful without also saying it fell in the optional liaison category. :)


Will the 's' in the jeunes be pronounced since its before hommes?


It should, yes.


Well, this is what I understand. The 'h' of homme is aspirated, and it counts as a case of being a vowel. All rules of pronunciation with vowels apply, including pronouncing the last consonant.


I spelled young w/out an "e" and was still marked correct. I wrote "jeuns," not "jeunes." Are both OK or is this an error in the system?


"jeune" already has an ending in -e in masculine.


Is "jeunes" the plural of "jeune," or is it just one of those words that end with "s," even though they're singular? If "jeune" is a word, what does it mean? It doesn't seem like there would be a singular version of "young."


"jeune" is singular, masculine or feminine

"jeunes" is plural, masculine or feminine


Why does it suggest the present progressive tense - "is writing" instead of the present - "write". Is there this distiction in French?


There isn't a present progressive tense in French, so "Les jeunes hommes écrivent des lettres" can be translated as either "The young men write (some) letters" or " The young men are writing (some) letters." If you want to insist on the present progressive in French, you could say "Les jeunes hommes sont en train d'écrire des lettres"


Why does "ecrivent" sound like "ecrive" instead of "ecrivANT"?


-ent is mute at the end of any 3rd person plural conjugation.

"écrivant" is the present participle of verb "écrire" (= writing).

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And the significance of your comment is that you can actually hear the "V" sound which is an excellent indication that the verb is 3rd person plural.


How can you remem er conjugations for different words like lit, bois, etc.?

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If you are going to learn the language, you will need to understand how to conjugate verbs, both in French and in English. You will learn many verb tenses before you finish the French course. Here's a link to get you started: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/Introduction-To-French-Verbs.htm


How to recognize when is plural when it sounds like singular ?


Actually, it does not sound like singular.

  • singular: le jeune homme écrit = luh juh-nom ecree
  • plural: les jeunes hommes écrivent = leh juhnZom ecreeV


how can I distinguish better between pronounciation of "Les hommes" & "Les jeunes...." ??


When to use,"des lettres" and when to use,"les lettres"?


Put the sentence in singular and you'll know:

Indefinite articles:

  • singular: UNE lettre = A/ONE letter
  • plural: DES lettres = (more than one) letters

Definite articles:

  • singular: LA lettre = THE letter
  • plural: LES lettres = THE letters


I thought that there couldn't be a liaison before an aspirated h? Why is this an exception?


Did you not hear "les Z hommes" in the first lessons?


Although not totally accurate is boys not a translation of young men


No, not really. If you want to say boys use 'garçons'. Young men could describe men in their early twenties.


How come "males" is not correct?


Because 'men' is a more accurate word to describe 'human males'. If you just put 'males' then it could be fish, dogs, cats or whatever, as long as it was male.

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Les hommes = (the) men. The operative term is "men", not their "maleness". In the same way, "Elles" will not be translated as "the girls" or "the females" or "the women"; and "ils" will not be translated as "the guys", "the males" or "the boys".


I listened to this 10x before going with "Le jeune homme"... there is no way to hear the "sss".


You are not listening to the right markers.

Please read above.


For a start, try going to translate.google.com and type in 'le' and 'les' in the box that you select to be French. Type the audio button and listen to the difference between them. They are distinctly different sounds.


I can' t hear the plural


Focus on articles, they are really different:

les jeunes hommes vs le jeune homme

des lettres vs une lettre


What does des mean?


"des" is the plural indefinite article that English does not have.

It is used as the plural of "un" or "une": une lettre - des lettres


I got it wrong because i put "the letters" instead of just "letters"


"the letters" would be "les lettres", "des lettres" is either just "letters" or "some letters"


Why does the plural sound almost identical to the singular? How do you distinguish the two?


le [LUH] jeune homme écrit [EKREE] des lettres.

les [LEH] jeune [Z] hommes écrivent [EKREEV] des lettres

Please try them side by side on forvo.com


Sometimes I translate 'des' as 'some' and it gets corrected to 'the'...sometimes I translate it as 'the' and I get told I should have used the word 'some'. Am I missing a clue or is duolingo being inconsistent?


