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  5. "Sa couleur est le rouge."

"Sa couleur est le rouge."

Translation:His color is the red.

February 19, 2013



Why then does it accept 'is red'? I am sure with previous questions I have lost a mark when I forgot to put in 'the' for le and la.


Right there with you Rachel66E. I answered "Her colour is red" without the "THE" and it was accepted. Dont know why nobody has answered your query... I'd like to know why also.Without some very VERY involved explanation I, for the life of me, cannot accept the inclusion of "The" in the English translation. sitesurf?... Northernguy?


Simply put, for rouge to be understood as a noun in French, it requires a modifier such as le or un. Without such modifier rouge becomes an adjective. The selection of the article makes it clear to the reader/listener of the French statement what the intended meaning is.

In English, we just drop articles at will and make the reader/listener figure out the intended meaning. Does her color is red mean that it is the color of the uniform that she should be issued or her physical appearance? In short, French requires the article but English can drop the article but in doing so reduces clarity. Duo sometimes accepts that commonly reduced clarity, sometimes not.

More detailed explanations and examples are spread throughout this page by various contributors.


Thank you Northernguy. Already sitesurf has almost told me off for my insistence and I'm sorry mate but I still struggle with it. Dont try to explain more; I am now also studying English grammar so that I may understand explanations of French in these threads. You are very tolerant and patient, thank you. I do sort of "Get It" though. Bless both and your colleagues If only there was a way to return to these tasks and the discussion threads, if only. I would probably have it by now.


If you haven't already, go to the French portion of www.about.com. Look over the material there and subscribe to free French newsletters put out by Laura K. Lawless.

She covers grammar issues very thoroughly. Each issue takes a topic, gives the multiple, applicable rules with examples and often concludes with an inline twenty question quiz so you can see if you got it. All the rules can seem overwhelming at first but each time you remember the easier examples. Each time you return to it there are more examples that seem simple.

Just remember that the role of grammar in studying a foreign language is just to make sense of it. For example, the best way to remember the placement of an adjective with respect to the noun is simply to practice reading, saying and writing it in sentences. Those few occasions where placement by habit changes the meaning is where the rule comes in handy to help you with confusion. Practice je suis enough and pretty soon you don't need to know about first person singular to know if you are using it correctly.


I understand the need for an article before a noun in French, but it should not be there in the English translation. That would be like translating 'le chat noir' as 'the cat black'. It's just not proper English.


Hi Rebecca. Unfortunate example you've given here because in translation to English the position of the noun and adjective is reversed form The Cat Black to The Black Cat. Remember, in French Grammar some adjectives come before the noun they modify and most come after.but in English all come before the noun unless there is an extra modifier like "is"= The Cat IS Black. Or have I misunderstood your post? (Ps, my posts above were put a long time ago now.)


What you've just said is exactly my point. Because of the differences in French and English grammar, it doesn't always make sense to translate things verbatim. Just like you would naturally change the word order of the black cat when translating to English, you would also drop the article before red in this sentence to make it a proper translation. I'm trusting DL that the French is right, but the English translation is awkward at best.

Sorry about the time delay, by the way. These forums don't always indicate when something was written, and I just read it as I just got to this item in the program.


Yes Rebecca. Everything you've said is understood. It would be an idea, wouldn't it, if dates were put by our posts? I have learnt from and enjoyed your posts.. JJ.


Ya why does it accept is red


why is the le here before rouge?


Because, here "rouge" is a noun.


How is red a noun here. Not getting that part.



see other comments on this page which may answer your question.


I have a few questions, hopefully someone can answer them.

I understand the sa meaning ownership for any singular third person, I understand the need for an article in front of red when its used as a noun, but I have no clue what this sentence is actually trying to say. Is it "Her colour is red." meaning she looks good in red?

Moreso, Is the "le" before rouge to specify a specific red; like "Her colour is that [specific shade of] red." Whereas if it had been "sa couleur est un rouge." it would mean "Her color is a[ny shade of] red."



Un rouge means one red. An unknown red but just one red. Since it is unknown to us we may think of it as any red but it is not. It is a particular red which so far is undefined.

Sa couleur est le rouge could mean the red, that one, the one we know about.

Sa couleur est le rouge could mean the red, the idea of red, all members of the group of colors that we call red.

We know the sentence doesn't mean .. her color is red.. (maybe she is feverish) because the article indicates rouge is a noun. We know it's not ... her color is a red... because the article used is le.

So we can translate it to English as ..her color is the red.. (that one, the one we know about). Or we could translate it as ..her color is red...(red in general, the reds included in the collective noun red). The trouble with translating it .. her color is red... is we are back to red looking like an adjective.

So Duo wants to see if you know that, for the intended meaning to be clear, the article has to be present.


why not ca couleur est le rouge? that colour is the red?


No, it does not work, for two reasons:

  • "sa" is a possessive adjective, agreeing with the thing owned (not with the owner) = sa couleur

  • "ça" is a demonstrative pronoun (familiar for "cela"), of which function is not to qualify a noun: "ça, c'est la couleur rouge" (that is the red color)

  • the demonstrative adjective is "ce/cet/cette" : "cette couleur (feminine singular) est le rouge" (that colour is red)


When I read the French sentence I thought of something like Power Rangers or a magical girl series: You can tell it's that person by the colour he/she is wearing. It's his/her colour.


It can be understood as: his/her favorite colour. Or with "it", you may be talking about the uniform of a soccer team (Manchester United?): sa couleur est le rouge.


