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Duo has a strong preference for insisting on using the appropriate article, not just the noun by itself. They also carry this into the English translation by insisting that the English include the article, even though English does not normally use articles with nouns. I think the reason is that all French nouns have a gender and in French, the article is automatically included.
At level 7, you are in the middle of learning about this. There are several things going on. First, in terms of just recognizing "les vêtements" as "clothes" or "the clothes" when it stands alone (i.e., not as part of a sentence). However when part of a sentence, there are several possibilities:
- les vêtements = the clothes (some specific clothes, plural) -or- clothes in general
- des vêtements = (some) clothes. The "des" represents the plural of "un" (or "une" for feminine nouns).
In French, you must say "des vêtements" to refer to the plural of "un vêtement". In English, this can be translated as "clothes" or "some clothes". The "some" is often omitted, i.e., it is not needed in English. Be aware that as you consider the meaning, if you mean "some" clothes, that you must use "des" in French, even though you might not actually say "some" in English. HTH
It all in articles. For singular, it is 'le' which is pronounced something like "luh" (like 'loo'). For plural, it is 'les' which is something like "leh". I have a lost lot of cute l'il hearts to these nasty plurals ;) Nothing but listening more carefully. Hope this helps you!
I noticed that « vêtements » is a cognate to "vestments", which in English refer to the ceremonious robes of a priest or other official. So I checked in a dictionary for how the French would indicate this more precise meaning. For a priest's vestments, it is the very specific « vêtements sacerdotaux » (singular « vêtement sacerdotal ») and for some other official one might say « habitude de cérémonie ».
I apologize if someone has pointed this out already but I am having trouble scrolling on this page for some reason; I couldn't read all the comments.