Well sometimes "des" means "some" as in "Je vois des femmes" = "I see (some) women". Here it's the plural form of "un/une". We don't have a plural form for "a/an" in English, so we either omit the article altogether or translate it as "some".

But it can also mean "of the" because "de+les" = des.

beaucoup des recommandations = many of the recommendations

Does that make any sense?


Is there a difference between jeune and juenes? Any tricks?


Jeune is for singular, jeunes is for plural, but soundwise they're pretty much the same.



I write; You write; He writes; She writes; we write; they write. Since 'young men' would be replaced by 'they' if moving to a pronoun if you were going to say "The young men write some letters" (instead of are writing which works too) you need write since that's the way it conjugates in English.


Third time I've gotten this sentence...How does Duo choose them?

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Usually on the basis of if you missed it before. Sometimes, it may show a question more than once for no apparent reason.


When jeunes and hommes comea together... It's pronounced sommes...its so confusing.


"jeunes Z hommes": this is a liaison between the S of jeunes and the O of hommes, since the H is mute.

"sommes" is pronounced with an S sound (not Z) and it is preceded by "nous".


How should I know that hommes means men and not people here?


people = les gens


As far as I remember, Duolingo gives also meaning people when I hover over hommes.

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Context will tell you if it takes on the more general interpretation of "people" (e.g., mankind). For learning purposes, it's best to go with the most general and common translation which naturally fits the sentence.


Why isn't it the letters instead of just letters


"letters" is the plural of "a letter" (one).

In French, the plural of "une lettre" is "des lettres", with "des" as the plural indefinite article that English does not have and which is required in French.


I dont know is "The men is writing" or "The men are writing" ????


The men are writing because 'men' is plural. He is, She is, They are


What is the difference in sound between 'lettere' and 'lettres' in french?


Do you mean 'lettre' and 'lettres'? No sound difference at all. But only 'lettres' will have 'des' before it. 'lettre' will have une, or if you're talking about the letters it will be 'les lettres' (les = lay) or la lettre


by the way,what are they meaning


These sounds are bloody impossible


it was really hard to understand that it's plural when it sounds really similar to non-plural


Identical. It's not the nouns that have different sounds. It's the articles and the conjugated verb. Les, des, and écrivent are the telltale words here.


i cant hear the s at all its really frustrating


That would be because all the 's' letters in this phrase are silent. Not pronounced as what you would recognise as an 's' sound. homme and hommes are identical, as are lettre and lettres, the trick isn't to listen to them but to the verbs and articles 'les' is the plural 'the' and sounds like 'lay'

'le' is the singular masculine 'the' and sounds more like 'luh'. And you can tell it's plural also because it's écrivent, the last three letters of which (I'm sorry) are also silent, but the singular would just be écrit so wouldn't have the 'v' sound.


There is only one S you can hear in this sentence, because of the liaison with the next word starting with a vowel sound: jeunes -Z- hommes.


I wrote they are writing literature and it didn't accept it


I can't differentiate between the singular & plural "homme" or "hommes". Just realised the difference is in the "le" or "les"


There are other hints:

les jeunes Z hommes écriVent


This robot that speaks is really hard to understand, I couldn't hear hommes at all, I heard ecris


why is there the word "des" before the word "letters"


"des lettres" is the plural of "une lettre".

"des" is the plural indefinite article that English does not have. It is required when the meaning is "more than one".


I don't quite hear the pluralization here. Any suggestions for recognizing pluralization? Thanks!


les [le] jeunes_hommes [zom] écrivent

singular: le [luh] jeune homme [nom] écrit [ekree]


Why is "les jeune hommes écrivent des lettres" not the correct answer?


Because in French adjectives agree in number and gender with the noun they are associated with. More than one man, so young (jeune) becomes plural.

Le jeune homme - the young man

Les jeunes hommes - the young men


Just on miss letter from the whole sentence I don't think it should be a big error.. when sometimes I do add one more letter and it's OK..


I have Les jeune hommes ecrivent des lettres.. just one s for the jeune it shouldn't be a big error..


