1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "J'ai de l'eau."

"J'ai de l'eau."

Translation:I have water.

December 22, 2012

77 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/professorleah

How is l'eau "water" instead of "the water"? I thought the l' was a contraction of "le"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/georgde

du: masculine singular

de la: feminine singular

de l': m or f in front of a vowel or h muet

des: m or f plural

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/articles_4.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HeleneH

It is not "J'ai l'eau" which would be "I have the water", but "J'ai DE l'eau" which means "I have water"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bostonvaulter

And if water was feminine it would be "J'ai de la eau", right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IggyFunk

Water is feminine, hence the use of "de l'eau" (de la eau is contracted because 'eau' starts with a vowel). If the noun was masculine "du" would be used instead of "de la". Both connote "some" but the former is masculine and the latter is feminine.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MmeMAS

See georgde's explanation below: it is de l' when the noun begins with a vowel. The noun may be masculine or feminine.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IggyFunk

Sorry if that was a bit confusing. My point wasn't about the contraction signifying gender but rather the use of "de la" and "du" and how by that, you can tell that 'eau' is a feminine noun


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/istepmetalmouth

Thanks! I have always been confused about water's gender. That was really helpful


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MmeMAS

"Some" is implied in "I have water." De plus l', la, les is called a partitive construction.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/samikshas

Its not just l'eau its ’de l'eau'. Its called partitive article generally used for food. Water is feminine so it becomes 'de la' here 'de l'' ( starts with a vowel). If it was masculine then it would have become 'du'. Try the app 'collins'( easy french learning app for understanding grammar).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/frenchieee

"je vs j'ai" How can I hear the difference (any tips)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EstanislaoStan

"J'ai" sounds more like the English letter "J" to me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

yes but not with the dental sound in the "j". "j" sounds as the last "g" in the English "garage"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/amc1977

I'm with you...I heard je and not j'ai


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gknapp1

"Je" rhymes with "que" (sorry, I really can't think of an english word that rhymes with it) while "j'ai" rhymes with "Okay". Still, it takes a bit of practice to hear the difference.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"Je" also rhymes with "the" and "j'ai" with "eh" (no diphtong)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wunel

To be clear, "eh" here is like the stereotypical Canadian sound, not the usual expression of disinterest.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/evelim1972

I don't know the diffrence of "de l'eau" and "d'eau"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

boit de l'eau = drinks of the water (water in general, uncountable water). In English... drinks water

boit l'eau = drinks the water (that water right there) The same in English and French

boit d'eau = Homer Simpson drinks (boit) what he thought was beer and then says d'eau when he discovers it's water. That's because boit d'eau (drinks of water) doesn't exist in French or English.

In this example it's J'ai de l'eau which is about having water. All the grammar issues are the same although I suppose the translation is a little less comfortable.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Actually, since I first posted this I have come across an example of the exceptional use of d'eau that is appropriate.

There is a use of d'eau (of water) where the water is an object of possession eg: glass of water, jug of water etc.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/professorleah

many points for Simpsons as learning tool


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/franciliosantana

why not is possible the contract form, I've water ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EstanislaoStan

In the English I'm most familiar with (United States) we usually don't use the contraction of "I have" with physical objects. You can say "I've got stuff to do", "I've seen them before", or "I've got to get there before noon", but not "I've fifteen dollars" or "I've a dog". I have seen "I've" used for possession but I'd say it isn't common usage for (at least) my dialect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wunel

For what it's worth, in certain parts of England they use the contraction for almost everything. I dare say it's not common usage anywhere outside of those areas.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/franciliosantana

oui! merci! Cette est une nouvelle information pour moi.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnoopVargh

Actually, I've seen it being used in this way fairly often. Though it would normally be used as "I've got water", "I've got fifteen dollars", or "I've got a dog"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MmeMAS

"I've" is not possible because Duolingo does not recognize every possible construction. It is best to spell out the entire expression.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

same difference as between "le" and "les" and in English "but" and "bet".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Meg_in_Canada

More like "but" and "bay".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wunel

It seems to be a matter of differing opinions regarding whether les is pronounced lez or lays. I do not know if it is regional differences or something else that is the cause.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jiminyyy

je is like zcheh, and j'ai like zchay


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/amc1977

I am wondering how is it j'ai de l'eau? Ive seen some of the lesson that has j'ai de a l(then word).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Meg_in_Canada

"J'ai de l'eau" = "I have some water." "J'ai de la limonade" = I have some lemonade. "J'ai des questions" = I have some questions. (All feminine.)

