"Le meuble est noir."

Translation:The piece of furniture is black.

January 7, 2013

94 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/maparis

How do we know it's specifically a cabinet? Why is simply "furniture" not accepted?

January 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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In English, furniture has a plural meaning. You would therefore have to say "a piece of furniture" to translate "un meuble".

January 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/jkitts

While furniture is plural in meaning, it is singular in usage (The furniture is in the way, not: the furniture are in the way). Much like fish or sheep. There are words in french like le pantelon which translates in english as a plural, pants or trousers. Ergo, meuble should be translatable as furniture since you would not have to translate it as "piece of furniture"..

As a further note, I have not found "cabinet" listed as meaning of "meuble" in my dictionary.

August 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/ejm_etherwork

I couldn't believe that I had to change my answer from "The furniture..." to "The piece of furniture..." I agree with jkitts and will report it.

December 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/4Elysa
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But is Sitesurf not saying that in French the meaning of 'furniture' is also plural? 'Meuble' in its singular form can only mean one piece of furniture or specifically a cabinet. 'Furniture,' as we use it in English, would be translated as 'meubles' plural. "The furniture is in the way" would be "Les meubles sont (sur mon chemin?)".

March 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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"un meuble" is not plural. for the collective "furniture", we use "le mobilier" or "l'ameublement".

the furniture is in the way = les meubles sont sur mon chemin.

March 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/jonthawk

If I opened a door and there was a table in my way, I would say "The furniture is in my way."

Translating that as "Les meubles..." would be incorrect, since the furniture in my way is singular.

July 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/driusan
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When you say "the furniture is in the way" in English you're still talking about all (or an indeterminate amount) of the furniture in a general/plural sense. When you say un meuble in French you're referring to one singular piece of furniture. Maybe a desk, maybe a cabinet, maybe a side table, it's not specific but it's quite explicitly a singular piece of furniture that we don't really have a way to express in English other than by adding "piece of" to the translation.

May 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonKerr2

Except this usage practically does not exist in normal everyday speech. The expectation that a native English speaker would respond with this usage is utterly ridiculous.

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonKerr2

It is not perfectly reasonable when the expected English construct is so far from natural use as this one is. You are asking the user to fabricate something (an artificial construct) from nothing (for it simply isn't used this way) when there is already a perfectly natural (albeit less literal) translation, which is more idiomatically correct.

It may seem reasonable, and if you included it within the actual instruction, it could conceivably be reasonable. But in current form, it is not.

January 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/XieC2

But the expectation here is actually that an English speaker will understand the French usage and indicate that understanding in their translation, which is perfectly reasonable.

September 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/FelicitySpeed
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But 'furniture' can be singular in english too you do not need to specify singular or plural. It is NOT always plural as you appear to be saying

November 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/mrbennet
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'Furniture' is a mass noun. It refers collectively to the movable articles with which a house, or a building, or a room, is furnished. That could occasionally only be one such article, but the word 'furniture' still isn't singular the way a count noun like 'chair' is (and it isn't plural either). It's not syntactically equivalent to 'meuble', which is a count noun.

November 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/krista189497
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jkitts, a brilliant answer. it is a Duo mistake and it still is not corrected. I have given you a lingot

October 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Patrick106262

That is not always the case. If I bought a new cabinet, I could say to someone "Do you like my new furniture?". If I wanted help moving my sofa, I might ask "Could you help me carry this furniture?". It is like "sheep"- one sheep, two sheep.

I appreciate that this can be complicated, but its frustrating having an answer in a French teaching application be marked incorrect because of overly fussy (and incorrect) interpretation of English grammar.

December 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/XieC2

With respect, I honestly cannot agree. In your examples, "furniture" is being used as a category, not as a singular noun referring to a specific piece of furniture. Compare "livestock" as an English word that functions similarly. There is no such thing as "a livestock"; when you ask someone what they think of your new livestock, or to help you move "this" livestock, you are referring not to individual pieces of livestock but to an item or items that belong to that category.

