"Je bois de l'eau."

Translation:I am drinking some water.

December 30, 2012

77 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/lokaltmonster

Ohhh, I get it.... de la/le/l' is same as un/une in this context, but for uncountables and when you mean that they're eating an unquantified amount of something (i.e. they didn't eat THE onion or ONE onion, but they ate SOME onion(s) or just they ate onion).

Correct me if I'm wrong. :-)

July 30, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Chumptroop

So does this mean if you were refering to a quantified amount of water like a water bottle where in english you might say "a water" you could potentially say "un eau?"

October 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/oeliteo

yes

January 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Madelaine806146

i like eating onions

April 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/rotem.mairon

The different ways to phrase a sentence with "eau" have got me quite confused. So, I'm going to try and summarize what I understand (I promise to update this post in case I gather more from other discussions). Of course, native French speaker input would be very welcome here :)

"eau" is a (feminine) mass noun, which means that it can either be modified by definite articles, or partitive articles, but not indefinite articles.

Using "eau" with "de l'" (partitive article): We use the appropriate partitive article (de l') in case we refer to "eau" without expressing any amount. E.g., "Je bois de l'eau." = "I am drinking [some] water".

Using "eau" with "de": In case we do express the amount of water, we use "de" in the sense of "of". E.g., Je bois un peu / beaucoup d'eau" = "I am drinking a little / lots of water". Another example of using only "de" is when we want to refer to something "of water". For example, "Je bois un verre d'eau".

Using "eau" with "l'" (definite article): To refer to a specific water (e.g. the water you got from the river), we modify "eau" with the definite article, "l'". E.g., "Je bois l'eau" = "I am drinking the water". Another use of the definite article is when "eau" is the direct object of a verb that expresses preference: "J'aime / deteste l'eau". However, this use of the definite article is because it is required with such verbs, not because we refer to "the water".

Lastly, "eau" may appear without any article. This is the case when it is used with "sans"/"avec". E.g., "Avec/sans eau" = "With/without water". Notice that we do not mention the amount or referring to a specific water. In this case, we'd say "Avec/sans l'eau", or "Avec/sans beaucoup d'eau", as explained above.

Cheers.

October 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Yes, "une eau, des eaux" is something you can use in French.

  • A est une eau plate, mais B et C sont des eaux gazeuses.
March 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/CherylFont1

Excellent explanation in the difference in the use of partitive articles and definite articles with mass nouns, as well as with nouns following verbs of appreciation. Merci beaucoup

March 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/nicklovescode

why is it using de?

August 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE

It's not using "de" alone, it's called a partitive. And it's used when you talk about an indefinite quantity, as "some" in English

See here: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/articles_4.htm

May 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/TaraAwesomeness

To say 'some' or 'any' in French, use: -"du" before a masculine word, eg Je mange du pain le matin (I have [some] bread for breakfast) -"de la" before a feminine word, eg Vous avez de la salade? (Do you have any lettuce?) -"de l'" before a singular word beginning with a vowel or silent h, eg Tu bois de l'eau? (Are you drinking [some] water?); Ma mère a acheté de l'huile (My mother bought some oil) -"de"' before a word in the plural form, eg Nous mangeons des légumes (We eat [some] vegetables) I found that on the "Bitesize" French course website, and it certainly helped me!

January 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/super.chouette

Does "de l'eau" mean that water is feminine (de+la+eau)? Wouldn't it be "d'eau" if it was masculine (du+eau)?

July 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE

For a masculine noun beginning with "e" choose the emmental cheese for instance.

  • Je mange de l'emmental (can't say de le emmental).
  • Je mange du riz (can't say de le).

Both are masculine.

  • Je bois de l'eau (can't say de la eau).
  • Je bois de la limonade.

Both are feminine.

May 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Blargums

Why wouldnt you say d'eau. Is "water" (l'eau) masucline or feminine? Is there a case where I would use d-apostrophe? Like when it isn't a combination of de and le? I have talked to french people in which they say "d'eau" is this wrong?

July 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/mitaine56

blargums, for this sentence you can't say d'eau, alone. You could say, the glass is filled of water / le verre est rempli d'eau. Or, je bois un verre d'eau / I drink a glass of water.

October 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Jaani

I thought the same! But i guess no. Rule no. one is i guess to put the "l' " whenever we see word starting with vowel. So it remains "de l' " ! By the way i have no idea about the gender of water!

July 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/super.chouette

Someone on another thread helped me. I was confused because you say "mon eau" so I thought water was masculine. But water is feminine, it takes masculine pronoun-adjectives because it begins with a vowel and it's easier to say. So "de l'eau" = de+la+eau. But a masculine word like hotel would be "d'hôtel" = du+hôtel.

July 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE

@super.chouette.