"J'ai du vin" = I have some wine. ("de le" can't be said, so it changes to "du") "J'ai du café = I have coffee OR I have some coffee. "J'ai du poisson." = I have fish OR I have some fish. "J'ai des problèmes = I have some problems. (Masculine.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cmlopes

Hi, my answer was "J'ai des l'eau" which is wrong. The right answer is "J'ai de l'eau". Why?

Thanks in advance.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

Des = de les/ of the (pl). l'eau = the water, so......J'ai des l'eau = I have of the the water.

J'ai de l'eau = I have of the water. = I have no particular water, not all of it but some undefined amount of water.

J'ai l'eau = I have the water = I have the water, that water right there.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"des" in this case would be the contraction of preposition "de" + plural definite article "les", which has no reason for being, "eau" being singular and already having its own definite article "l' " (=elision of LA in front of a word starting with a vowel).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CaloCR

if l'eau is 'the water', then why 'de l'eau' is 'some water'? why not 'de eau'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Preposition "de" makes the difference:

  • l'eau = the water
  • de l'eau = [some of the] water, an un defined quantity of water: this is called "partitive" (a part of).

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CaloCR

So 'eau' doesn´t exist? Or is it just that it is written like that?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

Don't forget that most nouns in French require a modifier whether an adjective, article etc. In this case la is contracted into eau to create l'eau.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sant

I read somewhere that in this case we use "de" instead of "du" because it's a possesive statement.. is this correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

you should take notes of what you read "somewhere".

"du" is the contraction of de+le, which means that in "du" you have "de" - it is used with masculine names, except those starting with a vowel or a non-aspired H. In that case, it becomes "de l' "

"de la" changes to "de l' " in front of a feminine name strating with a vowel of a non-aspired H

"eau" is a feminine name, so the partitive form is "de l'eau"

finally, the article disappears in negative sentences: je n'ai pas d'eau


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zsuzsi777

thanks, I had the same question!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnoopVargh

I didn't know the article disappears in negative sentences. Thanks! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JeenuV

I translated it as "I've some water". 'de' is something I picked up as 'some' or 'small amount' from other sentences. Isn't that applicable everywhere?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MmeMAS

It is not necessarily a "small" amount, as it is unknown or uncountable.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/soyleyda

i dont understand when use "de" :$


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sariko

Use "de" when you're trying to negate the use of the article "the" before a noun. So, in the sentence "J'ai de l'eau", water is feminine which means you use"DE" to make the sentence "I have water" (not, "I have THE water") you would add the "de." If the word was masculine you would use "du" if plural "des."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MmeMAS

Masculine and feminine have nothing to do with it. The expression is "de l'eau" because "eau" begins with a noun. For example, the word for garlic - ail is masculine. Same construction: J'ai de l'ail.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wunel

Eau begins with a vowel, rather.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/soyleyda

oohh!! merci beaucoup!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnoopVargh

Does this sentence only indicate possession, as in "I am in possession of water", or does it also have the extra meaning associated with English of "I am drinking water" ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wunel

Saying "I have water" in English never means you are drinking water, it always means you are in possession of water. It might be implied that if you have water you would be drinking it, but the sentence does not mean that.

At least, I cannot think of any sentence where "I have water" means you drink it except for speaking of past events perhaps.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Meg_in_Canada

Like Wunel, I haven't heard "I have water" to mean "I am drinking water." I have heard, "I'll have some (or a) water," for instance when ordering a drink in a restaurant. But that's a different verb tense. In French, it wouldn't be, "I'll have," but more like "I will take" (they use "take" for ordering or to mean eating/drinking - "Nous prenons des bières," "We are having some beer"), so "Je prenderais." Or "I would/will like," "J'aimerais."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

AnoopVargh

Perhaps you are thinking of English constructions of having water that are used to imply the drinking of water.

EG: .....Do you have anything to drink? ......I have some water.

....I have to have some water right now!!!