You are not referring to some hypothetical singular "a livestock" even if the number of heads of livestock in that category happens to be one; livestock is a singular category, and requires a modifier such as "head of" in order to refer to a single item in that category. Neither are you referring to some hypothetical singular "a furniture" even if the number of pieces of furniture in that category happens to be one; furniture is a singular category, and requires modifiers such as "piece of" or "stick of" in order to refer to a singular item within that category.

"That furniture is black" heavily implies plurality in English; "That piece of furniture is black" is much more natural when referencing a singular piece of furniture, both to hear and to say. The French « immeuble » doesn't work the same way as "furniture", so when translating you cannot simply go from one word to the other; you must accommodate such differences in order to preserve the nuance of your meaning and the naturalness of your delivery.

You're right, it can be complicated. But I for one find it frustrating when native English speakers complain about being marked wrong when they are, in fact, wrong. I'm sure you can find francophones out there who find the majority of Parisian French "overly fussy" and perhaps even "incorrect", and yet you are still here learning it - because it is the standard to learn by, to which all other dialects of French give a nod. How much better to learn something new about your native language than to get hung up on it!

December 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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"immeuble" = building; "meuble" = piece of furniture

December 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonKerr2

You're incorrect. In ONE of his examples, furniture is used as a category. In the OTHER there is a synecdochical substitution so that what is normally a collective noun is actually used in the singular. It is so much more common in English to phrase it this way, that in many use cases it will sound so unnatural as to be incorrect to say, "piece of furniture" when "furniture" can be used in the singular in this way.

Stop telling us we are missing the point when you are the one missing the point.

January 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Phosphorus347

But you're still missing the point!!………well, maybe…

May 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Carla472872

The thing is that I wouldn't use 'furniture' in that sense at all - I'd be specific and call it a table or cabinet or whatever the item of furniture actually was. The only time I'd say 'item of furniture' would be to categorise something as such.

July 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Snefferdy

No, this is simply not correct: "How many furnitures do you have? I have 3 furnitures?"

Correct English REQUIRES you to say, "how many pieces of furniture do you have? I have 3 pieces of furniture."

January 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonKerr2

Your example only makes the distinction of whether the noun is countable or not. Not whether it can be used in the singular, which it can.

So, when speaking of only one piece (as in the exercise in question), it is perfectly correct to say, "Will you help me move this furniture?" After moving the item, the helper may look to you to see if any additional items are to be moved (because it can be ambiguous), but they will not be surprised to find that you only intended to move the one, because it can be singular.

January 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Phosphorus347

Well, the word refers to a singular object, but it is actually still plural.

May 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/duogm

@sitesurf, am i the only one who is hearing "le meme" instead of le meuble in the audio?

July 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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The woman's audio is mediocre, because the word "meuble" is cut short and a tiny pause follows, whereas you should hear "meuble + est" in one go: [muhblay]. Have you tried the slow version?

August 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/duogm

Ill look for that. Thanks.

August 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/januszekpl

Oh come on.. Really? Piece of furniture? Who speaks like that? The point is not to translate languages word by word but to translate meanings in the easiest and common way. I think "the furniture is black" should be accepted.

May 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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If Duolingo does not oblige you to take a good look at the fact that "furniture" translates to a countable noun, you will not remember it easily.

If Duolingo lets you translate "un meuble" to "furniture", how will you translate "furniture" next time you need it?

May 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/fallgirl123

But it says "the furniture" not "a furniture", I do not understand.

June 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Josh5now

I translated "Le meuble est noir" as "The furniture is black," and was marked wrong. My 'boeuf' with this is that I looked up (before I was even presented this sentence) the word 'meuble' on wiktionary, a source I trust, and it said that 'meuble,' in its singular form can be collective, referring to all the pieces of furniture in a room. With this definition in mind, I thought my translation made a lot of sense. Perhaps wiktionary got it wrong? Any explanation from a native Francophone?

