Il a ete means he has been. The words are reversed for the question . The t is just added to make it easier to pronounce.
French questions insert a -t- between a verb that ends with a vowel and the personal pronoun. For example, Comment va-t-il? means How is he doing?
"Has he?" But they add a t between them because it is too difficult to pronounce "a il" without sounding like something else.
That being the case, could another translation for the sentence be, "Has he been adopted by them?'
Having reached this stage I am now not getting any of the supporting text to help me with the lessons. I am suddenly a bit lost as the lessons make no sense. Am I the only one that feels this way?
By "supporting text", do you mean context? If so, that is often a problem whenever there are ambiguities. The other is that the passive voice is not used as much as other forms and so may involve having to refresh the use of the form in English while learning it in French. If you have a question, feel free to ask. There are lots of helpful people here.
I don't recall seeing "eux" before. Is this word used only as the object of a preposition?
How do you say "he has been adopted by them."? Correct me if I'm wrong but this is passé composé right? So it shld be Il a adopté par eux?
"il a adopté" is the active voice and means "he adopted" and it needs a direct object in both languages.
the passive voice in both languages is constructed by using the verb 'to be / être'
- il est adopté > he is adopted --- present tense
- il a eté adopté > he was adopted --- past tense
notice when speaking in past tense, 'is' changes to 'was' in english; same thing happens in french, 'est' changes to 'a eté'.
For comparison, how would the sentence read if he was adopted by "him" rather than them?
A quick google search shows "il était adopté par eux" being used in formal French documents, so I think it should be allowed. Of course, in the documents I looked at the "it" was a motion before a legislative body. But since Duo gives us no context, the question could well be whether parliament adopted something or not?
I am sorry, Duolingo. I am not Victor Borge. I don't know how to pronounce a question mark. Please give me a break, here!
effyleven probably encountered the same thing as me: marked "almost correct" on the pronunciation, with the only thing in red being the question mark at the end. Made me smile.
I am now confused as to the difference between "été" and "était" ! I thought I understood the difference but..........gah! Any tips or pointers re this will be gratefully received :]
That's the wrong verb tense. This is present perfect (or can be plain past), whereas yours is past perfect/pluperfect.