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  5. "I prefer cats to dogs."

"I prefer cats to dogs."

Translation:Je préfère les chats aux chiens.

December 27, 2012



why is "je prefere des chats aux chiens" wrong? wouldnt 'les chats' mean 'the cats'?


In French, generalities are expressed with the definite article le/la/les : "je préfère les chats (in general, or all cats) aux (= contraction of "à-les") chiens".


and as you explained elsewhere, appreciation verbs introduce their objects with a definite article. Or....


But is "des chats" grammatically wrong and unused, or does it have a different meaning?


Direct objects of verbs expressing likes/dislikes take the definite article with the meaning of "all cats/dogs", "cats/dogs in general".


Dagnabbit! I missed the a-les thingie again. Thanks Sitesurf. I guess it'll take me a while to get this as it did for me to stop typing chocolate for chocolat!


dagnabbit doubles and squared.


Thanks for the reminder!


In my mind, I stop and think "is it all dogs?" Then it's "les", and if it's some specific dogs, it's " des"


Why not "Je préfère les chats aux les chiens"? The use of "aux" does not accept a following "les"?


"aux" is a contraction of "à-les". So "les" is already there.


Ah, I see! Thanks!


is "chats aux chiens" also a meal?


Thank God, no! It is the construction of the verb "préférer" with preposition "à": préférer quelque chose à autre chose.

The preposition "à" may change according to the form and gender of the thing preferred:

je préfère le pain à la pomme je préfère le pain au jambon je préfère les chats aux chiens


Your example made a lot of sense. Duolingo should add these examples.


Yes good answer, thanks.


Way to think outside the box! ;)


Shouldn't 'les chattes' also be correct here, since the gender of the cats is unspecified in the English sentence?


A bit far fetched, I would say. And it changes the meaning to not preferring the generic cat category to the generic dog category, but preferring female cats to male dogs ?...


Thanks for the fast reply. I didn't realize the male category was more generic than the female category - is that generally so in French? Maybe it's like Spanish where you use male plural if there's a mix of males and females? So 'chatte' translates roughly to 'female cat', whereas 'chat' translates to 'cat' - not 'male cat' neccessarily?


When you have a group of cats (females and males - or you just don't know), you just say "chats". Like in Spanish it is always the case that masculine genders are used for all masculine or a mix. That is a convenient "convention" and maybe not that sexist, because it also applies to inanimate objects :

  • le manteau et la robe sont chauds (masculine plural)


Just a further clarification because I have noticed some confusion among some people who are learning French after having learned Spanish. It's true that French and Spanish are similar in the situation you describe. However, the two languages differ when talking about mixed gender family members. For example, in Spanish, "mis hijos" corresponds to either "mes fils" or "mes enfants"; "mis hermanos" corresponds to either "mes frères" or "mon frère et ma soeur"; "mis padres" means "mes parents" (not necessarily a gay couple!); etc.


Okay, thanks for the clarification. It makes good sense.


How come "entre les chats et les chiens, moi, je préfère les chats" is wrong here?


The sentence to translate is: "I prefer cats to dogs". What you wrote is "Between cats and dogs, I prefer cats". So even though you are imparting the same information, one sentence is not a translation for the other.


Is it wrong to say: Je préfère les chats sur les chiens? I prefer cats over dogs?


I like this one; it means: "I prefer cats (when they are on top of) dogs."


It means something like "I prefer the cats on the dogs", as opposed to the cats that are not on dogs! Another way of saying it in English is "I prefer cats to dogs" and since one of the meanings of « à » is "to", that makes « aux chiens » a direct translation. Remember that you often can't translate literally word-for-word, you often have to change the word because it doesn't have the same meaning in that sentence.


Can't we say "Je préfère des chats à des chiens."?


All verbs of appreciation naturally have a general meaning and this is why their object is preceded by a definite article.

If you prefer cats (in general) to dogs (in general), "cats" and "dogs" are generalities (categories).


DL marked my "les chats" as incorrect and advised the answer to be "les chattes." Why? There was no indication that the cats were female. Also, "envers" was not accepted. Why not?


I would need to see your whole sentence to tell you why "les chats" was rejected.
When it comes to "envers" it is simply not the correct proposition to use with the verb "préférer quelque chose à autre chose".


Haha I keep getting this wrong because I prefer dogs to cats and my fingers will not let me type otherwise


Can anyone tell me why J'aime mieux les chats que les chiens is wrong? Thanx


It is not wrong, but then will you remember the verb "préférer à" ?


Why is "Je suis un fou" wrong?

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