"It is a Chinese one."

Translation:C'est un Chinois.

July 28, 2017

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I am really confused here. Please help me!

I put 'c'est une chose chinoise' because I thought 'C'est un Chinois' would mean 'This is a Chinese (person)' and what we are being asked is not a person but, in this stand alone sentence without context, inanimate and so a thing.

I cannot quickly think of a context where the 'one' would be a person, due to the use of 'it' in the English sentence.


"c'est une chose chinoise" is the translation for "this/it is a Chinese thing".

"a Chinese one" needs "one" in English to form a noun phrase, but in French the mere addition of an article is enough to turn an adjective into a noun:

  • a Chinese man = un Chinois (capitalized)
  • a Chinese women = une Chinoise (ditto)
  • a Chinese vase = un vase chinois (adjective, not capitalized)
  • a Chinese town = une ville chinoise (ditto)
  • This vase is from Japan, but that is a Chinese one = Ce vase vient du Japon, mais ça, c'est un chinois (not capitalised if it's not a human being).


Am I missing something? So why is Chinois capitalised in DL's translation? If I had written c'est un chinois I can see from your explanation that I would have been correct, but DL has capitalised Chinois and your explanation seems to say that this makes the sentence refer to a person, while 'it' is reserved for objects and often animals.


Because "C'est un Chinois" is the original sentence, which also (and most often) means "'this/he is a Chinese man".

The English translation you have here was chosen as the one you get in reverse because learners also have to know that "c'est" = "it is" is also a possibility.


Please forgive me if I have this wrong, but after all your explanation I think DL's translation of "It is a Chinese one." is incorrect. Following what you have said the French should be "C'est un chinois." not "C'est un Chinois." "It" does not indicate a person. I did ask this indirectly before, and I do realise you have answered, but I still cannot see why DL is correct here due to the capitalisation of the C. I am translating from English to French.

Also, following your earlier explanation, by extrapolation would "This is a red one" be "C'est un rouge"?

Thanks for your patience, Sitesurf!


You are forvigen, of course ;-) because you are right. This is one of the problems we are regularly faced with: translations should work both ways and they sometimes don't. I will have to change the Best translation of the original sentence to "he is a Chinese man" and then the exercise with "it is a Chinese one" will disappear; yet I can create another French sentence with "c'est un chinois" (for a thing or animal), then use "it is a Chinese one" as Best.

And yes, "this is a red one" = c'est un rouge; "I have the same one" = j'ai le/la même, etc.

  • 2760

If you type this wrong the "proper" solution comes back as "C'est 1 chinois." Why is that? Is that really correct?


Yes it is. You don't have an equivalent of the "one" in French (because it'd be "un" and "un" I guess)

"Cet objet est italien. Et là, c'est un chinois." "This item is Italian. And there, it's a Chinese one."

  • 2760

I understand the necessity of the "un," but the numeral is bizarre. I would never write in English., "And there it's a Chinese 1."


I think it must just be a Duo computer mistake.


Is there a difference between Chinois and chinois?


Just got a hint from my french teacher. In English, we always use 'Chinese' but in french they use 'chinois' and 'Chinois' differently. In french, we write 'Je suis chinois'(I am Chinese) but 'C'est un Chinois'.(It is a Chinese one) The first one is like adj but the second one is like a specific noun.


So the rule is this: Je suis Chinois/C'est un Chinois vs Je mange dans un restaurant chinois/J'aime la langue chinoise. You put a capital to the noun (nationality) and you don't put one when it's an adjective.


Oh, no "Je suis Chinois"...only "Je suis un Chinois." or "Je suis chinois". This is different from English.

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