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James Putney

Posts: 0
Chapel Hill, NC
United States
I have been reviewing my French for a trip to Quebec, and noticed an annoying problem with the flashcards. It applies to Spanish as well, and likely all of the languages. I haven't been on the blog in a while, so this may have been brought up before. Most places in the program, alternative correct answers are accepted, for example in French, different word orders for questions, use of est-ce que or not, endroit vs lieu, etc. However, the conversation sentences do not have this tolerance because in the program, you are supposed to type exactly what you hear. But in the flashcards, you are given the written English for these same sentences to translate to French. So the kinds of alternatives such as I mentioned above are not accepted, giving one the incorrect impression that these are wrong. It would be helpful if Fluenz would modify the flashcard material to accept these alternative correct responses for the material coming from the conversation, as is already the case for material coming from other parts of the program.

I have been reviewing my French for a trip to Quebec, and noticed an annoying problem with the flashcards. It applies to Spanish as well, and likely all of the languages. I haven't been on the blog in a while, so this may have been brought up before. Most places in the program, alternative correct answers are accepted, for example in French, different word orders for questions, use of est-ce que or not, endroit vs lieu, etc. However, the conversation sentences do not have this tolerance because in the program, you are supposed to type exactly what you hear. But in the flashcards, you are given the written English for these same sentences to translate to French. So the kinds of alternatives such as I mentioned above are not accepted, giving one the incorrect impression that these are wrong. It would be helpful if Fluenz would modify the flashcard material to accept these alternative correct responses for the material coming from the conversation, as is already the case for material coming from other parts of the program.

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andy@fluenz
In the workouts, users are supposed to type what they hear, not to translate those phrases, so we didn't include double options for the translation. But in the flashcards, users are asked to translate some sentences taken from the dialogues and other workouts that are translated from audio, so unless you translate them using the same words we used in the conversation, alternative translations will not be accepted. We're working on this and we're adding double options in the convos, although it will take some time.

In the workouts, users are supposed to type what they hear, not to translate those phrases, so we didn't include double options for the translation. But in the flashcards, users are asked to translate some sentences taken from the dialogues and other workouts that are translated from audio, so unless you translate them using the same words we used in the conversation, alternative translations will not be accepted.

We're working on this and we're adding double options in the convos, although it will take some time.

James Putney
Thanks Andy.

Thanks Andy.

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In French 4, lesson 28, we learn the structure "quelque chose de + adjective." Then, in the exercises, (matching) for something like "he saw something well" it is "Il a vu quelque chose de bien." Clearly bien is an adverb modifying "a vu" not "quelque chose." Google translate agrees with the Fluenz translation, however. In Google translate, I asked for "Did you find something easily" and it gave me "Avez-vous trouve quelque chose de facilement?" When I asked for "Did you easily find something" it gave me "Avez-vous trouve facilement quelque chose?" (never mind the avez-vous) These two sentences are the same, in both cases facilement is an adverb modifying the verb, not "something." Anybody understand this?

In French 4, lesson 28, we learn the structure "quelque chose de + adjective." Then, in the exercises, (matching) for something like "he saw something well" it is "Il a vu quelque chose de bien." Clearly bien is an adverb modifying "a vu" not "quelque chose." Google translate agrees with the Fluenz translation, however. In Google translate, I asked for "Did you find something easily" and it gave me "Avez-vous trouve quelque chose de facilement?" When I asked for "Did you easily find something" it gave me "Avez-vous trouve facilement quelque chose?" (never mind the avez-vous) These two sentences are the same, in both cases facilement is an adverb modifying the verb, not "something." Anybody understand this?

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James Putney
Thanks Fabrice and FL. So, after going over this many times, it is starting to make a little sense. Part of my problem here and elsewhere is my sense that Fluenz does not always use correct English, although they are usually examples of common usage. A case in point is somewhere there is something like "I ran slow." Clearly this is incorrect English, yet I learn from other sites that there are many instances in both French and Spanish when the adverb form can be used as an adjective and vice versa. This is not technically correct in English, and this distinction might be made at some point.

