Why do they stretch it unnecessarily? In duolingo, "animal de compagnie" is correct, "animal" is wrong. Why is that?

For example: j'ai un animal de compagnie.

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    It sounds like this is about a specific Duolingo exercise. What is the sentence Duolingo is asking you to translate? And it’s worth noting that Duolingo isn’t infallible. Sometimes its suggested translations aren’t quite idiomatic in the source or target language; sometimes its suggested translation is good, but it rejects some reasonable alternative translations. – Peter LeFanu Lumsdaine Oct 25 '20 at 9:19
  • yes i know duolingo sometimes spelling some weird words but i've seen this many times and i wanted to ask why. Sentence was "I have an animal" (maybe pet i'm not sure) – frencholic Oct 26 '20 at 0:23
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    The sentences "mon mari est un animal" and "mon mari est un animal de compagnie" have very, very different meanings. They are actually straight opposites. (this is a joke) – WoJ Oct 26 '20 at 20:35

If the goal is to translate "I have a pet", then j'ai un animal de compagnie is a correct translation while j'ai un animal alone doesn't necessarily mean it is a pet.


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    i thought it meant i have an animal.. thats why i'm asked. good to know thanks. – frencholic Oct 25 '20 at 1:44
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    It does mean "I have an animal". Not all animals are pets. For example a cow or a boar aren't. Animals contrast to plants. – jlliagre Oct 25 '20 at 9:47

An animal de compagnie (pet) is the animal who keeps company with his owner hence compagnie also called animal domestique, where domestique is the adjective of domicile meaning a house whether it means a flat or a farm or any kind of living arrangement. Whereas an animal is just that, it could be wild, dangerous, not necessarily living in your home and keeping you company.

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    I may be wrong but I believe farm animals (pigs, cows...) are 'animaux domestiques' although they are not 'animaux de compagnie'. – vc 74 Oct 25 '20 at 8:09
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    @vc74 The Larousse also says this: larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais/domestique/26365 (the "en vue d'obtenir une production" part"). – pb8330 Oct 25 '20 at 9:12
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    Would also depend on which French-speaking region/country...in QC we don't use domestique for farm animals and rather 'de compagnie' and 'domestiques' are interchangeable as house/companion animal. – avia Oct 26 '20 at 8:53

Note that in English, and in the US in particular, a pet is sometimes called a "companion animal," which would seem to be a direct, literal translation of "animal de compagnie."

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