June 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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"furniture", it its singular form can be collective, referring to all the pieces of furniture in a room.

not "meuble", which is only a piece of furniture (ie: un tabouret ou une chaise ou un fauteuil ou une table ou une armoire ou un placard ou une penderie ou un secrétaire ou une commode ou un lit... is that enough?)

June 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonKerr2

Except that this usage is practically not existent in normal usage. To a native English speaker, to say "The piece of furniture is in the way," is so clumsy that any speaker would readily replace it with "furniture" in normal usage.
The expectation that a native English speaker would readily translate the phrase this way is pedantic and silly.

To put it another way, using the English collective here to translate the French singular is more correct in terms of usage than a more literal translation.

November 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/XieC2

Using the English collective here to translate the French singular is neither more figuratively correct nor more literally correct, so I don't know why you bring up the literalness of the translation, or how the incorrect translation can be "more correct".

December 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonKerr2

I mean more lexically correct, which should take priority over the literal sense.

January 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/XieC2

In what way do you purport that it is more lexically correct? There is no problem with the current translation.

January 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonKerr2

I mean that it is is more natural to the native ear, the alternative being noticeably awkward when spoken and appearing overly wordy and stilted when written.

February 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/krista189497
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Jason Kerr 2 correct!!!!!

October 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Josh5now

You make absolute sense, thank you :) My confusion came about because I saw the definition "(Au singulier) (Collectivement) Toute la garniture d’un appartement, d’une chambre, d’un cabinet, etc." on a site I thought I could trust. With examples like "Il a un beau meuble de salon."

June 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Alathat
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So - are you saying - despite the fact that "meuble" can function as a collective, that it would have to be "Les meubles sont noirs" or what would be the correct sentence to align with "The furniture is black?" Or are collectives like "ce" as the subject, and you would use "Le meuble sont noirs"? That really seems wrong, but I'm just learning about collectives - so - ???

February 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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Le meuble est noir / Les meubles sont noirs respect the usual rules of conjugation and agreement of the adjective with the noun (masculine, singular or plural).

"un meuble" does not function as a collective, the collective noun is "l'ameublement": l'ameublement est noir (masculine, singular)

February 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/KathrynFowler

Just to pitch in here. Whilst all the singular plural/collective /singular noun use all makes grammatical sense, the real problem is that the sentence translation is incredibly clumsy. It is difficult to think of a circumstance where a British person would say "the piece of furniture is black" ... perhaps the solution is to change the sentence to be a translation of That piece of furniture is back... ce meuble est noir, je pense!

March 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/kalukuhan
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Hmmm ... "Le meuble est noir" (the piece of furniture is black) or "les meubles sont noir" (the furniture [collective] is black, or the pieces of furniture are black). Never "le meuble sont noirs." "Meuble" will only be used with singular verbs and adjectives, and "meubles" with plurals. It's not like "ce," where you can have either "c'est" or "ce sont" depending on context. Un peu plus clair, j'espère?

February 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Michael_France

Tnx for new vocab words.

June 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Cheyne
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Elsewhere in Duolingo "noir" is allowed to be translated as dark. And every online definition I've seen has "dark" as one of its meanings. Considering it completely makes sense here it really seems it should be accepted.

May 30, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/The_D

I know what you are talking about. I just spent 15 minutes going through my massive notecard collection and I finally found it. lol.

You are thinking of the following sentence: ''Les chats peuvent voir dans le noir.'' The translation provided by Duolingo was: ''The cats can see in the dark.''

June 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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I don't think so. There is indeed a difference between "dark" and "black" ("sombre/foncé" and "noir").

"dark blue" = bleu foncé "a dark night" = une nuit sombre

May 31, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/kalukuhan
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I think it's dependent on context. Dark chocolate or black coffee are "noir" as opposed to milk-containing (au lait). Furniture comes in various dark shades, and "noir" is then more specific. Maybe a native speaker can enlighten (or endarken).