Thanks Fabrice and FL. So, after going over this many times, it is starting to make a little sense. Part of my problem here and elsewhere is my sense that Fluenz does not always use correct English, although they are usually examples of common usage. A case in point is somewhere there is something like "I ran slow." Clearly this is incorrect English, yet I learn from other sites that there are many instances in both French and Spanish when the adverb form can be used as an adjective and vice versa. This is not technically correct in English, and this distinction might be made at some point.

FluenzLab
Hi James You are absolutely correct, it would be grammatically correct to say "I ran slowly." Yet in some instances we use "street English" where it will help with the translation into the language that you are learning. In Spanish it is absolutely correct to say Yo corrí lento, literally, I ran slow. It is a way for us to help our users make the correct constructions in the language that you are learning. As levels progress we start easing you into those differences and you will have to make the distinctions yourself, but in the beginning levels we try to help you out. That is why in certain instances you run into what we call "awkward English."

Hi James

You are absolutely correct, it would be grammatically correct to say "I ran slowly." Yet in some instances we use "street English" where it will help with the translation into the language that you are learning. In Spanish it is absolutely correct to say Yo corrí lento, literally, I ran slow. It is a way for us to help our users make the correct constructions in the language that you are learning. As levels progress we start easing you into those differences and you will have to make the distinctions yourself, but in the beginning levels we try to help you out. That is why in certain instances you run into what we call "awkward English."

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French 5, session 28. We are to translate "My friend understood easily..." The correct answer is "Mon ami a compris facilement..." Does anyone know why it is not "Mon ami a facilement compris..."? I thought adverbs always went between auxillary and participle.

French 5, session 28. We are to translate "My friend understood easily..." The correct answer is "Mon ami a compris facilement..." Does anyone know why it is not "Mon ami a facilement compris..."? I thought adverbs always went between auxillary and participle.

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James Putney
In English, either would be acceptable I think. I hadn't heard the "long adverb" idea, so checked it on About.com. cut and paste below: Long adverbs are usually placed at the beginning or end of the sentence. Généralement, nous mangeons avant 17h00. Normally, we eat before 5pm. Je ne l'ai pas trouvé, malheureusement. I didn't find it, unfortunately. However, if the long adverb specifically modifies the verb, it is placed after the conjugated verb. Il a immédiatement quitté Paris. He left Paris immediately. So, it seems to me in the example I gave it would still belong after "a".

In English, either would be acceptable I think. I hadn't heard the "long adverb" idea, so checked it on About.com. cut and paste below:
Long adverbs are usually placed at the beginning or end of the sentence.
Généralement, nous mangeons avant 17h00. Normally, we eat before 5pm.
Je ne l'ai pas trouvé, malheureusement. I didn't find it, unfortunately.
However, if the long adverb specifically modifies the verb, it is placed after the conjugated verb.
Il a immédiatement quitté Paris. He left Paris immediately.

So, it seems to me in the example I gave it would still belong after "a".

Dan Sehnal
I think you are on target. Not sure if was a typo or not (ou vs au) but the logic is sound. Appreciate the hint!

I think you are on target. Not sure if was a typo or not (ou vs au) but the logic is sound. Appreciate the hint!

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French 5, session 4, we are to translate "I know which cake I want." Correct answer is "Je sais quel gateau je veux." Why not "Je sais quel gateau que je veux?" Had it been "I know the cake I want" than I am pretty sure it would be "Je sais le gateau que je veux." "Quel" in the first case seems to be modifier of gateau, not a relative pronoun...?

French 5, session 4, we are to translate "I know which cake I want." Correct answer is "Je sais quel gateau je veux." Why not "Je sais quel gateau que je veux?" Had it been "I know the cake I want" than I am pretty sure it would be "Je sais le gateau que je veux." "Quel" in the first case seems to be modifier of gateau, not a relative pronoun...?

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MelM
Hi all, This is a very confusing and technical one. Basically, 'que' as a relative pronoun has no place in this sentence as it is not replacing any part of the phrase. French students learn is that qui means "who" and que means "that" or "what." In fact, this is not always the case. I found a great article that will help explain this.http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/relativepronouns_2.htm Hope this helps!

