Good question, from perspective that colloquial English speakers often use "their" as a gender-avoidance alternative to "his" or "her." If I had to guess, Duolingo wants to make sure that we know the difference between the singular and plural possessives. So you should be glad to know that you could translate as "his big pockets" or as "her big pockets," and both would be equally correct. While my guess is that Duolingo only wants "their big pockets" in response to "leurs grandes poches."
See, here's what I understand..... on another comment, I saw that someone had asked what the difference was between 'grande' and 'grosse' and someone else had answered that 'grande means 'long' , so, does that mean that this person's pocket is long? or could they have used the word 'grosses' instead????
There are several words in French which are translated as "big" but they carry different connotations:
- grand(e) : "big" or "tall" (in reference to a person). It can also mean great or grand in an appropriate context and can change meaning when placed before or after the noun it modifies.
- large : "big" in the sense of wide or broad; it is not used to describe a person
- gros(se) : means big or large (in volume), broad, fat
From the plural "ses grandes poches", you cannot know the gender of the thing possessing those big pockets without context (which we don't have here). So it could be either "his big pockets" or "her big pockets". But not "his/her pockets are big. That is a different expression. Ses poches sont grandes.
I gave you the literal translation that some French people speaking English use with the same meaning. But I am not sure that French people who don't speak English may immediately understand it.
We usually describe people with deep pockets as "il est riche comme Crésus", "il est plein aux as", "il a les moyens", "il a de la thune", "il est blindé"...
"son, sa and ses" are possessive adjectives. Like all adjectives, they agree in gender and number with the noun they modify.
his/her/its pocket = sa poche: "une poche" is feminine
his/her/its coat = son manteau: "un manteau" is masculine
his/her/its gloves and socks = ses gants (masculine plural) et ses chaussettes (feminine plural)
"son, sa, ses" is the translation for "his" or "her" or "its". So you can't know the nature or gender of the owner.
"son" is used of the possession is masculine and singular, "sa" if it is feminine and singular and "ses" if it is plural. "son" is also used if the possession is feminine and starts with a vowel sound, to avoid the vowel sound conflict.
Translating "son, sa or ses" to "their" is not an option here, since all sentences have to translate both ways and "their" would back translate to "leur, leurs".
In English, "their" can also be used when referring to a singular person whose gender is either not known or not important. This sentence is, in fact, a sentence fragment and so there's no way of knowing who or what it is referring to. If it were referring to "Someone who has their hands in their big pockets" then those "their"s would not (I don't think) translate to "leur" because the antecedent was a singular person and not multiple people.
In cases like this where no antecedent is present singular "their" should be accepted.
So then do you agree that it is a possible translation but that Duolingo just doesn't accept it?
This is a sentence (fragment) that's being translated from French to English and not the other way around but even in that case "their big pockets" could (I think) translate to either "leurs grandes poches" or "ses grandes poches" because there would be no indication of whether "their" was referring to a person or to people.
I don't see what "thinking in French" has to do with anything here. If thinking in French is the goal (and I agree that it should be) then there should be fewer sentence fragments like this one and more complete/complicated sentences which demonstrate more of the language.
This sentence fragment is just confusing, especially when proper English translations are dismissed as "not French enough" (or whatever).
"Son, sa and ses" are a clear indication that the owner is a single person, animal or thing.
The English "their" is possible in context, for instance when you use "anyone" or "someone" as a subject, like "someone has money in their big pockets".
Otherwise, there is nothing preventing you from translating "son, sa, ses" to "his, her, its".
"Ses" (his/her/its) and "ces" (these/those) are homophones, so without context and in dictation, you cannot know which it is.
The system cannot accept a sentence which is not listed as a correct translation for the original written sentence. To have homophones accepted, we need to report them to the developers who then apply a specific filter to the dictation exercise and in the meantime, we disable the "type what you hear" exercise.
"Une poche" is a feminine noun, whatever happens, and all determiners and adjectives related to this noun have to agree in feminine: "une/la/sa/cette grande poche".
"Ses" translates to "his, her or its" when the object possessed is in plural, masculine or feminine.
Therefore "ses grandes poches" can translate to "his/her/its big pockets". All three versions are accepted.