This lesson doesn’t explain why sont isn’t necessary in the sentence: Ils brûlent tous. They ARE burning all the books. I got this wrong with no explanation as to why. Help? Thanks.
Ils brûlent tous -They are burning all (of them). This is the present tense of "brûler" - to burn and can be translated as:
They burn, they are burning, they do burn. Unlike English, French does not have a present continuous tense and the simple present tense conveys the notion of "they are burning" i.e "Ils brûlent". The "sont" that you refer can be thought of as being contained in the verb form.
To explicitly convey the notion of continuity French can use the phrase "être en train de" - to be in the process of, Thus, "ils sont en train de brûler tous" - They are in the process of (are) burning all (of them).
Hope this helps,
Just to add to Tom's excellent answer I would say that,
Ils brûlent tous ( speaking about 'les livres') would be -
They are all burning
Ils sont tous en train de brûler = They are all (in the process of) burning
Hope this helps!
Thanks for your explanations; very helpful!
Sign in to submit your answer
Don't have an account yet? Join today
Test your French to the CEFR standard