Hi all, This is a very confusing and technical one. Basically, 'que' as a relative pronoun has no place in this sentence as it is not replacing any part of the phrase. French students learn is that qui means "who" and que means "that" or "what." In fact, this is not always the case. I found a great article that will help explain this.http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/relativepronouns_2.htm Hope this helps!

Fabrice
The reason you don't use "que" is that you're trying to use it as as relative pronoun to make reference to the cake. However, you already used "quel" as a relative pronoun, so "quel gateau que" is incorrect because you've already referenced the cake with "quel". You can say "Je vois le gateau que je veux", or "Je vois quel gateau je veux", but not "Je vois quel gateau que je veux". As an aside, "Je sais le gateau que je veux" sounds a bit weird (you would have to put some emphasis on the "sais" to make it work but it sounds very colloquial), so "Je sais quel gateau je veux" is much better. I hope this helps :)

The reason you don't use "que" is that you're trying to use it as as relative pronoun to make reference to the cake. However, you already used "quel" as a relative pronoun, so "quel gateau que" is incorrect because you've already referenced the cake with "quel". You can say "Je vois le gateau que je veux", or "Je vois quel gateau je veux", but not "Je vois quel gateau que je veux". As an aside, "Je sais le gateau que je veux" sounds a bit weird (you would have to put some emphasis on the "sais" to make it work but it sounds very colloquial), so "Je sais quel gateau je veux" is much better.

I hope this helps :)

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I am reviewing French 4, I'm on lesson 28, it deals with adjectives and adverbs. I had trouble with this the first time through. We learn that bien/mieux is the adverb, and bon/mielleur is the adjective, fine. Then we learn the expression "Le mieux c'est d'aller..." I thoroughly do not understand this construction, I guess it is just an expression? Also, in this lesson Match the Words, one example is "Vous avez vu quelque chose de bien?" which is translated as "Did you see something well?" By putting bien after quelque chose de, seems to me it is being used as an adjective, which I thought it could not be. And to me, I would translate the English above as "Vous avez bien vu quelque chose?" Also, later "Il a fait quelque chose de mal" translated as "Did he do something bad?" Shouldn't it be "Did he do something badly?" which would be "Il a mal fait quelque chose" or shouldn't the French be "Il a fait quelque chose de mauvais?" Any thoughts/explanations would be appreciated.

I am reviewing French 4, I'm on lesson 28, it deals with adjectives and adverbs. I had trouble with this the first time through. We learn that bien/mieux is the adverb, and bon/mielleur is the adjective, fine. Then we learn the expression "Le mieux c'est d'aller..." I thoroughly do not understand this construction, I guess it is just an expression? Also, in this lesson Match the Words, one example is "Vous avez vu quelque chose de bien?" which is translated as "Did you see something well?" By putting bien after quelque chose de, seems to me it is being used as an adjective, which I thought it could not be. And to me, I would translate the English above as "Vous avez bien vu quelque chose?" Also, later "Il a fait quelque chose de mal" translated as "Did he do something bad?" Shouldn't it be "Did he do something badly?" which would be "Il a mal fait quelque chose" or shouldn't the French be "Il a fait quelque chose de mauvais?" Any thoughts/explanations would be appreciated.

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James Putney
OK, "le mieux c'est d'aller," I am fine with that, it is an expression and doesn't translate word for word. But I am still confused about the use of "bien" as an adjective. So, you are saying "bien" is an adjective meaning "good"? In correct English "Did you see something good" asks if the thing you saw is a good thing. If you are asking whether or not you saw it clearly, the correct English is "Did you see something well." Even if it sounds a bit awkward, it is correct English for that particularl meaning. Good is an adjective, well is an adverb. I had thought the same was true for "bon" (adjective) and "bien" (adverb). Maybe I am trying too hard to fit French grammar to English grammar. BTW, I have commented before that there are examples of poor English in the program. Same is true for mal and mauvais, the meaning changes depending on whether an adjective is needed (the "something" is bad), or an adverb (I am having a hard time seeing the something). I think one problem I am having is that Fluenz tries a bit too hard (I think) to avoid giving us the rules in terms of parts of speech. So maybe "bien" is an adjective meaning "good" in these structures; if so, just tell us, the current presentation is confusing, at least to me.

