"My only shoe"

Translation:Ma seule chaussure

January 22, 2013

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if i make shoe masculine why can't i make my and only also masculine and be correct? why in this case does shoe have to be feminine?


"Chaussure" is a feminine noun. You can't make a noun the gender of your choice. It is what it is. You just have to learn the gender as you learn the word.


I am an absolute beginner so this might be a silly question.. Does the noun determine what gender the whole sentence is?


It does not. The gender of the noun will determine the gender of its adjectives, possessive pronouns, etc., but there can be many nouns in a sentence. Also, it is important to note that ma, mon, and mes are used corresponding to the object in French (ma chaussure, mon parapluie) whereas in English we base it on the subject (his shoe, her umbrella).

And don't hesitate to ask these kinds of questions! All of this stuff is gone over in a regular language class, it's definitely important and a little confusing.


Because chaussure (shoe) itself is a feminine noun.


If chaussure is femenine why should "Mon unique chaussure" be the proper correction?? I used 'Ma' by the way.


For the same reason that we don't say "a apple." We don't like to put two vowels together. French is the same. So if the next word begins with a vowel or mute h, we need to flip to the other version. So "ma unique" will turn into "mon unique."

The go-to example for my students is when I remind them, "Is it the Fresh Prince of Beau-Air? No, it will flip to "Bel" (which sounds like "belle".)"


My wrong answer was "Ma seule de la chaussure". I thought we always need "le/la/les" or "des/du/de la" before nouns.


Except that "ma" takes the place of your definite or indefinite article (which you left out: un/une/des) or partitive. So add possessive pronouns to your mantra.


Seule counts as a number adjective? I wrote Ma chaussure seule and was marked wrong.


:) "Ma chaussure seule" would mean "My lonely shoe." There are a handful of adjectives that change their meaning from literal to figurative if you put them in front of the noun.

Par example, "un homme grand" = a tall man "un grand homme"= a great man

"mes propres mains" = my own hands (relating to "property") "mes mains propres" = my clean hands (relating to "clean and proper.")

"mon ancienne maison" = my former house (my old house where I used to live) "ma maison ancienne" = my old house (as in, it's 100 years old)

"mon cher ami"= my dear friend "mon ami cher" = uh, I dunno, maybe you had to pay a lot of money for him, because this would be "my expensive friend." I tell my students to think of this like, "I had to pay dearly."

These are fun to play around with!


I recall from some exercises that seul before the noun means only in the sense of "it is only my shoe", and seul after the noun means "it is my only shoe". I realise that is not the case here. Is that generally incorrect, or is it different for possession, or something else entirely? Thanks


Yup! You remembered correctly. Except that after the noun, it's more like a "lonely shoe." There are a handful of these fun adjectives. Generally, if it's in front, it's more figurative. Behind, it's more literal. Par example:

un homme grand = a tall man

un grand homme = a great man

mon ancienne maison = my old house (like, the house I used to live in)

une maison ancienne = an old house (like, it's on the historic list of places to visit)

une pauvre fille = a poor girl; feel sad for her

une fille pauvre = a poor girl; she has no money

I love these. They are fun to play with.


Thank you. So why in this case is "Ma seul chaussure" not "only my shoe" as in "it is not much, it is only my shoe"? And how would.one say that please?


Why Mon not allowed here. Is Mon only used when followed by a word begining with a vowel?


There are two times that mon would be used. Yes, you are right, if the next word has a vowel, you will use "mon" to keep an ugly glottal stop from happening. (Like if you get punched in the stomach and say "Ugh!" the first vowel sound will have a glottal stop.) The other time is if the next word is a singular noun that happens to have masculine gender. Like, "my pen" would be "mon stylo." If you memorize an "un" or an "une" in front of each noun, it doesn't take any extra brain work, and then you will automatically know if the noun is masculine or feminine. That will help immensely when you are matching adjectives or past participles, etc. to the noun.

Hope this helps!

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