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"Les États-Unis sont un grand pays."

Translation:The United States is a big country.

January 9, 2013

43 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bucko

"Les États-Unis sont..." is correct in French, although in English we would usually just say 'is'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs

"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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/angus390025

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)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkHolden8

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RemusSpence

My thoughts exactly lmao, its big very much not great


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JasonShaw1998

Thats what i said


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DianaM

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cal2025

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.


[deactivated user]

    (Yes, US history & politics is fascinating.)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/landmers

    Ehh. We've seen better days


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Faranae

    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!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoeyNguyn

    Why not 'un pays grand' like other French noun phrases


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/imlittleshy

    shouldn't it be "les états-unis sont un pays grand" ? the adjective comes after noun, as taught in the previous lessons...?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DianaM

    Usually but not always. This may help:
    https://www.thoughtco.com/introduction-to-french-adjectives-1368789
    (scroll down to the section on "Position of French Adjectives")


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jhymas12

    It did not accept "The United States is a big country" for me. This seems like it should be accepted. Am I missing something?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LaurynnSnow

    Meh, agree to disagree.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wiltrud607387

    Grand IS big or great, why is it wrong?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

    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)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sslawek

    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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sslawek

    Most of the time when talking about the U.S., we are talking about the singular country.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DianaM

    And if we were talking about the individual states, it would be unusual to append "united" to that.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/slmuren

    don't agree ✌️✌️✌️✌️


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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.


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

    But outside Duo, you can pick your own country (or any other) since you can now say it in French!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chris973043

    Could this not translate to an important country as well as a big country or a great country?


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

    "Big" is about its size, not to which extend it matters to the rest of the world.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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?


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

    "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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/revles

    '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?


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

    Context would tell.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkWalfor1

    I was happy with ' a big country '. Great is more of a value judgement


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DianaM

    "Grand" could mean either, although I think size is more often the first interpretation.
    https://www.wordreference.com/fren/grand


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizzrammstein

    Why isn't "large" for "grand" accepted?!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnthonyDeCruz

    This statement is debatable


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

    You can use "big" in translation.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kyro418473

    My problem with this sentence is that the English I am asked to translate said "the US is a GREAT country," which i took to mean powerful or strong. If I wanted to talk about its size I would not use "great" by itself, I'd use large or big. And if I'm saying it's a powerful country, the adjective would go after the noun: un pays grand (because grand is the only option, though it should be puissant or fort). They should not use Great as the translation, it's too ambiguous. You mean big? Say big.

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