Why is the answer her color? Where does it mention if we are talking about a male or female? Shouldn't the correct answer be "His/Her color is red"? The word "sa" can be used for both males and females.


"sa couleur est le rouge" can indeed mean "his", or "her" or even "its", because the same possessive adjective is used for 3rd person singular (il or elle, for humans or objects)


Sitesurf 25 wrote: <<"sa couleur est le rouge" can indeed mean "his", or "her" or even "its", because the same possessive adjective is used for 3rd person singular (il or elle, for humans or objects)>> -- The answer I gave was, in fact "ITS color is red" and I lost a heart and was informed that the answer is "HIS color is red." ???


Apparently my comment did not reach the Duo team in charge... If you can, report it as a problem.


Reported - hope they put this right.


What?! I wrote, "Red is her color" and got it WRONG! What?!


The Duo machine doesn't like altered word order but also you left out the. It is not just any red but the red in both the French and the English versions.

Le rouge can mean a particular red or red in general depending on the context. In English, the red means a particular red. To indicate red in general, Anglos drop the article and just say red.

All the posters on this thread are commenting as if the general sense was accepted which is to say that the was not absolutely required in the English translation since no context is available.

Still, you changed the word order and left out a word from their preferred answer. Perhaps the robot was overwhelmed at the enormity of it all and stole one of your hearts.

With Duo it is best to retain the original word order when possible.


I've read the comments, but still haven't understood so i'm posting.

Why is 'le' used here? Surely the sentence could have done without it, as we have used numerous times elsewhere.


In English we say his color is red because we are in the habit of dropping articles and letting context indicate whether they should actually be there. Even though we say it we don't actually mean his color is red because what we are really saying is that he has a red color to his skin. Instead we let context indicate that we mean his color is the red ie: the objective color red is attached to him in some way.

If you say his color is plaid in French you are saying his skin color is plaid. Unlike English, you can't just drop articles whenever it seems easy. Leaving out articles in French changes the meaning. If you want to say the color plaid is associated with him somehow but not to his skin color then you have to include the article to show that rouge is a noun and not an adjective.

The article indicates you are speaking about the color not him. What is it about red that you are talking about? That it is his color. If you leave out the article you are talking about him. What are you saying about him. That he is the color red.

It's not English, with loosey goosey attitudes to articles ( maybe include the article, maybe not, because what the heck, everybody knows its there even if we don't say it). It's French.


So far, you have used "rouge" as an adjective, ie qualifying a noun: une pomme rouge, for example.

Rouge can also be a noun, the name of the color, which is the case here, so it needs, like any other noun, to be accompanied by modifiers, like articles: un rouge foncé, le rouge carmin, ce rouge brillant, son rouge profond, etc.


Ah! Got it! Thanks!


Side question: what's the reason that the modifier is definite rather than indefinite? Is that just the rule for these cases? If I had nothing else to guide me, I would have assumed an indefinite made more sense given that there are all kinds of red, i.e. "Its color is (a kind of) red."


This is when the choice is between red and another color (blue, yellow...) and not among several shades of red.


is "sa couleur est-elle rouge" correct??


No, because what you propose is a question.


so, "sa couleur est-elle rouge?" is right


Ye,s it is grammatically correct, and it back translates to "is his/her/its color red?"


The english translation should not have "the" in it.


But it should have the in the English translation. Otherwise you could take the sentence to mean he is red.

His color is the red, the red that we know about, the red that is right there. His color is the red uniform not the green, the red choice of office decor not the grey, the red communist party symbol not the black anarchist, the red that we talked about but definitely not all the other possible colors that we have not yet talked about.

What ever it is that they are talking about, it is clear that a particular person's color is a particular red. We know that because the presence of the tells us that.


I suppose you could be right. I don't like how unclear the sentence is and think that is probably the bigger issue. In context it probably makes sense but without that I feel uncomfortable with this translation.


why "her color is the red one" isn't a correct solution?


Why is "he" for "sa" a correct answer as well?


@BossaNova1. In English it's either His colour or Her colour and the possessive determiner or pronoun refers to the subject.... the person whose preference the colour is. In French The possessive determiner/article/pronoun thingy has to agree with the object noun, here it's the colour which is feminine. So it matters not whether it is His or Her colour, what matters is that the word Colour is feminine so both His and Her colour is SA couleur. EG: His girl=SA Fille. Her girl=Sa Fille. His boy=Son Garçon. Her boy-Son Garçon. (BTW "He"="Il", not Son/Sa)


I can understand how this translates. What escapes me is ever using this translated sentence in English. The only conceivable situation where something similar might be said is if a fellow game player asked what color another player's man was. However, in that case you'd reply with either, "His color is red," or "His is the red one."

Will someone please explain the context where this might be used in French?


Dear MineralRose. Probably never. For me, I just don't care whether anything makes sense at all. I just want to learn grammar, sentence structure and culture. Context can go find a place to shine as far as I'm concerned until I have the basics learned. I just do not need the complexities of context on top of what is already for me very complex and requiring neurons to fire a memory my two aging brain cells just cannot sustain now. I think I am learning a language here rather than French phrases to get me through a two week holiday. Give me blue ducks, cows wearing a red boot, turtles eating pasta, I'm a bigger boy than one small enough to be hurt by a new sentence which introduces me to grammar, usage and construction yet doesn't actually make much sense. I have emptied so many cans of paint now, spraying ducks blue but I'm so happy now that at last blue ducks make perfect sense to me. Thank you Duo. Nowthen, Nurse tells me that I have some nice visitors but is perturbed that I'm out of bed again. Must go. JJ.

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