When the mis-spelling does not result in an actual word it is usually a lot more forgiving. But it is important that you know that the adjective is modified with the noun, so it will mark you as incorrect. Perhaps you should slow down and check your spelling. Even with your posts in the comments.


I wrote 'the young men wrote some letters', and I was corrected with 'the young men write some letters' ._.


No problem with this: you entered a past tense and the correction has a present tense, which correctly translates the original sentence in present.


any tips on how to better HEAR when there is a plural on this. that was where I missed it


These tips have been given many times on this thread already:

You should listen to determiners, liaisons and verb endings:

Les jeunes Z hommes écriVent des lettres


The problem is that generally in French, as with most languages, you know what you're talking about, so the singular/plural decision is obvious from the prior context. Failing that, you have to listen for the adjectives before (or more commonly after) the nouns. Part of the joy of duolingo is learning to hear the difference, the way a native speaker would say it. In this case, the articles to listen for are "les" (pronounced 'lay'), and "des" (pronounced 'day'), versus the singular "le" (pronounced roughly 'ler') and "de," (pronounced again roughly, "dur."). Learning to distinguish the subtle (to English speaking ears, but obvious to French ears) difference is one of the benefits of duolingo's use of native speakers.

I can tell you that after my high-school French, my accent was 'plus terrible.' But when I was recently in France, I had two French people tell me that my accent was excellent. So listen carefully to how the French native speakers pronounce words. My favorite phrase in French was "plus lentment, s'il vous plait." If you can just get them to slow down, it becomes much clearer.

Hope this helps.


Do you always pronounce the S in jaunes, or just here because followed by hommes?


I think you mean 'jeunes.' The 's' in jeunes is pronounced because the word 'hommes' is pronounced as though it starts with a vowel sound (om). If jeunes had been before a word that started with a consonant, then the 's' in jeaunes would not be pronounced.


I would like to hear what "The young man is writing letters." sounds like


"le" = luh vs "les" = lay

"jeune homme" = juhnom vs "jeunes hommes" = juhnZom

"écrit" = ekree vs "écrivent" = ekreeV


Merci Beaucoup! I did hear the V pronounced in écrivent on review. Hearing the is very difficult for me. I am hard of hearing so I take that into consideration. I think I will start viewing french videos on youtube.


Ils sont des soldats qui écrivent à ses femmes à la maison. (Please correct if necessary. This should be "They are soldiers [who are] writing to their wives at home.")


"Ce sont des soldats qui écrivent à leur(s) femme(s) à la maison."


Difference between des and les


Sitesurf explained this up above. Did you read the comments?

This is what Sitesurf said:

Put the sentence in singular and you'll know:

Indefinite articles:

singular: UNE lettre = A/ONE letter

plural: DES lettres = (more than one) letters

Definite articles:

singular: LA lettre = THE letter

plural: LES lettres = THE letters


Accidentally turned mictophone off. By hitting the blue dot should allow me to speak amd turn microphone on again


not many people say "the young men"


It does not matter if the English translations are not things you would say on a daily basis.


When listening at full-speed I could not hear the "hommes." I figured there should have been something after jeunes in my answer but I couldn't hear it and I'm trying to get used to faster speaking


Mmmm, I thought if the definite article and the noun were plural, then you wouldn't make the adjective plural, as in:

LES jeune hommes

but it's giving us the answer:

LeS jeuneS hommes

Can someone please explain this?


Where on earth did you get that idea? Adjectives and definite articles match the noun unless they are invariant.


Well, could you please give me an example of a French invariant noun?


Progrès, accès, bus...

Since those have an ending -s in the singular their plural forms are unchanged but their adjectives and determiners agree in plural.

Un petit progrès, de grands progrès
Un accès facile, des accès faciles
Un bus vert, des bus verts


And there are invariable adjectives as well, ones which don't change whether they're put after a masculine or feminine noun, and often whether singular or plural https://www.thoughtco.com/invariable-french-adjectives-1368796


One might clarify what Ariaflame is trying to say is that in the case of invariant nouns and adjectives, it might look like the adjectives and nouns don't agree, but in fact they still do.

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