"I prefer cats to dogs."

Translation:Je préfère les chats aux chiens.

December 27, 2012

36 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/TorstenK

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

March 27, 2013

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

March 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Fredua

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

December 13, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/wladamac
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But is "des chats" grammatically wrong and unused, or does it have a different meaning?

October 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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Direct objects of verbs expressing likes/dislikes take the definite article with the meaning of "all cats/dogs", "cats/dogs in general".

October 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Cyndiluwho

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!

February 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Marie282520

dagnabbit doubles and squared.

April 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/renewtheruins

Thanks for the reminder!

February 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/iagox86

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"

March 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/thiagoleal
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Why not "Je préfère les chats aux les chiens"? The use of "aux" does not accept a following "les"?

February 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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"aux" is a contraction of "à-les". So "les" is already there.

February 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/thiagoleal
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Ah, I see! Thanks!

February 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/BlackHeart01
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is "chats aux chiens" also a meal?

December 27, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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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

December 27, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/MsQuebec

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

June 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/jennifer.m93

Yes good answer, thanks.

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/feclips
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Way to think outside the box! ;)

December 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/frederik77

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

April 14, 2013

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

April 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/frederik77

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?

April 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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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)
April 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/rollingstock
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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.

November 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/frederik77

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

April 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/K333222

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

September 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/CJ.Dennis
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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.

January 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/RoohanaKha

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

November 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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I like this one; it means: "I prefer cats (when they are on top of) dogs."

November 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/CJ.Dennis
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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.

November 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/hb05203
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Can't we say "Je préfère des chats à des chiens."?

June 9, 2017

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

June 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/gaiagoddess

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?

October 31, 2017

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

November 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Amanda39912

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

June 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/albafresca

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

September 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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It is not wrong, but then will you remember the verb "préférer à" ?

September 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JeroenSchberg

Why is "Je suis un fou" wrong?

June 3, 2018
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