Both of these examples speak only of possession of water. Drinking of water is only assumed to be the result of having water.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MmeMAS

Don't get hung up in the difference between having vs drinking. If your host or hostess asks if you have water - Avez-vous de l'eau? you would answer I have water - "J'ai de l'eau." It is that simple.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hugo_Quiroz

how come sometimes "de" stands on its own?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Meg_in_Canada

De can be several things. It can indicate possession (le livre de Jacques = Jack's book), it can link two verbs in a sentence (j'essaie de comprendre = I'm trying to understand). It can fill several other roles, but, in this case, it helps make up the partitive article. It actually does not stand alone. "De l'eau" is "some water" in which the noun is uncountable, or a mass noun. (Some water, but not three waters, unlike some books, which can also be three books.) De l'eau is some water, and both the "de" and the "l'" are important. "L'eau" is "the water," while "d'eau" is "of water." The partitive articles are:

de l' (for mass nouns when noun is either masculine or feminine and starts with a vowel), de la (for mass nouns when noun is feminine and starts with a consonant), du (which is the contraction of "de le," and is used when the mass noun is masculine and starts with a consonant), and des (for countable nouns, both masculine and feminine).

Examples: de l'argent, de la charité, du café, des animaux


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hugo_Quiroz

So "de" in French is used really similar to the way it's used in Spanish? As far as I can understand, to me "de" means exactly the same in Spanish and it is essentially used the same way. However, I'm starting to feel like "du" is use the same way "del" works in Spanish. Would you be able to provide any sort of correction or assertion, some sort of opinion? If not, its perfectly fine! I am aware you've just started heading into Spanish, and your information was very well explained. It definitely helped in my understanding of the usage of "de". Anywho, thanks for the help again!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BastouXII

Mostly, yes, it's the same. But the Spanish de isn't used in all the same contexts as the French de (so same goes for Spanish del vs. French du) and vice versa. Of course you will find a lot of similarities between French and Spanish (and Italian and Portuguese and Romanian and Catalan and Corsican if you also end up studying those) because they are all romance languages (derived from Latin).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hugo_Quiroz

I figured they shared similarities due to the fact that they all derived from latin, so I was fairly confident I would pick up most of those languages with better ease! I do plan on learning Portuguese and Italian as well, in the near future! I have noticed that the French do use du and de la with more frequency and variety of purpose, so that's still sorta tricky, but once I realized they shared a connection, it sort of made the whole thing easier to understand! Thanks for the helpful explanation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Meg_in_Canada

Just started some Spanish lessons, so I can't help with that. I'm just trying to learn a few useful phrases, mostly to be polite, for an upcoming trip to Spain. Is it "de + el = del" in Spanish? If so, there are at least some similarities, as "de le" doesn't exist in French; it must be the contraction, which is "du."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hugo_Quiroz

Indeed, "del" is a contraction of "de el" due to the fact that it would sound funny and redundant. Looking at it in retrospective, I get the feeling its safe to say they serve the same purpose. So jealous of your trip to Spain! Never visited the Motherland myself (Motherland because I'm mestizo). Hope you have an incredible time in Spain! I'm sure once you are there and you have Spaniard speaking Castelian all around you, you'll find that most words share a common ground with the French dialect! Godspeed!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thecatpetter

Could de la also mean "some of the"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BastouXII

Not really. De la only means "some".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HerrNicholas

Does "I have water" translate to "I have to use the bathroom"? :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

No, as far as I know.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

There is an expression in English about passing water which is an anglo-saxon way of referring to urinating. A doctor might ask have you had any difficulty passing water where the focus is more on the mechanics of urinating rather than the need to engage in the process. He then might focus on the process by asking how often a patient felt the need to urinate.

In the Victorian era mentioning body functions involved euphemisms but having water and needing to urinate would be poor substitutes for each other as they would generate too much confusion. It would draw even more attention as it would require frequent discussion to clear up the matter.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EUREKA__

I can't tell the difference between "l'eau" and "loup"...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/samikshas

Shouldn't its translation be ' I have SOME water'? De l' is partitif article which means some.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BastouXII

Yes, but the English language allows I have water, which is more often seen : why add a word that doesn't change its meaning?

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.