"The bear is big."
Translation:L'ours est gros.
When it comes to bears, I think you can consider "grand" or "gros" interchangeably.
In another comment Remy (staff member) says that "grand" is not used for elephants, but "gros". Instead for bear we can?
It depends on context, really. If you are talking about a "grand éléphant", it means it is tall (vs baby or vs small) and the same applies to bears. "un gros éléphant" or "un gros ours" refer to their respective volume.
But in English, large means big. And since we are translating into English, large should be an aceptable translation
in the English sentence it's singular "bear" than in the French one it's plural "l'ours" why?
it is singular (article L' = le), it is just that "ours" already has a final -s in the singular form. and you should hear that final -s: OORSS
Just as for "le chat" and "le chien", the generic animal is masculine by default.
The same applies to animals having a feminine noun: une fourmi, une girafe, une souris... all of these are used when you don't know whether the animal is male of female. If you know that the ant, giraffe or mouse is male, you use "une fourmi mâle, une girafe mâle, une souris mâle".
So how would you describe a big bear that was also fat e.g. Before hibernation. Would that be l'ours est grand et gros
When the article of a noun is abbreviated (i.e. "L'oisseau" or "l'ours") how can I know if the noun is masculine or feminine???
"gross" is not a French word.
There is no absolute answer to your question, just trends:
• human beings: il est gros (fat), il est grand (tall), c'est un grand homme (great). Intentionally, "grand" is more appreciative than "gros": c'est un gros commerçant (making money); c'est un grand industriel (respectable).
• animals: un gros chien (contrary of "petit chien", so rather big); un grand chien (tall and slim)
• real things: gros manteau (thick/heavy), grosses chaussures (big/heavy), grande robe (long), grande avenue(wide), grand vin (great wine).
• concepts: un grand rire (big), un gros or grand chagrin (deep/great)
Why is it essential to write l'ours ? Why cant I just write le ours or la ourse ?
It is matter of euphony. Keeping two vowel sounds like "euh" or "ah" and "oo" one after the other creates a hiatus (not a nice sound).
"gros (masc sing), grosse (fem sing), gros (masc plur), grosses (fem plur)" means "voluminous" and often, for people: "fat".