I used "nous cueillions des coquillages..." and it was marked wrong. Since, 'cueillir' means 'to pick; to gather; to collect', (just as 'ramasser') would it not be equally correct in this case? Is there a significant difference between the two verbs?
Thank you for your help.
Bonne journee !
Freeform Writing Exercise A2
cueillir is rarely used for shellfish unless they are fixed to something. I personally wouldn't use it.
So no they are not equally correct.
Bonne Continuation !
I understand the difference as "to gather" --> ramasser
"to pick" --> cueiller in this case by hand (think picking flowers or fruit with some dexterity)
So, how were the shells collected? Were they amassed/gathered up in a sweeping-up type of action or were they picked one by one with the fingers?
Another thought -- you appear to have used l'imparfait nous cueillions I think perhaps you should have used the parfait nous avons cueilli ?
Just to complement Jim's answer:
Ramasser is used for picking up scattered objects from the ground or surface, while cueillir is used for harvesting or plucking things like fruits from plants or trees.
The distinctions noted by Jim and Chris are not recognised by either wordreference or Larousse. Both list ‘cueillir des coquillages’ as acceptable.
To clarify, I did not mean and did not say that cuellir was appropriate in this exercise as it is about collecting seashells off the beach.
However, to suggest ‘cuellir’ cannot be used in reference to collecting (picking) ‘des coquillages (moules)’ rather than just flowers etc is incorrect, as referenced in previous comment, and as noted in usage in below link.
I think there is a regional difference here.
Having checked with colleagues in France - in the Nord Pas de Calais/ Normandy regions, they do use 'cueillir des moules'.
Often you will hear of 'pêcher des moules' or 'partir à la pêche aux moules' which is clearly a misnomer.
However, partir à /faire la cueillette is often used for to go and gather something which is used relatively everywhere I think.
Yes, Cécile , we have friends and family in Bretagne, close to the coast and eating lots of fresh seafood - they used to collect their own ‘coquillages’ - moules and others - but now mostly from vendors.
Moules et frites fait maison is the treat they regularly make for us when we go there - and I knew I had heard ‘cueillir’ used by them in talking about the gathering of ‘des coquillages’. Not surprising the article I linked was from Normandie.
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