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"Ses enfants écrivent des lettres."

Translation:Her children are writing letters.

March 12, 2013

48 Comments


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

how do we know that its "his" children


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

"her children" is also accepted, since you cannot guess.


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

Is there a separate word for "kids" vs. "children"?


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

"gamins" or "gosses", and plenty of other slang words...


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

why cant I put "their"


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

"their children" is "leurs enfants" (plural owner)

  • father: his children - ses enfants
  • mother: her children - ses enfants
  • parents: their children - leurs enfants

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kingsoson_1939

Merci beaucoup mon ami...


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

Could 'ses enfants' not be 'its children'?


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

You mean if "it" were an association or official body of some sort?


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

Yeah, basically. Or if "it" was an animal or something similar.


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

Yes, that is indeed possible in theory. However, I don't know of many animals able to write letters.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/manuelsg02

I put its. It wasn't accepted :/


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

How, if only listening, would I know if someone is saying "Ses enfants" or "Ces enfants" .. difference being his/her or these.?


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

there is no difference, only context would tell.


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

How can you tell whether it is "lettres" or "lettre" when it's spoken?


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

Just focus on articles: UNE lettre (sing) - DES lettres (plur)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GabriellaC446326

Why did it say I was wrong for saying 'his' kids when ses could mean his or her..?


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

The issue is not with "his" or "her" but with "kids", which is the translation for "gamins/gamines" in colloquial language, whereas "enfants" and "children" are standard language.


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

I took the first word as seize


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

I dont get these possesive pronouns :( Ses ?


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

You may want to take a look at the Tips&Notes.

To find them, go back to Skill: Possessives, and look below the lessons. Some users may have to press a button on the right side to see them.


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

lettres not lettre - i could not hear the difference


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

singular : UNE lettre

plural: DES lettres

Even though the plural mark -s is mute, you should hear the article.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AshleyWard11

If you're not sure if it's "his" or "her" then isn't "their" a more appropriate translation?


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

No, because "their" translates to "leur" or "leurs" (several owners).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AshleyWard11

While that's true, if someone says to translate something to English and it's "Ses enfants", then without knowing whether you're talking about the mother or father, you would have to translate it as "His or her children", which is a bit unwieldy, and normally in English you would surely just say "Their children" which can also apply to just a single owner (I'm not sure if 'leur' in French can also mean just one person).


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

I am aware of this phenomenon, but you have to get rid of your English reflexes: "leur, leurs" are about more that one owner and translate to "their" and vice versa.

You cannot translate "son, sa, ses" to "their", never, and you don't have to: Duo accepts "his" or "her" or "its" to translate them, so up to you to pick the one that is meant.


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

I am not sure how to tell the tenses, is it true that this kind of sentences could be both present and present continuous tense at the same time?


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

Present continuous does not exist in French.

So if we want to insist on the fact that the event is in progress at the time we speak, we use a special phrase with verb être: "ses enfants sont en train d'écrire des lettres" (in the process of writing).


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

Ses peux être their


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

No, "ses" is his, her or its, only.

their = leur, leurs


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GabriellaC446326

It said I was wrong for using 'his' when ses could mean his or her..


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BlackSaphire96

Is ecrivent the past or present version because its accepted write and wrote whenever i've entered it


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Piotr389753

Here is "his" in the test is "her" - maybe you should be more openminded. (Just kidding. PC is not my thing.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StephenSwe17

Or "Her children are writing letters." What would their children are writing letters be? "Leurs enfants ecrivent des lettres." ???


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

Yes, exactly. Two parents and several children = leurs. Two parents and one child = leur


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

So how to say " Her children are writing THE letters "?


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

"Ses enfants écrivent les lettres".


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

Site, I've just realised the translation is ambiguous to me. Could this mean that they are writing letters of the alphabet? I.e practicing their letters?


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

Oh yes! And it is even more relevant if the children are little.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/amma61491

shouldn't "her children writes letters" also be accepted?


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

"Children" being a plural noun, the verb cannot be in the singular: Her children write letters.


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

why doesn't it accept 'kids' as well as children?


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

The register of speech is different:

  • enfants = children
  • kids = gamins/gamines

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

Is there a way to express gender neutrality in possesives? I've gotten so used to saying "their" in place of gendered pronouns in English due to gender-queer sensitivities that it makes me wonder how to express this in French. I did it out of habit here and was marked incorrect of course.


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

No there isn't and there can be, since "son, sa, ses" agree with the object possessed and don't give any indication of the owner's gender.

On this course, everything you read and write must back-translate to the original sentence, and "their children" would translate to "leurs enfants", which can only mean that there are two or more owners.


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

These could have been my sister-in-law's children, writing to thank me for a birthday present, which she always made them do. My children often said they would do so, but forgot. My sister-in-law never failed to point this out until she, like me, lost control of the children we were responsible for.

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