"Are" is an intransitive verb meaning that the sentence can be flipped and retain the same meaning (paraphrasing from my grammar school teachers, a lifetime ago.) So that one can say, "My children are what matter" which would be proper English, and is therefore correct in either format.
Well now Hamster. "What matter are my children?" actually means "What do my children matter?" A very different sense to "What matters are my children" which is incorrect grammar anyway. The only correct grammar for this sentence is: "What matters IS my children". (This is well explained above by u__u.)
It seems you do not know what "ce qui" means. Here are pages that might help: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/indefiniterelativepronouns.htm http://lilt.ilstu.edu/jhreid/grammar/prprep.htm
I think you're right. "mes enfants" is not "my boys" or "my girls"; it is only "my children", as it reveals nothing about the gender. "mes garcons" is my boys and "mes filles" is "my girls". It would be like translating "my children" from English to "mes filles" or "mes garcons" in French. It's silly.
I have the same confusion with "my boys". I don't understand why is that correct. I mean, "mes enfants" could be only girls and we don't have a way to know it. It could be only boys also, we don't have that information. I thought "enfants" were just kids, without a specific gender.
@Jackjon, merci! I see what you mean. Rather than think of it is a bunch of children, it's one group of children. Still, from a strictly grammatical perspective, it's "my children" not "my one group of children." I guess what I'm asking is, would it be incorrect en français to say "ceux qui importent, ce sont mes enfants"?
I answered: What matters is (that) they are my children. And it was considered wrong.
This statement has a slightly different meaning from the suggested translation "What matters is my children"
My question is: which of them are closer to the real meaning of the sentence in french? Maybe a native speaker could answer...
Where is an indirect object in this sentence? The verb "importer" has two meanings: "to import" (as in 'to import products from abroad') and "to matter" (to someone). Obviously, in this exercise the latter meaning is intended. But in that case, I would've thought that it has to be in the form of impersonal verb with direct and indirect objects, and the impersonal pronoun "il" as a subject, which is here implied (like in English - something matters to someone).
So, why we don't have here "Ce qui m'importe, ce sont mes enfants.", with indirect object pronoun "me" (since this is obviously the intended meaning of this sentence)?? Maybe in English it can be left out sometimes, when it is implicitly understood from context, but it was mentioned in earlier threads that it is necessary in French...
Pertinent question which has been asked often here and still not answered. I proffer an explanation here yet stand to be corrected. In the English the "IS" refers to "What matters"=singular and English will translate with that in mind. In French the sentence ends with "Mes Enfants" and that cannot be preceded by "C'Est" so given the context, although "Ce Sont" is used "C'est" is the concept and so translates thus to English. Either that, or Duo's gone and got itself all Muxed Ip with this one. In English "What matters IS my children" is correct (if a tad picky). If "Are" is to be used in English the sentence must change to "Those who matter ARE my children" for example. I'd love it if some-one who has serious knowledge of grammar would contribute more effectively here though, as I'm sure it's all to do with object/subject with a subjunctive conditional hummerflunk thrown in here and there.
try to reconstruct this sentence without the first part of "ce qui importe";
you can't at say "c'est mes enfants" at all, that'll sound like someone saying "This is my children"
you have to make everything agree whether singular or plural and say "These are my children"; and hence, "ce sont mes enfants"
Also, the verb "importer" means "to import" in English
In order to mean "to matter", the sentence needs to be in passive tense.
I'm not sure if this sentence was in passive tense, as I haven't learnt it yet, but if it was, then the real subject here is "mes enfants" which requires the sentence to be in plural condition
No, that would be "La chose importante est que ce sont mes enfants." Totally different sentence with a totally different meaning. The sentence given says that "the important thing" is the children themselves, not the fact of them being the speaker's children, as your sentece suggests.
I tried, "To whom it matters, these are my children". I had no idea how to correct it gave up. The supposedly correct solution was "They who matter they are my children." Say, what?? It wasn't until I came into the discussion that I saw the true meaning of the sentence.