"d'hôtel" shouldn't be in your example. Everything you said is right, except the "d'hôtel" part. Because you make the confusion here between the "de" + article = meaning the partitive article, and the "de" alone as a particle, and not an article.

With a masculine word use "du", because it's "Je mange du chocolat", and if it begins with a vowel or a non-aspirated "h", use Je mange de l'emmental (it's a cheese); It's never "de" or "d' " alone, you have always the definite article. (but in "du" or "des" it's contracted inside)

May 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/cyril2000

Thanks for the explanation, just a little correction, it is "de l'" for feminine AND masculine. So it would be "de l'hôtel".

August 29, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE

Exactly. But be careful "de l'hôtel" is not a partitive.

It doesn't mean "an indefinitive quantity" of hotel.

Je viens de l'hôtel = I come from the hotel.

Here, "de" is not a part of the partitive article, it's only the particle (and not the article! )

Here the meaning is"from" or "of", according to the uses, and not "some" as when you say "de l'eau".

May 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mitaine56

jaani- eau is feminine

October 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Neonill

I also can't understand the difference between " boir de l'eau" and "boir l'eau". And the same is with "manger"

July 1, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/super.chouette

"Je boir de l'eau" means "I (am) drink(ing) (some) water." "Je boir l'eau" just means "I drink water". It could mean "I am drinking all of the water (in the world!)" A teacher once explained without "de" it is like talking about the entire concept of something. "de" narrows that down to just a portion of something.

July 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE

@super.chouette.

"Je boir de l'eau" is incorrect. You have to conjugate the verb. "Boir" doesn't exist, the infinitive form is "boire" = to drink.

The conjugated form is "Je bois".

You're wrong in your explanation. "Je bois l'eau" is NOT "I drink water". it's "I drink THE water". It's not "I'm drinking all of the water in the world. That's incorrect. We would say "Je bois toute l'eau (du monde)" in this case. Your teacher is wrong. Or was talking about another grammar case.

May 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/LeChatGrincheux

do you always have to say "l'eau" or can you also say just "eau"?

March 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE

You can never say just "eau" because you always need an article in French. Super.chouette explanation is not correct.

May 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE

"boir" doesn't exist.

The infinitive verb is "boire". (to drink)

Boire de l'eau = to drink some water = indefinite quantity.

Boire l'eau = to drink a definite water. For instance, I'm on a riverside, and I drink THE water (implied: of the river)

May 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/haeun4u

What's the difference between "bois" and "boire"?

October 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mitaine56

haeun- boire is the infinitive form. bois is conjugated, je bois, tu bois.

October 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/TerminatedWeasel

With the "l'" before eau, does that make it I am drinking some the water????? I wrote "I am drinking the water", and that was wrong...

October 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
  • 1694

There is no "some the water". Apart from this exercise, you could say "I am drinking THE water" (Je bois l'eau) referring to some specific water, for example. Or you could say "I am drinking (some) water" (Je bois de l'eau). For an explanation of when you use "de" in this context, see here: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/articles_4.htm

February 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SimonThompson1

I have a question. In English, someone might ask you "is the water safe for drinking from the tap?" And in English I could respond with or without a yes, "I drink the water".

How does this sentence "I drink the water" get translated into French. The "the" is emphasised because I don't just drink any water, I am drinking the specific water from this source (in this illustration, from the tap).

Anyone can assist? Thanks!

July 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

In the exercise sentence, this water is not specific.

  • I drink the water = je bois l'eau - specific water
  • I drink (some) water = je bois de l'eau - an unknown amount of a mass
March 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/1OliviaM.A.

Is l'eau pronounced similarly to "loo"?

April 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
  • 1694

L'eau is pronounced like "low".

March 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ShikhaGang1

Please tell difference between all forms of bois

February 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
  • 1694

Please take a look here about how to conjugate verbs: https://www.thoughtco.com/introduction-to-french-verbs-1371059

March 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TamaraAl-R

few people say ¨i am drinking SOME water" most people just say simply ¨i am drinking water¨ please change it.

October 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Eric686701

Why do we drop "suis"?

February 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Roshni171

I dont exactly understand where you saw "suis". But assuming you are trying to translate "am + drinking" to "suis + boire". This would be incorrect. "bois" can stand for "drink" or "am drinking", so you don't need the "suis" to indicate "am".

February 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

By the way, "drinking" (present participle) is not "boire" (infinitive) but "buvant" (present participle). This does not change your perfectly correct explanation.

February 19, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Roshni171

Thank you. I didnt intend to equate the infinitive 'boire' with the participle 'drinking' but my explanation does sound like that. PS: I wasn't aware of "buvant". I'm yet to reach that level in French. So thank you for adding that new word to my vocabulary. :)

February 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/effyleven

How do I refer to particular water... when in English I would refer to THE water. Example: "It is a nice place, but don't drink 'the' water."