OK, "le mieux c'est d'aller," I am fine with that, it is an expression and doesn't translate word for word. But I am still confused about the use of "bien" as an adjective. So, you are saying "bien" is an adjective meaning "good"? In correct English "Did you see something good" asks if the thing you saw is a good thing. If you are asking whether or not you saw it clearly, the correct English is "Did you see something well." Even if it sounds a bit awkward, it is correct English for that particularl meaning. Good is an adjective, well is an adverb. I had thought the same was true for "bon" (adjective) and "bien" (adverb). Maybe I am trying too hard to fit French grammar to English grammar. BTW, I have commented before that there are examples of poor English in the program. Same is true for mal and mauvais, the meaning changes depending on whether an adjective is needed (the "something" is bad), or an adverb (I am having a hard time seeing the something).

I think one problem I am having is that Fluenz tries a bit too hard (I think) to avoid giving us the rules in terms of parts of speech. So maybe "bien" is an adjective meaning "good" in these structures; if so, just tell us, the current presentation is confusing, at least to me.

Michael McPhearson
Agree completely about Fluenz constructing sentences that totally puzzle English speakers. I often give up when they use a sentence that seems to be crazy talk. I scream, "who says this stuff....ever?" I'm sure they are trying to present/illustrate some advanced example of grammatical structure...as is their genius. I just wish they would dig a bit deeper to find a simple, meaningful sentence that we might actually use in real life. Fluenz is so closer to being the undisputed champion of language learning, but needs a bit of tweaking. This is a terrific forum for them to advance their status in the language learning market.

Agree completely about Fluenz constructing sentences that totally puzzle English speakers. I often give up when they use a sentence that seems to be crazy talk. I scream, "who says this stuff....ever?" I'm sure they are trying to present/illustrate some advanced example of grammatical structure...as is their genius. I just wish they would dig a bit deeper to find a simple, meaningful sentence that we might actually use in real life. Fluenz is so closer to being the undisputed champion of language learning, but needs a bit of tweaking. This is a terrific forum for them to advance their status in the language learning market.

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In Spanish 4, lesson 18, Write the phrase you read. For "...(they) rented a good bicycle..." the program gives "alquilaron una buena bicicleta" but accepts "alquilaron una bicicleta buena." Later in the same exercise, for "... a good bottle of wine..," it wants "una buena botella de vino" and will NOT accept "una botella buena de vino." Is this because of the prepositional pharase modifier "de vino?" I don't remember this rule.

In Spanish 4, lesson 18, Write the phrase you read. For "...(they) rented a good bicycle..." the program gives "alquilaron una buena bicicleta" but accepts "alquilaron una bicicleta buena." Later in the same exercise, for "... a good bottle of wine..," it wants "una buena botella de vino" and will NOT accept "una botella buena de vino." Is this because of the prepositional pharase modifier "de vino?" I don't remember this rule.

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zahranumar
I hope you help you back un this. It is some how the feminine effect or rule as it does not apply to masculine. For example, if you want to say, Yo tengo una casa (I have one house). similarly, you may say Yo tengo una casa (I have a house) However in the other side (masc.) Yo tengo uno Boli (i have one Pen.) Yo tengo un Boli (I have a Pen.) I hope you noticed the difference here, so no problem with feminine words but would effect the masculine words. In my case it works.

I hope you help you back un this. It is some how the feminine effect or rule as it does not apply to masculine.

For example, if you want to say,

Yo tengo una casa (I have one house). similarly, you may say
Yo tengo una casa (I have a house)

However in the other side (masc.)
Yo tengo uno Boli (i have one Pen.)
Yo tengo un Boli (I have a Pen.)

I hope you noticed the difference here, so no problem with feminine words but would effect the masculine words.

In my case it works.

