Votre is the possessive form of Vous, so you can also use votre when referring to a group of people's wives. However, the next word is femme, which is singular. So unless they practice polyandry, this would have to be translated as "Your (singular) wife is tall".
As always, context matters :D
"notre" = "our"
"votre" = "your"
In French, possessive adjectives agree with the thing 'owned' not with the person who 'owns it'
"your apple" = "votre pomme"
"your apples" = "vos pommes"
We use "votre/vos" whenever we are talking to a group of people or when talking to one person using the formal "vous".
If we are talking to one person who is a child, family member, close friend or someone we know well and are on familiar terms with, then "you" = "tu" - in which case "your" will be "ton"," ta", or "tes" depending on the gender and number of the thing "owned"
There is some more detailed explanations elsewhere on this thread and also checkout link for further information on possessive adjectives.
No, it can't, because possessive adjectives (like all adjectives) have to agree with the noun they qualify. "femme" is a feminine word, so it must be "ta" femme.
Note that when "ta" would be placed in front of a feminine noun starting with a vowel or a non-aspired H, it is changed to "ton" to ease pronounciation:
- ton amie (feminine)
- ton habitude (feminine)
"vous" is used in singular:
If you are talking to your doctor, to someone on the street, to a policeman, you will use "vous":
- vous êtes prêt, vous avez votre carte et vos clés = you are ready, you have your card and your keys
- votre femme est grande
"vous" is also used in plural:
If you are talking to several persons (more than one), who can be men, women or a mix of both:
- vous êtes prêt(e)s, vous avez vos cartes et vos clés = you are ready, you have your cards and your keys
- vos femmes sont grandes
Notes: - the verb conjugation is identical for singular and plural (except past participles with verb être) - possessive pronouns are identical, they agree with the object possessed, not with the owner
In English, the plural of "you" is simply "you". In the same way, "vous" may be either singular or plural. You don't need to add anything to it to make it plural. The expression "you all" in the sense of "all of you" translates to "vous tous". There is no need to say "all" in English to make "you" plural.
I found the chart at the bottom of this page helpful :) http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/adjectives_possessive.htm
While your comment certainly helped me a lot (as I was starting to wonder if there were specific words for wife, husband, daughter and son), what I originally meant to say/ask was that if femme/homme/garcon/fille follow a possessive adjective, do they automatically become wife/husband/son/daughter?
For example, "La femme est grande" vs. "Votre femme est grande" --- In the first sentence, "femme" means woman, right? And in the second sentence, "femme" now means wife because it follows a possessive adjective? Could the English translations be interchanged also, with "la femme" meaning the wife and "votre femme" meaning your woman? I remember answering something on this topic when it asked "vos femmes" and I answered "your women" and it marked me wrong, saying that I shouldn't confuse wife and woman.
I'm really, really sorry if I'm confusing you or anyone else reading this even more, but this has really been bothering me for a while! .__.
You are right, your question deserves a more exhaustive explanation.
I think your problem with that issue comes from the fact that there are 2 ambiguities in French:
- femme both means woman and wife
- fille both means girl and daughter
Therefore, indeed only a possessive adjective attached to those two will help understand that we are talking about a wife or a daughter.
For males, it is much easier:
- homme = man + unmarried partner
- mari = husband
- garçon = boy
- fils = son
You can call your woman "ma femme", no problem, but nobody will know whether you are married or not.
If you call your wife "ma femme", again nothing tells you are married with her.
You can call your man "mon homme " (although I believe it is not elegant French), it will mean that you are not married
If you call your male partner "mon mari", you are married with him.
You can call your son "my boy" or "mon garçon", no problem.
You can call "mon garçon" a boy who is not your son, no problem.
Is it clearer?
i think is, in portuguese the difference between vous/votre or tu would be when you call someone is close to you, you'll use tu otherwise you use vous, an example when you call an older people like 50 years old is: o senhor é alto / vous êtes grand (i am learnign too, if i'm worng please....)
There is more to it.
First, we must decide which form of "you" to use.
If we are talking to more than one person then it is always "vous".
If we are talking to one person then is depends on who that person is. So if we are talking to a child, a close family member, close friend or someone that we know well and are on familiar terms with, then we use "tu". In all other cases we use "vous"
Next, if we are using "tu" then the correct word for "your" will be "ton", "ta" or "tes". Which we use depends on the number and gender of the things 'possessed'.
