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"Les enfants sont de bons élèves."

Translation:The children are good students.

February 17, 2013

36 Comments


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

I am sure I have read this somewhere but can't recall it. Why does the french sentence "Les enfants sont de bons élèves." has "de" in it, instead of "Les enfants sont bons élèves.". Is it the fact that its translating to "some" here?


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

please look at the singular form: l'enfant est un bon élève (the child is a good student).

structure: noun + verb be/être + another noun, defining the first one (+ adjective in front or after).

now, back to plural: the plural of "un " is "des", but when "des" is in front of an adjective, it is changed to "de".

However, "élève(s)" can be used as an adjective as well, so you can also say "les enfants sont bons élèves" or "les enfants sont bonnes élèves".


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

Ah, of course! Thanks mate


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

I don't understand the last paragraph. If "élève(s)" can be an adjective, so "bon" now becomes a noun or remains an adjective too? And what would "élève(s)" as adjective mean exactly?


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

"élève" can be used as a noun or as an adjective, just like professions:

  • he is a teacher = il est professeur (adj) or c'est un professeur (noun)
  • she is a student = elle est élève à l'école X (adj) or c'est une élève de l'école X

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

I understand now, so not adjective in the English sense, but the French sense (professions).

EDIT: thanks for the reply below


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

One big difference between English and French is that in English you can use nouns as adjectives (but the opposite is rare) whereas in French, you can use adjectives as nouns (but the opposite is rare).


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

Is there a reason why this couldn't translate into a generic "Children are good students"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

Except that as a general statement, it is on its face, untrue. Since not all children are good students, such a general statement is invalid.


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

I think you might still make it as a comparative general statement though - for example "Adults find learning new languages difficult, but because their brains are still malleable, children are good students"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/m1croMEGAS

i agree. one of the books i use to practice reading french contains very well-known analogy of gaining knowledge through imitation of children. they spend more time and have an unmatchable dedication to learning (everything), especially language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

We can always make a case for a different interpretation by adding additional information, qualifications, conditions, or comparisons.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sally410

Neurology is neurology. Children have to learn a massive amount of information, therefore Mother Nature has given them the wholly exceptional ability to process and store information. Sadly, they do not always realise this at the time, they are too busy. But surely it is something to celebrate and look back on. 'Youth is wasted on the young' is a decidedly sour saying, especially as anyone can put their mind to feeling young!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nerevarine1138

Wait, are we supposed to be evaluating the validity of the sentence in our translation? Because if this is the case, then we need to fix every DL course in every language.

If it's a possible translation, it should be accepted, full stop.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

No, what you need to do is determine if it makes sense to interpret the statement as a general one or a specific one. Because there are errors somewhere else does not justify allowing an error here. You cannot make every expression of "les xxx" into a generic statement. Example: "L'essence coûte très cher en France" would be interpreted as "Gasoline is very expensive in France", not "the gasoline", partly because of the nature of the sentence and partly because of the context (in France).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nerevarine1138

Well for starters, we could actually use "the gasoline" in that example, but you're right, it's preferable without it. "Children are good students," is just as acceptable as, "The children are good students," without any specifics to tell us that we're talking about a specific set of children. There's no error, because the sentence makes sense both ways.


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

However, true or not, a judgmental statement remains a statement. Yet, if I were to give such a 'general' statement, I would probably phrase it differently so that my counterparts know that "les enfants" are "all children", like: "en général, les enfants sont..." or "les enfants apprennent facilement", for instance.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

"Les enfants sont de bons élèves" (without modification or other context) would not be understood as a general statement but as referring to a specific group of children. i.e., the children. To treat it as "children are good students" (instead of "the children"), is on its face a mistaken premise. Let me give an example. Les enfants tiennent mal (or) Les enfants sont sages. Substitute any other adjective or adjectival phrase after être: bêtes, intelligents, noirs, blancs (these cannot be taken as generalized statements just because we say "les enfants"). Or a noun "Les enfants sont des filles", cannot be understood as "Children are girls". Just because the plural French noun "les" + noun may be taken as a general statement does not mean that it will fit in every situation. I certainly agree that in order to be clear, one would add "en général" if you intend to make a broad judgmental statement, knowing that otherwise it would be taken very badly.


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

You're right, context (again) would clarify whether the speaker is delivering a general statement or not.

"Les enfants sont de bons élèves car leur cerveau est comme une éponge ; mais les adultes sont encore meilleurs car ils ont vraiment envie d'apprendre".

"Children are good students because their brains are like sponges; but adults are even better because they really want to learn."


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

As a reply to the very first line of your comment: if the context is lacking, I think both interpretations should be accepted on Duolingo, even though, as @n6zs suggests (and I paraphrase) "a lack of context suggests one of two interpretations".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sally410

If we think of 'learners' instead of the more specific 'students', your statement is simply beyond denial. At what point does a child become a student, using the word in broad terms? And how many 'poor students' are simply kids with a disengaged teacher. Adults may envy them but children's brains are like super sponges. We should be so lucky,- just as once we were!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/10004017

What is the difference between élèves and étudiants?


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

un/une élève is anyone learning.

un étudiant/une étudiante is someone in college/university (after highschool)


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

This is a comparatively banal question, sorry! I translated "enfants" as "kids." "Kids" was not accepted. Why? By the way, I did translate "Les enfants" as "The kids," so there was no missing definite article in my translation.


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

Enfants = children

Kids = gamins/gamines


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

Is there a liason in "bons élèves"? So confused about when to apply it


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

Yes, "bons-Z-élèves": a liaison between adjective and noun.


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

Why is "bonnes eleves" not also accepted?


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

bonnes élèves is accepted.


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

Merci pour votre réponse rapide! Perhaps I misunderstand his question. Even so, it was a very helpful question for me, as I had some uncertainty about the word éléves and it gave me the impetus to do some research on the word.


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

Well, at first, I was going to say that "élèves" is a masculine noun, therefore requiring a masculine adjective, such as "bons." But then I did some research and discovered that the Larousse online dictionary and the Collins Robert hardcopy dictionary both say that "élèves" is both masculine and feminine. It appears that the spelling of this noun does not change according to gender like "enseignant/enseignante." I would think it would be good to report this sentence if it does not accept "bonnes élèves." http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/french-english/%C3%A9l%C3%A8ve/28257


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

Quelle est la différence entre "élèves et" étudiantes"?


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

"un/une élève" is used until students go to university/college, where and when they are called "étudiants/étudiantes".


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

Merci sitesurf. Vous êtes le meilleur.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stefan873422

Until about twelve years ago we used the word pupil for a child educated at school and student for an adult studying at university – at least in the UK. You can see this evidenced in legislation e.g. the Education Act 1996. For some reason the word pupil became disgusting to many, ironically including with those in educational vocations who chose to kill the word through abstinence and destroy the precision of student. The French still sensibly retain élevé and étudiant respectively. May I recommend, if you speak English, that you call pupils pupils, because that's what they are and there's nothing wrong with that?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nerevarine1138

I mean, you can't really recommend that English-speakers insist on using out-of-date terminology just for pedantry's sake. It's not like there's mass confusion over this usage.

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