1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Portuguese
  4. >
  5. "Dê cenoura aos pássaros."

" cenoura aos pássaros."

Translation:Give carrots to the birds.

October 4, 2013

31 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/karla-who

why is cenoura in the correct solution carrots (plural)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bob5988

it should both be accepted i think


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danmoller
Mod
  • 178

In Portuguese, we often use the singular form of the nouns with a general meaning, it's not ungrammatical. (The plural form is also not wrong)

In English, for countable nouns, the plural version would be required in a general statement (no identified quantity or a specific object). That's why the proposed translation uses "carrots". It's a general indefinite meaning.

You can't use "a carrot", because that means "one" carrot. It's not what the Portuguese sentence is saying.

For uncountable nouns, the singular version is required.

Since "carrot" is both countable and uncountable in English, it's fine to translate it both ways.


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

Sorry, but I really don't think "carrot" is an uncountable noun. Give carrots/Give a carrot are the English equivalent.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danmoller
Mod
  • 178

As people said, you can use it counting its units as whole carrots or you can see it as a mass of food, specially when grated.

Longman dictionary, for instance, shows it as countable and uncountable: http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/carrot


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

Granted, but then we'd say "some carrot". "Give carrot to the birds" is not natural English in my book.


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

If nobody would say it that way in English why would you translate it that way?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danmoller
Mod
  • 178

The proposed translation uses "carrots".


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

I believe both should be correct too. "give carrot to the birds" is also right.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Noe010101

For me it wasn't accepted:(


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

"Give carrot to the birds" is poor English. It should allow "Give a carrot to the birds" though. Unfortunately, it doesn't.


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

But it shouldn't be. It is give A carrot.


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

Because in this case you can think of it as a concept rather than as a quantity. Saying '...cenouras...' would need a number as in, '...De quatro cenouras aos passaros...'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bob5988

that is the point, if it is in portugeuse singular meaning cenoura as a general concept, undefined about quantity, then in the english translation it can also be the same thing, but it is still not accepted.


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

the problem here is that English "give carrot to the birds" even though it's a literal translation, is not good English. I got it wrong too because I always think DL wants precisely that, the literal translation. It's hard to guess.


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

As an English speaker, I see no problem with 'give carrot to the birds'. For example, if one does not refer to whole carrots, but grated carrots, then the result is a mass of carrot which could be used here in this form.


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

Anything you say often enough can become normal sounding or weird sounding. But since carrot is not a mass noun in English, like water or grain, it would usually be done differently. I put some carrots in the bird feeder, with some water and some bread (so, larger undefined quantities get plural for count nouns but just the singular for mass nouns). Or, if I'm stingy, I can just put 'a carrot', but not 'a water' and 'a bread' (the latter sounds fine to me as a native speaker of Dutch, but English would like 'loaf of bread' for countable bread items). Of course you can find exceptions to all of this if you wrangle the context enough.


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

Notacoolname that's exactly my stance as well, as a fellow native English speaker. I see your point helmad, but was already well aware of all that, as was Notacoolname, surely. Still, in this case, "carrot" is fine and equivalent to "some carrot". It's not an artificial example at all, so I wouldn't say Notacoolname is trying to "wrangle" the context. It's a common usage for any material. You could also say "This smoothie has a lot of banana" though banana isn't usually always a collective noun. Any food can be used this way. It's something you hear every day.


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

Você pode falar "cenouras" sem dizer um número antes. "Dê cenouras aos pássaros"está ótimo também. Então, não foi por isso.


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

"Give the carrot to the birds" was marked wrong, with answer different from above "Give some carrot to the birds". That's some carrot, which is awkward in American.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danmoller
Mod
  • 178

Both plural and singular are fine, since carrot can be countable and uncountable.


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

It is not just a matter of countable vs uncountable in English. In English the uncountable situation is specific, rare, and perhaps regional (as a native General American speaker I would NEVER say "Give carrot"). Can a Brazilian or Portuguese tell us if you commonly use "cenoura" as uncountable, even if you mean one or two whole carrots?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danmoller
Mod
  • 178

Yes, we (Brazilians) do use the singular form even in general sense. Not only for food, and with countable nouns too. Some might seem more natural, some might seem less natural.

Imagine you filled up a bowl with grated carrots and you are giving it to the birds, one can refer to that content as "carrot".


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

This is very helpful. I will bear it in mind, and keep my eye out for other examples as I continue to learn Portuguese!


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

One pencil = Um Lapis Two pencils = Dois Lapis. I mean, no difference between singular or plural, maybe that is the case here? I don't know.


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

That's not the reason here, see Notacoolname's & my comments above.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danmoller
Mod
  • 178

Lápis is a tricky word whose plural is Lápis. That happens to "ônibus" too, but it's not the "cenoura" case.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Richard4u

Give the carrot to the birds should be accepted i think. Where does DL get:" give some carrot to the birds" from as it's preferred answer? Any guesses


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danmoller
Mod
  • 178

There is no definite article in the Portuguese sentence to identify "the" carrot.

But since Portuguese allows us to use the singular form of the nouns in a general sense, we are not talking about one or the carrot, but just "carrots in general". In English, using the plural form or adding "some" to the answer are natural forms to express that idea, since the singular version is not very good for general sentences (except for uncountable nouns).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsaacG171

Why not "give a carrot to the birds?"


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

Because that would be uma cenoura.

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