Benjamin Nichols
The word order can be used in both ways, I think it is just to do with which has been inputted into the program, although in regards to "una botella buena de vino" that sounds incredibly strange to me. I think una botella de vino buena would be correct. Queremos ir a un restaurante bueno Queremos ir a un buen restaurante These are the same and can be used either way, same for the discoteca. I regards to the 2nd comment "you tengo uno boli" is just wrong, "yo tengo un boli", no matter how you wish to translate it, is the only way to say it, uno dos not precede nouns this way. Hope this helps.

The word order can be used in both ways, I think it is just to do with which has been inputted into the program, although in regards to "una botella buena de vino" that sounds incredibly strange to me. I think una botella de vino buena would be correct.

Queremos ir a un restaurante bueno
Queremos ir a un buen restaurante

These are the same and can be used either way, same for the discoteca.

I regards to the 2nd comment "you tengo uno boli" is just wrong, "yo tengo un boli", no matter how you wish to translate it, is the only way to say it, uno dos not precede nouns this way.

Hope this helps.

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French 5, lesson 16, we are to translate "Did you work (for) a long time in tourism?" I assumed that "longtemps" is an adverb, thus I answered "Vous avez longtemps travaille dans le tourisme?" However, the correct answer is "Vous avez travaille longtemps dans le tourisme?" Does anyone understand this? It seems the rule of adverbs being placed after the auxillary verb is not always so, but I don't know how to tell when.

French 5, lesson 16, we are to translate "Did you work (for) a long time in tourism?" I assumed that "longtemps" is an adverb, thus I answered "Vous avez longtemps travaille dans le tourisme?" However, the correct answer is "Vous avez travaille longtemps dans le tourisme?" Does anyone understand this? It seems the rule of adverbs being placed after the auxillary verb is not always so, but I don't know how to tell when.

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James Putney
Sorry to take so long to respond, have been traveling, part of the time in Toulouse. Allen, thanks for your comment, I had not heard that before I think. I suppose it is one of those things that whichever way you say it will be understood, but only one way sounds right to the French ear. Christopher, I am very happy with my level of French, actually I finished 5 last year before a trip to Morocco, but because of my Toulouse trip, I was re-doing level 5. I did Spanish and French and as a result, I have to re-tool each time before a trip, but it seems to work OK. Each time, my confidence increases. I can easily make myself understood in France, but of course, there is always some difficulty understanding what comes back because of the large number of structures and idioms we have not learned.

Sorry to take so long to respond, have been traveling, part of the time in Toulouse. Allen, thanks for your comment, I had not heard that before I think. I suppose it is one of those things that whichever way you say it will be understood, but only one way sounds right to the French ear. Christopher, I am very happy with my level of French, actually I finished 5 last year before a trip to Morocco, but because of my Toulouse trip, I was re-doing level 5. I did Spanish and French and as a result, I have to re-tool each time before a trip, but it seems to work OK. Each time, my confidence increases. I can easily make myself understood in France, but of course, there is always some difficulty understanding what comes back because of the large number of structures and idioms we have not learned.

Allen Brown
Adverbs will usually follow the conjugated auxiliary except if they are long like the -ment words.

Adverbs will usually follow the conjugated auxiliary except if they are long like the -ment words.

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This is a question for anybody, but probably for a native speaker or someone with some studies outside of Fluenz. The program "French in Action" to imply necessity or obligation uses the phrase "Il faut" + verb, for example "Il faut faire les courses" would mean "We must do the shopping." In Fluenz, we would say "On devait faire les courses" with the same translation. But it seems like "Il faut" is a more general structure, meaning more of "it is necessary to" without reference who specifically is obligated. It seems very useful, FIA uses it a lot. Anyone out there have some experience with these structures?

This is a question for anybody, but probably for a native speaker or someone with some studies outside of Fluenz. The program "French in Action" to imply necessity or obligation uses the phrase "Il faut" + verb, for example "Il faut faire les courses" would mean "We must do the shopping." In Fluenz, we would say "On devait faire les courses" with the same translation. But it seems like "Il faut" is a more general structure, meaning more of "it is necessary to" without reference who specifically is obligated. It seems very useful, FIA uses it a lot. Anyone out there have some experience with these structures?

