"Les États-Unis sont un grand pays."

Translation:The United States is a great country.

6 years ago

37 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/bucko
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"Les États-Unis sont..." is correct in French, although in English we would usually just say 'is'.

6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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"Les États-Unis" is the name of a country. It is grammatically plural in French and but it is grammatically singular in English unless you are talking about the several states which comprise it.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/angus390025
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it is grammatically singular in English

except among extreme libertarians and the Strict Constructionists. True, in the popular press the phrase "these united states are..." had been mostly supplanted by the phrase "the united states is..." by around 1840, more than 20 years before the contest between States' Rights and Strong Central Government had been settled at the point of a bayonet; nevertheless, it is not grammatically incorrect to say "these united states are..." (just not common anymore)

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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Would you? not I, at least in French.

6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bucko
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Personally, yes I would. I rarely, if ever, hear "The United States are..." instead of "The United States is...". I also live in the UK where collective nouns are usually used with plural verbs (e.g. "The government are...") but this seems to be an exception.

6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Roe_
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In the UK we use either "is" or "are" depending on if we mean the body as a whole or the people in it. (eg "the government are meeting in parliament" vs "the government is passing a new law"). So "the United States is a big country" is normal, but we might also say "the United States are not in Europe". Apparently this is uncommon in the US.

6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/benwiley40

Yeah as an American it's pretty difficult for me to understand the logic behind the distinctions

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rowen776697

Are we meant to translate the French directly or uae the corrext English though? In English The United States, as a plural, warrants an Are rather than the singular Is.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zachwong
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In Australia as well, we refer to the "United States" as the (shortened) name for the singular country, thus we would use "is" instead of "are". Unless we were referring to a collection of "united states" (note the lower case) then it would be plural.

Having said this, because there's a "Les" in the front of the name, we'd have to follow the French convention of treating it as a plural, regardless of the capitalisation of the name.

6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RainOnRoof

In English we would say the United States is great. As a country the states are viewed collectively as a whole and therefore singular.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MaryAnne20

In Canada, we would say 'The United States is'/'the government is'/'everyone is' because they are seen as a single entity. With 'everyone', the syllable 'one' is a clue why we use 'is', yet we say 'all are'. Another clue to the use of 'is' here is what follows the verb...it is A great country...singular. On another note, if this wasn't multiple choice, I would have assumed it was referring to size, not greatness. Is there a way to tell the difference?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

"The United States is a big country" is also accepted.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Christoph832023

not for me

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/badguise

Before the Civil War, the United States was often referred to in the plural. "The United States are..." "The United States have...", etc. It was more common when the Federal government was practically nonexistent. The United States ARE a confederation of sovereign states, after all.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cal2025
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But they're not sovereign states in the same sense as other countries at all, they are completely subject to the federal government and they can not unilaterally secede.

US politics is fascinating.

3 years ago

[deactivated user]

    (Yes, US history & politics is fascinating.)

    7 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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    In your example, the emphasis is on the several states which comprise the country, the name of which is "The United States of America". If you are referring to the name of the country, "The United States (of America)" is grammatically singular in English.

    9 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/stancollins

    so you could say that based on that, "is/are" were close to equal until the years following the war, when "is" gained a clear advantage.

    3 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Faranae
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    American English typically treats collective nouns as singular rather than plural - "everyone is", not "everyone are". "The government is" never "the government are". Interesting to hear about the way British English deals with this! As the U.S. is a single nation (pays), and "grand" modifies "pays", that clause then describing "les etats-unis", I can see how this ends up with the weird disagreements. I do want to know how else this is dealt with in French!

    6 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/MarkHolden8

    No it's not, it's a big country!

    7 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/landmers
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    Ehh. We've seen better days

    3 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy
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    Isn't it? The s on the end of States indicates that it is plural in English. It is one country composed of a number of states which is reflected in its name. The United States (plural) of America (singular)

    6 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/sslawek
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    It's a subtle difference, but singular /plural agreement would depend on whether you are referring to the country or the actual collection of states that make up the country.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/sslawek
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    Most of the time when talking about the U.S., we are talking about the singular country.

    5 years ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/jacobdegeling

    It would be nice if Duolingo picked your own country to talk about. I'm not that interested in learning how to say the us is great.

    8 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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    But outside Duo, you can pick your own country (or any other) since you can now say it in French!

    8 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Mega-Slowking
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    I rather want to know if it is socially acceptable to say the sentence in front of French. At least I heard many times that French have a bit of inferior complex toward Americans, maybe just a stereotype.

    2 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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    You can say it because rationally, and according to a good number of criteria, it is objectively true. I don't know that the French have any bit of inferior complex toward anybody.

    2 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/SavitriRao

    Does grand mean both big and great in French? I'm confused.Is there no other synonym for great in French other than grand?

    6 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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    "Grand" can mean tall, large, big, great, grand... depending on context.

    This sentence missing context, you have a choice:

    Un grand pays = a big/large country or a great country

    6 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/LaurynnSnow

    Meh, agree to disagree.

    2 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Chris973043
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    Could this not translate to an important country as well as a big country or a great country?

    7 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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    "Big" is about its size, not to which extend it matters to the rest of the world.

    7 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Wanda655505

    Why can't the United States be a big country and/or a great country. I thought Grande meant big as well as great. I do think it's great because I was born here, but surely it could mean big just as well.

    3 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/revles
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    'great' has two meanings in English. Firstly it means 'big' Secondly it means 'important' as in 'Make America Great Again'. Which of these meanings is the French sentence meant to convey?

    4 months ago

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
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    Context would tell.

    4 months ago
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