April 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

I don't drink the water = Je ne bois pas l'eau

April 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Tony36311

When the excercise said l'oeuf it's "the egg". and when it says l'eau, it's just water. Correct that please

May 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"Un/l'oeuf" is countable and "l'eau" is usually uncountable, at least when you are drinking some.

  • I am drinking (some) water = je bois de l'eau
  • I am drinking the water = je bois l'eau
  • I am eating an egg = je mange un oeuf
  • I am eating the egg = je mange l'oeuf
  • I am eating (some) eggs = je mange des oeufs
  • I am eating the eggs = je mange les oeufs
May 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/lW4VWgYS

I got l' eau wrong in two separate circles because I didn't tap l'eau in one circle! If I were writing, it would still be l'eau!

June 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/lW4VWgYS

I got it wrong when I tapped de (l') (eau), in two circles. Four sentences later, I got it wrong by tapping de (l'eau) in one circle! Either way it is de l'eau! The other words were Je bois. What am I missiing?

June 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/scubisteve

The previous question was translate l'eau: "the" water so in this one I answered "I drink the water". Incorrect apparently.

July 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE

I drink THE water = Je bois L' eau. And it means a definite water.

When you say "Je bois DE L'eau" the meaning is quite different with this "de l' " expression, it means "I drink (some) water" = indefinite quantity.

May 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/super.chouette

"De l'eau" literally means "of the water". I'm not sure if Duo lingo would have accepted "I drink of the water" or not, but it is correct in a way.

July 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PERCE_NEIGE

No. That's not correct. When you use "de" alone, it means "of", but when you use the expression "du" or "de l' " , it is "some" and means an indefinite quantity.

There's a confusion between the "de" particle and the "du" , "de la", "de l' " etc, that is not a particle, but a partitive article ("de la" even if it's in two words, it's considered as an article, the partitive one.)

May 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/BrittanySm19

when do we use "boire" ???

January 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/mitaine56

brittany- Boire is infinitive, I want to drink, je veux boire. To drink is important for your health, boire est important pour votre santé.

October 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Cvetan7

Je bois is ( I am drinking or I drink ) I don't understand .....

September 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
  • 1694

Yes, "Je bois" may be translated either way.

March 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/rudiwil

why is it de l'eau which is some the water rather than just d'eau

September 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
  • 1694

French uses what is called a "partitive article" to refer to an undetermined amount of something (usually food or drink). "Du" is used for masculine nouns; "de la" is used for feminine nouns. "Eau" is a feminine noun and so it uses the "de la" construction but since "eau" starts with a vowel, it becomes "de l'eau". Some people like to translate the partitive as "some" but more often that not it is not used in English. I.e., we don't have to say "I am drinking some water" but just "I am drinking water". Check this link for all the good information about partitives. https://www.thoughtco.com/du-de-la-des-1368977

March 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Eddomannen

how is "de l'eau" just water ❤❤❤❤ right off

December 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Gie278433

why not je boire de l'eau?

January 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
  • 1694

You have to conjugate the verb. The infinitive form is "boire". But you say "je bois" = I drink (or) I am drinking.

March 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LeaFLOCUST

why is there "de" and "le" it should be "I drink some of the water." ?¿?¿?¿?¿?¿?¿?¿?

March 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"Some of the water" would have a specific water and the French would be "un peu de l'eau".

The apostrophe after "de l'" replaces "de la", because "eau" is a feminine noun and it starts with a vowel sound.

March 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ZayneHolse

i dont have some as my choices

March 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

You don't need "some" to translate "de l'eau". "Water" by itself is sufficient to mean the same thing as "de l'eau" in this sentence, where "de l'" means "an unknown amount of a mass thing". In French you have to use "de l'", but in English, you don't need "some".

March 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/StephenDep

If I drink the water is a wrong translation here..Then how does one say I drink the water in french?

April 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

I drink the water = Je bois l'eau

April 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Jalynn148702

If l'eau means 'the water' then why don't they just say ,'Je bois eau.'

April 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Because English has 3 articles (a, an, the) while French has 8 (un, une, des, le, la, les, du, de la) and French speakers use them with precise meanings.

April 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fernew

There is no way to answer the flawed question. The answer is a word in frenchn not English. Question is flawed.

April 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
  • 1694

Exactly what is the problem? What was the form of the question presented to you? And please state what about it is flawed?

May 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Nyarlethotep1

MEGALOVANIA 4 life

February 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/LeaFLOCUST

"I drink some of the water" Should be accepted.

April 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

The meaning is not the same as "je bois de l'eau", which only means "I drink some water", as an unknown amount of a mass thing.

"Some of the water" has specific water, so the French sentence would need to be "un peu de l'eau" to get the same meaning.

April 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/WafelJongen

"I drink of the water." I like how pretentious a literal translation becomes.

December 2, 2018
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