A light bulb went off for me after reading Sandra’s post below.
If I may add my two cents worth to expand on what she said…..
When I looked back over my incorrect answers, I had been choosing responses containing ‘devoir’ without an infinitive following, so in reality those sentences had an entirely different meaning.
Devoir + noun (no verb) = to owe
Je dois de l’argent – I owe some money
Il me doit dix euros – He owes me 10 euros
So only the first two out of the three following test examples can be correct or mean "to need":
•Marie doit ACHETER un nouveau sac à main = correct (devoir + infinitive)
Marie needs to buy a new handbag
•Elle doit RENTRER de bonne heure = correct (devoir + infinitive)
She needs to go home early
Vous devez un nouveau vélo = incorrect (no infinitive after devez)
I owe a new bike??
Am I on the right track here?
I can't fault your logic.
You will probably know that Google can draw from a vast database of useage when interrogated for a particular translation. It does not always come up with the most appropriate translation, but used with care can provide a clue.
I agree that "devoir" followed by a noun suggests "to owe a debt" I have used this expression in France with confidence in the right context.
But consider the possibility of "need" in the sense of "avoir besoin de". Google translates to "You need a new bike" so it appears to suggest that in spoken French this type of construction is valid.
Sorry can't help further but maybe this gives you something to ponder.
On certain topics I find that a technical solution is the only way I can master a grammatical concept and the real understanding comes later. For me this will be a way of avoiding the frustration of repeatedly getting the question wrong. Hopefully a deeper explanation on the use of when to use 'devoir' will be added to the lesson at some stage.
Thinking futther on this topic, I see 2 issues.
Firstly can ‘devoir’ without an infinitive legitimately translate to ‘need’ in the sense of “avoir besoin de” or is that just google leading us astray?
Secondly, as far as the test questions here are concerned, this is my understanding:
devoir + infinitive will always be a correct choice and it’s nothing to do with “when is it appropriate to use devoir”, in a real life situation that would be up to the person speaking to decide depending on what they are trying to convey.
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