Translation:I have a pair of very thin socks.
It shouldn't be. Report it. You could say it in English with no fear of being misunderstood.
Similarly, what is your opinion about "I have a very thin pair of socks"?
Though English is my first language, I find "pair of" nouns rather confusing to construct with adjectives.
We could use that and be understood in English, but it isn't technically correct. "Very thin" is modifying "pair" and not "socks" in that sentence.
Zachary, there is a difference between what a person could have said or might have said in a particular situation, and what they actually do say.
In other words, an English speaker might say "I have a fine pair of socks" or, in the same situation, they might say "I have a pair of fine socks." These two statements are "situationally equivalent" in the sense that either could be said to make the same point.
But that does not change the fact that the two statements are different -- in particular, grammatically different when made in French and a grammatical form of the adjective must be chosen.
It is clear from the French we are given here what was actually said and what the correct translation therefore is. This is not a question of being "pedantic", it is a question of translating what is actually in front of us.
Yes, and both the pair and the socks are very thin, because they're the same item!
Its only incorrect at the most pedantic level. Because we don't expect to find socks in anything but a pair it is obvious the modifier applies to a "pair of socks" not just the "pair". Compare this to the way an English speaker could say "I have a very thin bundle of socks," where we would be led to assume the bundle is thin, but we can simultaneously say "I have a very thin pair of jeans," where it is obvious the speaker is not referring to a set of jeans. If the English speaker were to say "I have a pair of thin jeans," we would be led to assume they actually have a matching set of thin jeans, not that a single pair of pants was in fact thin. So while this might confound a precise evaluation of grammar, because usage is important in the development of language the "pair of..." construction should be regarded as correct.
Well we are supposed to be talking about French here, not English. For speaking English, the question is mostly academic. But for French, a distinction must be made because the adjective has to agree with the correct noun. As you can see, as we are being told, the proper noun for agreement is plural, not singular. So it must be chaussettes not paire.
Shouldn't we say fine (not fines) as it modifies une pair which is not plural?
No, "fines" here does not modify "paire". It modifies "chaussettes". It's the same with the English. We are speaking here of "a pair of fine socks", not of "a fine pair of socks". (And here French "fine" means "thin", not "high-quality".)
Très fines is absolutely not modifying une paire in this sentence.
I thought about this too. I think both should be correct as the adjective could qualify either of the nouns, however we tend to attribute agreement of number and gender to the adjective closest to a noun,
No, there is only one correct solution. It is quite clear from the French that "fines" modifies "chaussettes", not "paire". See my comment above.
Just a comment: I know you are technically correct but "a very thin pair of socks" is in common usage.
I'm not going to post URLs because it could be construed as advertising, but I'll make my point with a bunch of quotes anyway:
"At HJ Hall we produce a huge variety of socks; the sort of fine socks beloved of city gents...."
"Ideal for both smart and casual attire, these Green Multi Stripe Fine Socks from the sock master MrD London are almost guaranteed to make your working day a bit brighter."
"3 pack fine socks, plain and patterned at our Online Shop!"
"Ravelry: Fine and Dandy Socks pattern by Jessica Gore."
I mean, the sentence you were asked to translate might not even be referring to thin socks. Many adjectives have multiple meanings and this one is applied to socks all the time in both English and French - sometimes in relation to the material thickness, sometimes in relation to the way they look.
Alex, your examples show how the English word "fine" is used, not how the French word is used.
Ah, hoisehold items - my weak spot. I gotta start speaking in French at home!
How would one write in French " I have a very fine pair of socks"?. Fine meaning good quality or finely woven. Anyone.. please. Thankyou.
Normally, we can agreed with paire or chaussettes therefore fine can be with or without s**.
Nothing is wrong with your proposed sentence. In fact, that is the DL translation used here.
That would be wrong. You want to say "pair of socks", not "pair of the socks".
Why not "des chaussettes" des is the plural of "de" and chaussettes is plural. So does "de" belong to "une paire" and not chaussettes?
paire de chausettes = pair of shoes
paire des chausettes = pair of the shoes
Joan, your assertion that "des is the plural of de" is not really correct.
The use of the two words is more complicated than that. Each word has its own uses and functions.
You are correct that des is used with plural nouns. But de is used both with singular and plural nouns.
Furthermore,des does not mean just of. It sometimes means some (i.e., plural indefinite article), and so on. Best to have another look.
I agree. I said "fine" because it seemed to me that it modified "paire", not "chaussettes." I'm really tired of being told that my answers are not correct on this program! I taught French for over thirty years and usually know what I'm talking about!
Here, however, we are given the French first, and it is clear that "fineS" is a plural form of the adjective, and therefore must modify the plural noun "chausettes", not the singular noun "paire".