"A loaf of bread"

Translation:Un pain

December 28, 2012

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How do you know which words are masculine or feminine?

  • 2192

There is no easy way to determine the gender of every noun, and you have to remember the gender with each word. But a number of patterns in suffixes and word endings are helpful: some tend to indicate masculine or feminine nouns (be careful with the exceptions).

Please have a look at this link:



When do you use "du pain" vs. "un pain"?


It is a matter of context. If you buy "un pain" you will get a large baguette weighing @450g (at least in Paris, that may vary from region to region). Whereas "du pain" (some bread) is "a piece of bread", whichever the original form of the bread concerned.


I put Un pain and got it right.... I am not complaining


You put "un pain" and you were right! the alternative could be "une miche de pain" but "un pain" is a good translation for "a loaf of bread".


Why "de pain" instead of "du pain" (which means de le pain, yes?).


It is a "noun of noun" case, where the second noun gives information (content, material, substance) about the first noun. In this case, the article is dropped:

  • une feuille de papier = a sheet of paper (material)
  • une miche de pain = a loaf of bread (substance)
  • une bouteille de lait = a bottle of milk (content)

Note that "une miche du pain" = "a loaf of the bread", ie a specific bread, mentioned before.


Un pain does not really say " a loaf" of bread.


You are right. And all the more if you consider that, at least in the Paris region, "un pain" is exactly like a baguette, but heavier (500g vs 250g). If you want to express the shape of "a loaf of bread" you will have to say "une miche de pain". Now, just for fun, in popular language "un pain" is a punch.

  • 2192

"a loaf of bread" means either "un pain" or "une miche (de pain)".

See: http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/english-french/loaf%20of%20bread


why is not possible to say "beaucoup de pain"?

  • 2192

Because "beaucoup de pain" translates to "a lot of bread" (not "a loaf of bread").


why un miche de pain is wrong? how should I now use une not un?!

  • 2192

In French, every noun has a gender, and you have to remember the gender of each noun. In general, nouns ending in "e" are feminine (but there are exceptions to this rule).

See: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/1101225


OK, so why there is '' le pain'' and ''une miche de pain'' if pain is masculine?! you mean in second one, une refers to miche not to pain?

Another thing about ending N, why boisson (drink) is feminie?! I'm totally confused especially about using de and du ...


Every noun has its own gender: une miche, un pain, une boisson, etc. whichever the sentence they are in, whether or not the matching article is present.

Sometimes, articles are dropped and the French will not be "une miche du pain" (a loaf of the bread) but "une miche de pain" (a loaf of bread).

"une miche de pain" exactly translates to "a loaf of bread", so "de" = "of", preposition.

This case is the same for all noun adjuncts ("nouns of nouns") where the 2nd noun gives information on the content or material of the 1st noun:

  • une tasse de thé = a cup of tea (content)
  • une feuille de papier = a sheet of paper (material)
  • une miche de pain = a loaf of bread (material/substance)


Thank you so much.


le pain to un pain but une miche de pain not un miche de pain ? it's confusing me.

  • 2192

"un" is masculine, and refers to "pain" (masculine).

"une" is feminine, and refers to "miche" (feminine), which is made of bread (complement, masculine).

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