The word "prendre" has quite a few different uses. "Take" is the most obvious. It can also be "capture" as in "prendre une ville" (capture a city). It can be used in the sense of "choose" (pick out/select) in the sense of "elle prend une nouvelle robe". Or here, in the sense of consommer (to eat/consume or as commonly said in English, "to have"). It would not be wrong to say "the boys can take an apple" but you know what they're going to do, they are going to eat it, so "have" is a natural and correct choice here.
What would the correct sentence be if the meaning was for the boys being able to take i.e. remove and take away an apple?
prendre [boisson, café, sandwich] = to have
prendre [médicament] = to take
here, 'to have' doesn't mean 'to own' but in the context of: I'm having my lunch.
I think the 'prendre' "have" is more like the 'have' in "I have a sandwich for lunch".
I thought pouvoir meant can or to be able to. I translated this sentence as'The boys are able to take an apple'. Why is this not correct?
It's correct, and it's accepted now. Thank you. Feel free to report the translation next time.
The expression "to be able to" speaks to being capable of doing something. In this context, the simpler interpretation (they can take/have an apple) is more natural English.
I think it normally means they each get an apple. The grammar does not require they share a single apple.
From the Verbs: Present 1 lesson (https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/Verbs%3A-Present-1), under the final section "One Each", we learned that
The indefinite article doesn't always refer to just one thing. Sometimes, it can mean one thing each.
It gives as example: "Ils ont un manteau", translated alternatively as "They have one coat" or "They each have one coat".
In English, on the other hand, if we intend for each boy to get an apple, we would certainly say so, as in "The boys may each have an apple." This follows Duo's own translation advise and yet was not accepted (as of November 2016). I reported that it should be accepted.
"The boys can have one apple" is not accepted. Can somebody help me understand why?
It's not always natural to translate the indefinite article (un/une) as "one". If you are counting them out, that is a different story.
I was a little surprised that my translation "The boys can eat an apple" was disallowed. Is prendre not used with pomme? Certainly one can say one takes a coffee; is that not idiomatically correct with apple?
I was wrong when I translated it "the boys can get an apple" but "can take..." is correct
Yes, "pouvoir" can be used in the sense of "to be allowed to" and therefore "may" may be used here. It is accepted.
I'm still not clear on the difference in meaning between "prendre"(to have) and "avoir"(to have.)
When I'm in France I use "Je prend un croissant (or whatever it is) s'il vous plaît" when ordering things at a cafe for example, meaning something along the lines of "I'll take a croissant, please"
That can work, too. A common use of "prendre" in the context of food is "to have" with the meaning of "to eat" (consommer). http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/prendre/62856 scroll down to B.2.
I see this question has been asked multiple times below, but has still not received any answer, so in an attempt to bring more attention to this problem: Why is "one apple" not allowed here? And how do you know when "un/une" means "one" and when it means "a/an"?
In an effort to portray the translation in natural English, using "an" is sufficient. Anytime you might say "one", « a/an » works fine. If you mean more than one, you may specify a number: the boys may have two apples.
So, saying "one apple" is fine? That is what I put as well and was marked wrong.
What I am saying is that "an apple" would be the standard but it is conceivable that under some circumstance you could say "one". Is it because you're in translation mode and you want to put "one" whenever you see "un/une" because you can? It's not idiomatic English.
Could "prendre" in this context mean pick? The boys might pick an apple off of the tree? If not, what would that verb be?
There is no need in English or in French to say anything about "each". It will be understood if there are three boys and you tell them that they may have an apple, it will be not be understood as dividing one apple among the three boys. They will indeed each have an apple.
Doesn't prendre means take or grab? And isn't have translated into avoir? 'Cause I wrote "the boys can take an apple"
The verb "prendre" has many meanings (not "grab", however...that is "saisir"). But when "prendre" means "have" in the sense of consuming something, it is not the same as the verb "avoir". Feel free to check a dictionary for prendre and avoir.
Because it is "une pomme" (an apple). It will be understood that each boy will have an apple. If you wanted to say "apples", it would be "Les garçons peuvent prendre des pommes" (with "des pommes" referring simply to an indefinite number of apples).
Why the Duolingo to say " The boys can take 1 apple" ???? Now it is take write numbers and words????
It is not really correct. In English, it is standard to spell out all numbers between one and ten.
"Prendre" is used in the sense of "have", meaning "to consume" food or drink.
It is the third-person plural conjugation of the verb "pouvoir" (to be able).
Duolingo gave me this phrase an another that used "Les hommes" instead of "Les garçons", and it said that I was wrong for thinking that this phrase means, "Boys can take an apple" because it thought that there should be a "the" before the word "boys". You may know that in English, we get rid of the article on a plural noun and just use the plural noun to indicate some general statement, such as, "Strawberries are good" as opposed to, "The strawberries are good". The former is a general statement about strawberries and the latter is referring to a specific set of strawberries that happen to be good. In french, both of these types of phrases are the same, or at least they are set up the same. Saying, "Les fraises sont bonnes" means both of the two English phrases I gave. I just want other people to know if they had this problem that both phrases are correct, and it knew that for the phrase it gave me when using "les hommes", so just beware.
I agree that "prendre" can have many uses. How does it come to mean "May have" instead of "Can have"? Can the moderator please clarify?
This is interesting. In English there is a difference between "can" and "may". Can is the ability to - May is permission to. I guess not in French
Is this supposed to sound sinister? I can imagine a news reporter going: Beware, do not approach: the boys may have an apple. Also, what's the difference between prendre and avoir ?
It's not. In English, we might say something like, "oh yeah! The boys can have an apple!" In this case, we are using "to have" to mean "to eat" in the same way that we would say, "I'm going to have breakfast" instead of, "I'm going to eat breakfast". In French, however, they don't use "avoir" to mean "manger", they use "prendre". So, in English, whenever you want to use "to have" to mean "to eat", you have to use "prendre". The context you suggested would use "avoir" since the reporter wouldn't be referring to the boys eating an apple, but rather to the fact that they might physically possess an apple