The meaning is different in English. In English, if you say you're having coffee, it means you're drinking coffee. You can say "I have a chair" but it sounds strange in English to say, "I am having a chair." The verb "to have" in English is not used in the present progressive tense to indicate possession, which is what the French verb avoir means here. For these reasons, "We have coffee" is acceptable but "We are having coffee" doesn't work. The English grammar isn't technically wrong, but the meaning is different. It seems like it would be correct, but we have to translate the meaning, not just the individual words. A friend of mine from Japan often makes this mistake when speaking English--trying to use the present progressive of "to have" to indicate possession (one would use the equivalent of the progressive form in Japanese in such a case), and it sounds strange. For example, "I am having an appointment." I used to teach ESL in Japan, by the way.
I understand perfectly what you are saying about the usage of have in English but that is not the problem here . The problem is when you say that the french verb avoir indicates possession. Can you explain how you know that without being told the answer? This is why myself and possibly others have used the ing form.
Well, I've only specifically studied French for one semester in college before this, but going by how DuoLingo has built the French curriculum up to this point, it indicates possession. I honestly don't know whether the French word avoir can have the same idiomatic meaning as "having a drink" in English, but this is still a really low level lesson, and DuoLingo hasn't made any indication that it could have another meaning. Just seems like too much of a stretch.
Here are two dictionary citations for the word. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/avoir http://www.french-linguistics.co.uk/dictionary/avoir.html
in case you're still wondering: in order to say "i'm having (drinking) a coffee", the French use the verb 'prendre' as in "je prends un café". interestingly, this idiom also exists in english - "i am taking a coffee" - though i haven't heard it too often and it might be an expression that has slipped into english from romance language speakers
I hadn't really thought of it like that. I tend to write something if it makes sense in English. Interestingly this approach often leads to me getting things wrong. I just typed the English phrase into google and it uses sommes. So think you have hit the nail on the head there. Thank you.
You're welcome! I love how positive this DuoLingo community is. :) I've studied quite a lot of Japanese and a good bit of Russian and Latin too (though pretty rusty in those now), though my French (and now thanks to DuoLingo, German too) is still in the beginning stages. What has worked for me in the past is trying to give myself up to the target language, to wrap myself in the consciousness and context of the new language. Some people might call it a "sense" for language or an affinity for foreign languages, but I think it's a combination of an awareness of grammar and being actively open to the new language (and the culture/way of thinking that goes with it), no matter your level. Actually, with this approach, I often find myself surprised to discover that some idioms ARE in fact the same in one language or another.
rachel- In French verb avoir doesn't have the meaning of drinking a coffee, it means that we have du café in stock, or on the table. I'm having a coffee, in French would be, je bois un café/je suis en train de boire/de prendre un café.
rachel- I'm native and the comment of rednazela is perfect. If you're not sure about which tense to use, stay with the duo tense. the ing form in French is an expression : être en train de. If they were drinkink coffee, it would have been : nous sommes en train de boire un café or en train de prendre (to take) un café. So, if there's no ING form in the sentence, try to use the same tense, present.
What about "We are having a coffee"? Or maybe "We are having a cup of coffee?"
As a former language teacher, I know that the present tense can be translated as I have, am having, do have!
I also hear this. It's frustrating at times, but I can't complain since the results have been completely positive for me.
I think in French for uncountable nouns "du" is used, meaning "some". For countable nouns, "des" is used, also meaning "some" but in the sense "more than one". Am I correct?
ishratdola, if you omit some before coffee, it already means some, so don't use it.
We have coffee. We have some coffee. Both mean same in french - "Nous avons du cafe".
Why is "We are having some coffee" wrong? Isn't that also technically correct? Is the etre in front of avoir throwing it off?
As discussed in the thread above, the trick is recognizing that in English "to have" has different idiomatic meanings that don't translate directly to French (just as "avoir" is used idiomatically in ways that don't translate directly to English, e.g. "j'ai chaud").
"We have coffee" uses "to have" in the sense of "to possess," whereas "we are having coffee" uses "to have" in the sense of "to eat or drink." In French, "avoir" doesn't have this latter meaning, which is why "we are having (some) coffee" is not a valid answer here.
Perhaps the French parallel would be "prendre," which means "to take," but is also used idiomatically to mean "to eat or drink." "We are having (some) coffee" would thus translate to "nous prenons du café" (which would also mean "we drink coffee" in the general sense), though it seems in French it's a bit more common to say "we are having a coffee" – "nous prenons un café."
Someone asks you what there is in the kitchen to drink. You look and say we have coffee.
Someone calls you on your cell phone and asks what you and your friend are doing and you say we are having coffee.
There is a big difference.
Nous avons du café translates to We have coffee.
While causally speaking, would most native French people say "On a du cafe" ?
Hello, is there anyone who can explain the difference between "du" et "de"?? Merci d'avance
sangokhan- du means some , also de la means some for feminine. De means OF, sometimes FROM. je viens de France/I come from France. Sors DE la maison, get out OF the house.
I always heard 'r' sound when "avons" and "du" come together. Like this: "evondRi". Why there is 'r' sound when we pronounce?
Hi Aisa. In English Café (A Café, pronounced Kaff) is the place where one goes to sit down and drink COFFEE. So that is what didn't work for you. If you manage the shop/own it, then you have missed out the article: "We have A café". Trouble is, this task does not refer to a shop because of the French use of the article Du, which although may be dropped in translation to English, actually means Some or Some Of. So what you were intending to express is "We Have Some Shop"/"We Have Some Of Shop". Does that sound like sense to you? With respect JJ.
I also wrote we are having SOME coffee, as the word DU was used, and the most recent previous lessons indicated using DU to indicate 'some'. Also if you put the cursor on each word of the sentence the word DU is defined as some in the drop down. I am not arguing that We are having some coffee 'has to be' correct. Just that the sentence structure is somewhat misleading in the context of the most recent previous lessons.
Joanne, were you marked correct? You should have been. There is no real context. It is a muggy night here in the marina and I'm going to the pontoon to practise some more Shuffle Dance so I may not get back to you until tomorrow because it is well gone 11pm here in the UK.
OK Joanne. I think in that case the "En Train De" form would be used to express that "We are having coffee." Do you you know of this structure? I think that is the problem. Strange.
Hiya Shiro. Du (preceding a masculine noun) De La (preceding a feminine noun) and Des (preceding any plural nouns) can mean Of The, Some or dropped altogether when translated to English. Think context. This sentence task may be correct translated either as We have Some coffee, or just We Have coffee. French only extremely rarely doesn't require an article. Bonne chance, JJ.
I understand completely about what the words mean, but when i accidentally put caffee instead of coffee it counted it wrong even though it was a typo. It is easy to see it was a typo because caffee is not a real word.
So on a language learning course Spullong Coffee Wring can be "Seens" buy a campootur prgimm?
Why isn't it just "Nous avons cafe" why do we have to put "du", and how does one determine when to use du.
Hiya Amos. With very few exceptions all French nouns require an article. Now, please look through this thread, it has been addressed and I have posted just the fourth below.
Hello Princess, "I"=Je. Nous=We. Why use Text-speak on a language course by the way?