January 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/kalukuhan
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Also "lunettes noires" means "sunglasses" or "dark glasses," rather than "black glasses."

February 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ubernichts

Your examples refer to dim lighting, not dark colours, I guess darkness is blackness in French.

October 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/kacenka9
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I translated it as "The cabinet is black" and lost a heart. Now what? Why?

August 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Ringthebells

The same thing happened to me. Is there something about the sentence that indicates meuble doesn't mean cabinet here, or is it a mistake in Duo's programming?

August 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/neverfox

Well, «meuble» by itself doesn't mean cabinet, as far as the dictionaries I've consulted say, and despite what the drop-down here says.

August 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JanetHudgins

Le meuble est noir. How can it be "the item of furniture," or "the cabinet?" It's clear enough that it's just "the furniture."

April 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mathbobcod

"The furniture piece is black" was marked wrong. This seems like an error to me.

June 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/BioJess
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This is not really English. "The piece of furniture is black" is the correct translation.

The only way your sentence makes sense is if "piece" is short for "a piece of art" and if "furniture" is used as an adjective: meaning "The art installation about furniture is black."

November 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/XieC2

As a native speaker, I would also mark your sentence wrong.

February 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonKerr2

Contrary to what others have told you, your construct, "the furniture piece" has long been in use in exactly this way in the interior design industry and has gained serious traction in mainstream speech. I would argue that it is probably more likely to be heard in everyday use than "the piece of furniture," though probably not as much as "a piece of furniture." If I had thought of it, I probably would have put it as my answer.

February 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/XieC2

Many instances of industry jargon are inappropriate for a basic language learning exercise. You may want to consider that this may be one of them.

February 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/mrbennet
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I'll take your word for "the furniture piece" being used in industry, but "the piece of furniture" is much more common overall.

https://goo.gl/sojTuj

February 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/JoelFeil

Can I not translate this as "the cabinet is black"

August 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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No, because "un meuble" can be a table or a stool.

August 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/PhilMacK

On the multiple choice version, I was marked incorrect because I didn't choose "the cabinet is black" along with "the piece of furniture is black." But when asked to translate the same sentence, I was marked wrong for "the cabinet is black," which I used only because I was marked wrong when I didn't select that as a correct translation before. Some consistency would be nice. It is confusing.

March 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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Nowhere in the French course itself can "meuble" be translated to "cabinet", neither in the sentences' accepted translations, nor in the hints (when you hover on "meuble").

However, I found out that in the English course for French speakers, the word "cabinet" could be translated to "un meuble". So I have had to assume that there was a kind of spillover from the reverse course.

I therefore changed the reverse course accordingly, so that the generic "un meuble" is no longer accepted as a correct translation for the specific "cabinet", or vice-versa, in either course.

March 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/PhilMacK

Thanks. I was surprised when the exercise counted "cabinet" as an acceptable translation for "un meuble." Glad to know that will not happen again.

March 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/kolovari
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There is a cat on the sofa, one on the table, one on the love seat and one on the chair. Chaque chat a se meuble.

July 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/mrbennet
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Chaque chat a son meuble.

July 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Paul771085

The word 'furniture' is certainly not plural alone, it can also be singular!

January 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/mrbennet
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It's neither plural nor singular (you certainly wouldn't refer to 'a furniture'), it's a mass noun.

January 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ThomasChaplin

As a native English speaker, I agree with MrBennet's comment near the end. I doubt that most English speakers would refer to a single piece of furniture as just "the furniture" they would specify "the table, the chair, etc." It's more natural. Once there is more than one piece you aren't usually going to recite a list of it so "the furniture" covers it.
I find it surprising that some native English speakers say they would refer to a single piece of furniture as "the furniture". I would rarely do that. I have to to think of unusual situations where I might say it in context just to clarify, but otherwise it would seem awkward or forced to me. The French presents us with a sentence that demands we indicate in English that it is a single piece or item of furniture even though we would normally avoid this by specifying what type of furniture. I was taught to handle this scenario by referring to it as a piece of furniture. It's common to hear furniture lovers' refer to a beautiful piece of furniture as a "nice piece or a beautiful piece". "Piece of furniture" gets 40,500,000 hits on Google and the first one is a Wiktionary entry for that term. So it's definitely not an unusual usage in my view.