"your coat" = "ton manteau" (masculine singular - one coat)
"your car" = "ta voiture" (feminine singular- one car)
"your cars" = "tes voitures" (plural - more than one car)
However, if we are using "vous" then "your" translates as "votre" or "vos" depending on the number of the thing 'possessed" (in this case gender makes no difference).
"your car" = "votre voiture" (singular)
"your cars" = "vos voitures" (plural)
Checkout link for more information on possessive adjectives.
The two words are both a possessive form of your or vous, but Vos is the word used when the subject that one has possession of is plural. Like in the sentence of 'He takes his bikes', bikes is the item and there is multiple, so you would use Vos. if it was one bike it would be the Votre.
I know it has been 8 months since your question, and you've probably found the answer yourself, but for future readers of this discussion...
"Votre" is not just the second person plural possessive adjective/determiner in French, it is also the formal second person singular possessive adjective/determiner. So, "Votre" is used when talking to a group and it is also used when talking formally, as with a total stranger you are asking for directions on the street or a teacher/superior. So, for anyone that you'd use "vous" with, you would use "votre" for their possessive pronoun.
"Votre femme" means "your wife" in French. There is some slang use of "ta femme" or "ma femme" to refer to a girlfriend or just a female friend, but that is just the exception and not considered "proper". If you are a man of marrying age talking to a stranger and refer to someone as "Ma femme", they are going to think you are married to the woman.
To refer to a woman/female friend/companion in the general sense, without the implied marriage, there are numerous formal and informal usages. "Votre copine", "Votre dame", "Ta nana", "ta cherie", "ta fille" , etc.
I'm not sure what would be used in French when there is no relationship at all, say with an inanimate object that represents a woman.
Hey fluent Francophones! If two people were each painting a picture of a woman, could they refer to the other's painting as "Votre femme" without an implied joke/play-on-words?
I asked the same thing a few years ago. Without any other qualifiers or context to change it's intended meaning, the phrase "votre femme" implies a marriage. So it translates to "your wife".
I never got an answer from the francophones if there is a french term that is similar to "your girl" or "your woman" though. I think they jokingly refer to a friend's girlfriend as "ta femme", but it would be the same as us calling a friend's girlfriend "your wife".
"Vos" is used with plural nouns: "your dogs"-->"vos chiens"
"Votre" is used with singular nouns: "your dog"-->"votre chien"
There is also the form "les vôtres" which translates to "yours" "Mes chiens sont mignons. Les vôtres sont laides." --> "My dogs are cute. Yours are ugly."
"Votre" is used with a person that you use "vous" with. "Vous" is used when talking to multiple people or when talking to someone formally. You would normally use "vous" with total strangers and figures of authority. So, when first meeting his teacher's tall wife a student might say "Votre femme est grande."
It's just how the French state that someone is tall. If a person is being described, and the "grand(e)" comes after the noun, there is no ambiguity, the word "grand(e) translates to "tall". So, "Ce flic est un homme grand" becomes "That cop is a tall man".
If the "grand(e)" comes before the noun it can mean "great" or "grand" in English (but not always). "Le roi est un grand diplomate" --> "The king is a great diplomat."
There isn't really a direct translation in French for "big" when describing a person. "Gros" tends to have a negative context, as in "fat" or "overweight". And other common words come close but, again have different connotations. For example, to translate the sentence, "He's just a big man, not fat or tall." I'd either use a compound phrase to translate "big", like "un homme de grande taille", or use a less commonly used word like "costaud" which means "hefty" or "husky".
There are, of course, exceptions (idioms, fixed phrases and slang usages) that break these translation 'rules', but, in generic sentences, "un homme grand" translates to "a tall man".
It could be either "votre femme" or "ta femme" depending on whether you were talking to some one using "vous" or "tu".
"vos" is only used with plural nouns. So it would appear if the sentence were:
Your wives are tall--> Vos femmes sont grandes.
"ton" is only used with male nouns:
Your husband is short.--> Ton mari est petit.
So, be careful. In French, a possessive adjective agrees with the possession's gender and number. In English we can sometimes tell the gender of the possessor:
He stole her dog! (we know the owner of the dog is female)
In French we only know the gender of the possession:
He stole her dog!-->Il a volé son chien! ("son" because the noun "chien" is male).