"My brother wants to be an engineer."
Translation:Mon frère veut être un ingénieur.
Can someone explain why there are the two correct translations - one with an "un" and another without?
Because you can technically say an engineer, but french professions don't require it.
Yes this is true and what they teach us throughout but then they throw this in for the sake of it, simply because it is also technically correct. But it's a most unnecessary point to prove. People want to learn, not to be caught out like some game.
what's frustrating is I have put un before other occupations and been marked wrong. Games are fine as long as the rules are clear.
Ah, but the game is the only way Duolingo teaches us. Besides, a heart is a small price for clarification, I'd say.
But aren't careers always treated as adjectives when etre and indirect articles are involved, and therefore don't take an indirect article ever? Direct articles are fine though. If I'm wrong, please let me know, but I distinctly remember my teacher one year threatening to throw chalk at whoever made that mistake again.
I checked several grammar sites and they say that you should not use the indefinite article between the verb "être" and a profession. For example: http://french.about.com/od/vocabulary/a/professions.htm http://www.learn-french-help.com/indefinite-article.html
I will comment that this seems wrong and if it is technically correct ask that they (1) have a native speaker join this discussion and explain the rule and (2) correct the rest of the lessons to accept "un" or "une" between "être" and a profession.
I think that the un is accidentally slipped in once in a while. I'm pretty sure when talking about people's professions, there is no 'un'. It's just He is lawyer_...
If the translation with "un" is also correct, why Duo didn't accept it in other examples?
Yes, however to an English speaker "wants to be" and "wants to become" mean the same for the context of the sentence given here.
Pretty close in common usage, but the meaning is not exactly the same - "to become" implies the process of becoming a lawyer - law school, bar exams, etc. "To be" is focused on the final state. Real life example - last night at dinner my daughter said she wants to be a lawyer. What she doesn't want is to go to law school or study for exams. :-)