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  5. "Les hommes sont des garçons."


"Les hommes sont des garçons."

December 25, 2012



it's just an example sentence to help you learn the language, it doesn't have to make perfect sense


Thank you! I dont understand why so many people are hung up on the meaning of the sentences. We aren't learning phrases, to be memorised and used later. We are learning how different parts fit together, so that we can build our own sentences.


There is, in fact, a reason. When you are not familar with a language it can be difficult to recognise all of the words, this task is made more difficult when you are hearing words which do not form logical sentences because your brain is telling you "it can't be that because that does not make sense" thus leading to more mistakes, which leaves people feeling cheated especially if it was their last heart.

I am not saying that the sentences all need to be perfect, but there is a valid reason for people to expect them to be as it would aid the learning process.


yay i think your right


I thought this was "the men are boys," not "men are boys" which is slightly different (e.g. "nous sommes les filles" translated to "we are THE girls" in another question). I am missing something... Could someone explain why "les" is used if "the" isn't in the translation? Why not "des hommes sont des garcons"?


"Les hommes sont..." expresses a generality: in general, men are... In English, no article; in French, definite article.

"... des garçons" defines what these men are. Put it in singular and you get "... is a boy". In English "a/an" has no plural form; in French, un/une has a plural form: des.


even when the words are plural, the "s" is silent meaning it sounds singular..right?


On principle, yes.


Then why did I just loose a heart for "Les hommes sont des garcon"? ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤


because you mixed plural and singulars: it's either des garçons or du garçon. and the men are boy makes no sense.


But articles will be read differently: consider "de" vs "des" and so for conjugated verbs: "est" vs "sont" - this will make you to know if it is plural or not.


Not that it matters if the phrase makes sense or not. But in this case it could mean "men never grow up", in the sense that they behave like boys.


That's the interpretation I gave one month ago (and still believe is valid), but I got a mark down for that! (just below)


What's wrong with "Des hommes sont des garçons"?


What if it meant that men remain boys and never get adults?


A bit confusing, but I get your point.


I am confused when we used DES, do we use it instead of an article?


"des" is an indefinite article, plural of "un" or "une".


Thanks, it helps but what is the difference between "de" and "un/une"?


de is of, un/e is a des is of the [women] les is the [women] so le homme de la femme is the man of the woman


Is it incorrect to say "Les hommes sont garçons." for "The men are boys."? If so, why?


Because while English can use "boys" without an article to mean "some boys", French expects an article which in this sentence is "des", meaning "some",ie an indefinite article for a noun that is not specified.


I think you should use examples that make sense. It is less confusing that way for the learner.


This is a grammar exercise. Added difficulty enforces thinking.


I translated it as "The men are waiters." - Waiters is shown as translation for garçons and I could imagine using this sentence. But it's wrong?


Here is what is wrong with your proposal:

  • "THE men" does not fit, because in English, generalities are expressed without an article and in French with definite article "les": "men (in general) are ..." = "les hommes (en général) sont..."

  • "des garçons", in this sentence cannot translate waiters, because if we wanted to mean which their job is, we would say "garçons de café" (=waiters). If Duolingo shows that "waiter" can translate in "garçon", the reason is that if you are in a café and you want to call the waiter, you can say "Garçon !". In that case, it is an address to someone, like a title.

  • On top of it, the expression"garçon de café" has been replaced for years by "serveur" (feminine: "serveuse") to define the job. Nowadays, if you are in a café or a restaurant, you will not use "garçon !" to call the waiter (who happens to be a woman in many cases), you will call: "Monsieur !", "Mademoiselle !", "Madame !", or more simply: "S'il vous plaît !".

  • if the English were given first, with this sentence: "The men are waiters", you would translate by "Les hommes sont serveurs". The singular form of the latter sentence is "The man is a waiter" = "l'homme est serveur". Note that to express a profession, the English use the indefinite article "a/an " (which has no plural form), while the French don't use articles. "He is a doctor" = "Il est médecin" => "They are doctors" = "ils sont médecins".

  • To sum it up: "Les hommes sont des garçons" expresses a generality (re. LES), and defines those men as being boys (which is not a profession), with "des garçons/boys" is the plural of "un garçon/a boy".

--> "Men are (former) boys" = "Les hommes sont (d'anciens) garçons"

--> "Men are human beings" = "Les hommes sont des êtres humains".


Thank you so much for taking the time to write this detailed answer! Iget it now.

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