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  5. "Ils laissent leur repas."

"Ils laissent leur repas."

Translation:They leave their meal.

December 19, 2012



Why is "they leave their meals" wrong?


Because "leur" refers to a singular object. Their meals should have been "leurs repas", I believe.


I don't agree. We were taught by DL that there is a difference in counting in English and French. If there is one thing per person, the Frenchpeople use singular and the Englishpeople use plural:

  • They lost their hats = Ils ont perdu leur chapeau.

Therefore They leave their meals should be accepted.


The sentence could possibly suggest that all of them are sharing one meal together ...


Yes and aucunLien's comment explains it very clearly.


In English, you can use 'meals' to refer to multiple meals from each person, or a singular meal for each person. It is not identical to french in way.


This should be accepted.


Can you hear the difference between ils laissent and il laisse here?


No, I don't believe so. I believed it was "Il laisse leur repas," too: He is leaving their meal. You know, he was upset and left their meal.

Out of context, I didn't even think of, "They are leaving their meals." No, I knew it was not "Il laise son repas." Not a very good sentence out of context.


It sounds: Ils laissent leur repas - Il laisse son repas.


What if I mean to say "he leaves their meal" though?


"il laisse leur repas" is not accepted ... i have reported it


Are we sure that in french a 'meal' can be jointly owned, as in english (their lunch), or does it have to refer to each person's meal (eg. plate of food)


If everyone is eating together, it's possibly referring to a family meal or a meal with friends or some other group of people. In which case, it would make sense. I don't think it means that everyone is eating from the same plate of food. lol


It is accepted now


I see the comment below but it doesn't answer the question - Is there any way to HEAR the difference between "Ils laissent leur repas" and "Il laisse leur repas"? - even though the latter may not make perfect sense, it IS possible.


I think the same!!


They have the same sound as each other in French, since the ending is silent.


Hi Neil -- This has more to do with English than French. It could be "They leave their meals" if we mean to say that each person leaves multiple meals (for example if both lunch and dinner were prepared for everyone). If the intended meaning is that each person leaves one meal, which is more likely, "They leave their meal" is the best answer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they (See section on Variables)

http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/ask-teacher/12881-singular-plural-they-lost-their-job-s.html (See answer #4)


But can ot not also be " they leave their (respective) meals"? "They leave their meal" sounds to me as though multiple people are leaving the same meal, perhaps together. But if the people in question were at different meals and they left their respective meals, would it not be "ils laissent leurs repas"?


Sure, "they leave each of their meals" could make sense as another interpretation for the English phrase "they leave their meals." But in terms of translating "Ils laissent leur repas" from French, it should be meal (singular). See giuliap's explanation for why a singular 'meal' is appropriate with leur (rather than leurs).


I can see it both ways (and you confused me for a moment with my name :D ). But I prefer the plural. If "they" are at a restaurant for supper (as an example), and each one leaves his meal, they have then left their meals. There's also the dreaded context problem here; it would help to know more of the situation.

But at least we know what Duo wants for this example. And I for one will be ready to accept the plural when Duo insists on THAT in the next lesson. :(


Is there a way to distinguish between when laisser means "leave" and "let"?


It will only mean "let" (in the sense of "allow") when it is followed by an infinitive.


But not in all cases!

laisser tomber means to drop / to let down / abandon / leave in the lurch


Elle l'a laissé tomber sur son pied - she dropped it on her foot

Ne me laisse pas tomber - don't let me down


laissez-moi rire - don't make me laugh (Idiom)

laisse faire - never mind

The general structure when laisser means let is:

laisser quelqu'un faire quelque chose - to let somebody do something


je ne peut pas vous laisser entrer - I cannot let you enter

Ils ne les laissent pas jouer - they did not let them play

Elle le laisse prendre une photo d'elle - she let him take a photo of her


It operates idiomatically in the sense of "let/allow" something to fall, i.e., drop. So that does not violate the sense of it. See http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/laisser.htm


What I was trying to point out is there are some idiomatic phrases with the structure laisser followed by an infinitive where laisser does not mean let


rien ne laisse penser que ... there is no reason to think that

ceci laisse supposer que - this seems to indicate that


There are obviously fine points of discussion which take us away from the original "Ils laissent leur repas" and lashan.r's question about the difference between "leave" and "let".


What I heard was "Il laisse le repas" (he leaves the meal), not assigning ownership at all. What is the difference in pronunciation?


"Le" vs. "leur". They are different, if only slightly so.


when hearing , how to discriminate between " il laisse" and "ils laissent" . When I hear them , I feel them as the same


You're not wrong; the prononciation is the same. :)


I also heard "il laisse le repas". It may be that in face to conversation the difference can be more easily distinguished but this is not the case with the computer generated voice. The other possibility is that my ear is not yet sufficiently tuned in.


It's amazing how many French words are similar to English. I know Spanish and Italian and French are alike because they're romantic languages.


Uh, not to be pedantic, but they're not "romantic" languages, they're "romance" languages, meaning they are descended from Latin. The other reason French seems so similar to English is because English has so many words derived from French (about 10,000 I read somewhere). Many (but not nearly all) of these words were adopted during the 100-150 years after the Battle of Hastings when French was the official language of the English court.


Yes, French, had an extreme influence on English, bringing English from the Old English period into the Middle English period. The French's assumption of England turned English on its head. It added to our languages rich diversity. There are many words that were borrowed two or even three times from French. Take royal and regal, which were both borrowed from French, one from Parisian and one from Norman French. Without the French influence, English would be far from the language of today, and would most likely resemble something much more akin to German, or even Norwegian.


why can't we use "food" for "repas"?


"Nourriture" means "food"; "repas" means "meal" (think "repast").


gocha.tanx Darrel


The simplest answer is that they don't mean the same thing.


Why is "they leave their meal" correct and "they leave their meals wrong"? Isn't "leur " a possessive plural third person pronoun?


It's third person plural referring back to they, the "possessors" of the meal, rather than to the number of meals.


this translation (DL's) is wrong! 'Il' does not mean 'they'.


No, but "ils" does.


How are we to know that its plural? When listening is sounds exactly like: Il laisse le repas.


I heard Il laisse leur repas which I translated as "He leaves their meal". This is no more unlikely than the sentence with Ils laissent but for some reason I can't report it - the option is not there.


I don't understand. If "Ils laissent leur repas" cannot mean "they leave their meals" could someone please assist by translating "they leave their meals" into french so that I can see the difference? Cheers.

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