July 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Natka01
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cabinet as an office?

January 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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No, cabinet as a file cabinet (piece of furniture)

January 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/kalukuhan
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Maybe a piece of furniture in an office (bad joke).

February 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/eellrraatt
January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/HelbentForleder

This is still BS. I hate being told how to speak my native language. Furniture is uncountable in English. No reason that a person wouldn't say 'The furniture is black.' It can mean the piece. For God sakes... Change the accepted answers already.

October 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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There is a good reason, though:

  • the furniture is black = le mobilier est noir (= table + chairs + sofa + cupboard + chest of drawers...)

  • UN meuble = ONE piece of furniture

October 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/MzMolly65

Why can't we use dark since some furniture is dark in colour without being actually black? Is there a grammatical reason here?

February 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/mrbennet
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In this context, 'noir' means 'black'. It could translate to 'dark' if you were talking about the absence of light ('il fait noir dehors' = 'it's dark outside'), or about dark chocolate or maybe a few other specific things, but when you're describing the colour of something, 'noir' is always 'black'. 'Dark' would be 'foncé' in this context.

February 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MzMolly65

Thank you. So if I understand you correctly, if I have a dark brown couch I could say, "Mon canapé est fonce."

February 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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marron foncé

February 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MzMolly65

Yes thank you, but i don't have to add the marron in there if I'm just explaining that my couch is a dark colour but that it's not black .. right?

February 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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Oui.

February 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/DarrellMoy

"The furniture piece is black" marked wrong?

August 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MTCarey
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It seems that the phrase the piece of furniture is black is obslete in English, If it is one peice of furniture we would refer to it as the chair, or the table or the wardrobe, or even the thingy-me-jig before we would think of using the phrase a piece of furniture. A piece of furniture tells us little information other than it is an object in a room. amongst many other objects. I however feel it is an important learning pont that the French do use it , and it is important that when it is used it dsecribes one item alone not a collection. We english speaker know immediately when someone uses sheeps that they are not native speakers. Knowing this about furniture may help us not sound too ridiculous.

February 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/stevieleser

In an exercise later it translates meuble as cabinet

June 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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Forget about it. "Un meuble" is any piece of furniture whereas "a cabinet" is a specific piece of furniture (most often: une armoire, un buffet, une vitrine... ).

June 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CarlosR910775

Is there any difference between "the piece of furniture" and "the furniture piece?"

June 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/C.MichlSch

In the same lesson we have "meuble" meaning both "cabinet" & "a piece of furniture." I don't know which needs to go, but I would suggest Cabinet be either counted correct or removed from this lesson entirely.

September 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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"Un meuble" can be a chair or a table, so "cabinet" is not a correct tranlation for "un meuble".

The best translatioin is "a piece of furniture".

September 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/NickRrrr

Who in english would ever say "The item of furniture is black", "The furniture is black" is more natural, I disagree with Sitesurf, the word is commonly used this way in English.

October 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/mrbennet
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"The furniture is black" implies more than one item though. In practice we'd just be more specific: "the chair/cabinet/sideboard/whatever is black". Just another instance of usage differing enough between languages to make translation awkward.

October 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/fallgirl123

The furniture is black. I do not see why that is marked wrong. That is exactly what we would say in English.

June 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/krista189497
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Reading comments and sitesurf's explanation I think I now understand what sitesurf is explaining here. ... just we use the English expression in a different way than the French do... and so I think the message is that le meuble can only be a piece of furniture, although in English you just would say" the furniture... or you would specify what kind of furniture one means......

October 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Ahmet951952
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Why not " the furniture is black"

January 6, 2019
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