In English, you do not have many alternatives, in fact.
- "Some" is used for uncountable things, ie when you take a piece of (bread) or a portion of (soup, milk). In French, construction is preposition + article and the form changes with the noun used, in gender and in number.
ex: du lait (contraction of de-le), de la soupe, de l'eau (same as 'de la' but in front of a vowel).
- "Some" is also used for countable things, ie when you take 'a certain number' of things or people. In French, you will use the indefinite article "des" (which is masculine or feminine, and plural)
ex: il mange des bananes (he eats some bananas or he eats bananas); il voit des canards (he sees some ducks); elle parle avec des amis (she talks with some friends).
Thank you for your support! Now, if you are looking at a group of ducks, either you consider that you have a certain number of ducks in front of you and you say "je vois des canards" (some) or you want to distinguish them from, let's say swans also swimming there, and you say "je vois les canards" (the). To sum it up, it is very much a matter of context and of your intention at a certain time.
Sitesurf, first of all thank you. I see you helping in most of these questions. Question here. I get the eating 'some', or seeing 'some' and using the 'du' form........but........if you are looking at a group of ducks......aren't you seeing THE ducks, the ducks right there in front of you and not just 'some' ducks? So should it not be 'Il voit les canards'?
Unless there is a mistake in the program, you should not confuse "les" and "des".
"des filles boivent" = (some) girls drink milk = plural of "une fille" "des garçons boivent" = (some) boys drink milk = plural of "un garçon"
"le chien des garçons et des filles" = the boys' and girls' dog (lit. the dog of the boys and the girls) = possessive case where "des" is the contraction of preposition "de" + definite article "les"
I just want to be clear: is there no present participle construction in French? When do you translate something into English present participle? Whenever there is "verb + du + noun", does that mean the sentence should be translated into present participle? Because this sentence might be translated to "Some girls drink (of) milk" but that could be a general statement.
So, let's be clear. There are two different concepts in your question.
we use it in specific constructions like "il part en chantant" (he leaves while singing) or "il réussit en prenant des risques" (he succeeds by taking risks).
we don't use it to build a present progressive tense : "I am singing" does NOT translate to "je suis chantant", but to "je chante" or "je suis en train de chanter".
Verb + du + noun:
The latter rule is valid, whether or not the verb has an object:
I am singing a song = je chante une chanson
I am eating jam and drinking milk = je mange ( je suis en train de manger) de la confiture et je bois (je suis en train de boire) du lait.
"des filles boivent lait" is incomplete, you need something in front of the noun.
"des filles boivent le lait" = girls drink the milk (specific milk, identified)
"des filles boivent du lait" = girls drink some milk (like " some of the milk" = an undefined quantity of milk).
"Du" is the contraction of de+le since "lait" is masculine; it it were a feminine noun like "bière", you would get "de la bière".
What I read at the top of the page is: "des filles boivent du lait" / "some girls drink milk".
I think that the best translation of "des filles boivent du lait" is "girls drink milk" and the best translation of "some girls drink milk" is "certaines filles boivent du lait".
In other words, I would be stricter than Duo in translating form one language to the other.
Girls are drinking is a continuous present and it means that the girls are currently drinking.
Girls drink is a simple present and it means that it is a general trend or habit of theirs.
In French, there is no continuous tenses.
Therefore, "the girls are drinking" = "the girls drink" = les filles boivent
Yes, there is one present tense. However, if you want to express that an action is in progress at the time you speak, you can use a phrase: "être en train de + infinitive".
"les filles sont en train de boire" precisely means that they are currently in the process of drinking.