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andy@fluenz
James, you will notice Falloir used a lot in the subjunctive too. I believe they do cover this a lot in FIA. For example: Il faut que j'y aille. Save this for more advanced studies though after you complete Fluenz. It can be tough to master.

James, you will notice Falloir used a lot in the subjunctive too. I believe they do cover this a lot in FIA. For example: Il faut que j'y aille.

Save this for more advanced studies though after you complete Fluenz. It can be tough to master.

Terry Burnett
I found this particular article helpful concerning this very subject: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/devoirfalloir.htm Hope you can also get something useful out of it.

I found this particular article helpful concerning this very subject:

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/devoirfalloir.htm

Hope you can also get something useful out of it.

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I may have asked this the first time I did French 5 but don't remember. Anyway, in Lesson 22, we are asked to translate "I took the bus to go to the other side of the river." and the correct answer is given as "J'ai pris le bus pour aller de l'autre cote de la riviere." Why is it not "...pour aller a l'autre cote...?"

I may have asked this the first time I did French 5 but don't remember. Anyway, in Lesson 22, we are asked to translate "I took the bus to go to the other side of the river." and the correct answer is given as "J'ai pris le bus pour aller de l'autre cote de la riviere." Why is it not "...pour aller a l'autre cote...?"

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James Putney
OK, that is fine, but I don't think that was ever covered. It is remarcable really that Fluenz doesn't miss much, but maybe this is something that needs a brief explanation in one of the sessions (assuming it isn't there already, and I missed it).

OK, that is fine, but I don't think that was ever covered. It is remarcable really that Fluenz doesn't miss much, but maybe this is something that needs a brief explanation in one of the sessions (assuming it isn't there already, and I missed it).

Emilie Poyet
Hi James, there is no explanation for this really, it's an expression, you always say "de" with the word "côté", no matter if you refer to origin, location or destination: de ce côté = from/on/to this side, de l'autre côté = from/on/to the other side, du même côté = from/on/to the same side, etc etc

Hi James, there is no explanation for this really, it's an expression, you always say "de" with the word "côté", no matter if you refer to origin, location or destination: de ce côté = from/on/to this side, de l'autre côté = from/on/to the other side, du même côté = from/on/to the same side, etc etc

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In French 5, lesson 17, we are asked to translate "They weren't able to give me an answer about the medical insurance." The correct answer is "Ils n'ont pas pu me donner de reponse au sujet de l'assurance medicale." My answer, which had "...donner une reponse..." was not acceptable. Google translate likes "une reponse" but, depending on how the rest of the sentence is structured, gives "de reponse" as an alternative. Is it possible this is a typo in the English, and should have been "any answer?" Otherwise, I think I have forgotten or missed some rule or principle earlier about this use of "de"; can someone explain this to me. Thanks.

In French 5, lesson 17, we are asked to translate "They weren't able to give me an answer about the medical insurance." The correct answer is "Ils n'ont pas pu me donner de reponse au sujet de l'assurance medicale." My answer, which had "...donner une reponse..." was not acceptable. Google translate likes "une reponse" but, depending on how the rest of the sentence is structured, gives "de reponse" as an alternative. Is it possible this is a typo in the English, and should have been "any answer?" Otherwise, I think I have forgotten or missed some rule or principle earlier about this use of "de"; can someone explain this to me. Thanks.

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Allen Brown
The answer that is required is "de" unless you are using a definite article.

The answer that is required is "de" unless you are using a definite article.

Bella
I'm a French native and the most used in this context would be "de reponse". But to translate literally it would be "une reponse", so you're right. Translating literally is not always the best translation or most correct. This the perfect example. "Ils n'ont pas pu me donner de reponse" is the best translation cause that's what a French native would say.

I'm a French native and the most used in this context would be "de reponse". But to translate literally it would be "une reponse", so you're right. Translating literally is not always the best translation or most correct. This the perfect example. "Ils n'ont pas pu me donner de reponse" is the best translation cause that's what a French native would say.

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