"ses" means that the owner is singular "il or elle" and its plural form means that the object (children) is plural:
"their" translates to "leur" (singular object possessed) or "leurs" (plural), when the owner is plural: "ils or elles"
son enfant est petit = his/her/its child is small
their children are small = leurs enfants sont petits.
"they" and "their" can be used for singular gender neutral or gender unknown owner/subject. I blieve "Their" should be accepted here. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/he-or-she-versus-they
No, sentences have to work both ways.
- their children = leurs enfants.
Next time, please back translate your sentence to see if you get back to the original sentence.
The narrower definition of "their" is 3rd person plural possessive determiner that can also be used as a gender neutral, singular alternative to "his" or "her".
Since such a definition does not match any concept in French grammar, you will have to stick to the broader definition.
Can some of you please take a look at the fact that "sitesurf" is FRENCH, and you clearly aren't! Therefore, "sitesurf" knows so much more about french grammar than you all do. And yes, it is correct that in ENGLISH you can use "their" in singular because that is how ENGLISH works. But far from all languages work the same way as english does, and french simply doesn't. There is no arguing the fact that french just doesn't work that way wether you like it or not.
When it's using "Ses" how do you determine whether it translates to "his" or "her"?
Only context would tell, since "ses" can be "his" or "her", so both versions are accepted by Duo.
Jan 1st, 2018: just triple-checked: "his children are small" is an accepted translation.
"their" translates to "leurs" (plural), when both owner and object possessed are plural *
Leurs enfants means that the owners are 2 or more people.
Ses enfants means that there is 1 owner.
I put "her children are small." Would it be correct to put "his children are small?"
Yes. "Ses enfants sont petits" can equally mean "Her children..." and "His children..."
Context alone defines whether the subject ("ses" "son" "sa") is female or male.
so, correct me if I am wrong, I answered "his children are small", however the correct answer is "her children are small" if my understanding is correct, you can't differentiate between male and female as in who own the children? you can only tell by context? thanks
son, sa and ses are the possessives common to "il" and "elle".
they agree in gender and number with the possession, not with the owner:
- son enfant = his/her/its child
- sa fille = his/her/its daughter
- ses enfants = his/her/its children
could you assume "his sons are small" because the masculine petits is used?
no, it is just masculine by default (we don't know that his children are girls).
his children could be 5 girls and one boy, "enfants" would still be masculine.
What does petit precisely mean? Does it mean small in terms of height, age, or both? Are his children short or just very young?
Yes but you still say children are little. When I was little... His children are still just little.
"es" is used with "tu": tu es = you are
"sont" is used with "ils" or "elles" or other plural noun: ils/elles sont, les enfants sont (they are, the children are)
Petits means his children consists of boys + girls/boys @ petites means all the children are girls?
Since adjectives must agree with the nouns they modify, and since the default is masculine, then if the plural is masculine then it's either a mix of masculine and feminine or entirely masculine, and if the plural is feminine then it's entirely feminine.
So "Ses enfants sont petits" could mean all the kids are boys or there's a mix of boys and girls, and "Ses enfents sont petites" means that all of the kids are girls.
it's like in English, you could say "those guys are having fun" to refer to any group of people with both girls and boys.
They can, this version is accepted in translation from English: ses enfants sont petites.
I'm having trouble distinguishing between vos/tes. So can I say (your hats) "vos chapeau" and "tes chapeau" My guess is that it's just being polite using vos... But I'm not sure.
You are correct.
In French, there are two different ways to say "you". There's the singular and informal, which is
tu, and there's the plural or formal, which is
my: mon, ma, mes
your (s): ton, ta, tes
his/her/its: son, sa, ses
our: notre, nos
your (pl): votre, vos
their: leur, leurs
mine: le mien, la mienne, les miens, les miennes
yours (s): le tien, la tienne, les tiens, les tiennes
his/hers: le sien, la sienne, les siens, les siennes
ours: le nôtre, la nôtre, les nôtres, les nôtres
yours (pl): le vôtre, la vôtre, les vôtres, les vôtres
theirs: le leur, la leur, les leurs
There are 2 distinct notions in your question:
Shall I use "vos" or "tes", ie am I speaking to someone I am familiar with or to a person I owe respect to or to 2 or more people?
- Answer: "tes" goes with "tu" (informal "you") and "vos" goes with "vous" 'formal singular or plural "you").
Shall I use "ton, ta or tes" OR "votre, vos"?
Answer 1: possessives adjectives, like all adjectives, agree in gender and number with the noun they qualify.
Answer 2: "ton" is masculine singular or feminine singular (if the next word starts with a vowel sound); "ta" is feminine singular and "tes" is plural (any gender). "Votre" is singular (any gender) and "vos" is plural (any gender).
- speaking to a friend/family member: "ton chapeau", "ta casquette", "tes chapeaux", "tes casquettes"
- speaking to one person formally or to 2+ people: "votre chapeau", "votre casquette", "vos chapeaux", "vos casquettes".
Sitesurf: feedback, definitely not criticism.
When a sentence could be correctly translated as
EITHER Her children are small OR His children are small -
It would be better if DuoLingo explicitly stated that, in the answer. When DuoLingo only offers one of the correct translations, it tends to be confusing. Small point, but it would be an excellent improvement. Thanks for the great work!
We (contributors) write down all acceptable translations for all sentences in the course. (Sometimes, we forget some, but then users flag the issue and we fix it. But that's not the point.)
One of these has to be elected as "Best" on various criteria, of which the number 1 is the translation's ability to back translate to the original sentence exactly. Sometimes, 2 translations are Best, and it is the case here with "his/her" that are equally correct.
For this sentence, the alternatives are: [his/her/its] x [children/kids] x [small/little/young/short].
When you make a mistake, the computer suggests the closest version on a letter by letter basis (for instance, if you enter "his child are small", you will be suggested "his children are small").
When your translation is correct, the computer gives you "another correct solution".
When your translation is the Best or one of the Best, the computer just says "you are correct".
For this sentence, "his and her" were elected as Best. This is why you were not reminded of another possible possessive.
Why was "his kids are little" not accepted? Duo says "kids" is wrong but it has been an accepted translation of "enfants" before.
"kids" is informal and the translation to/from "gamins/gamines".
"enfants" is standard French and the translation is "children".
what's wrong with writing "it's children are small" instead of "its children are small"
could ses be for male or female? why does it have to be HER children. Also why can't you translate it to her KIDS?
- his/her son= son fils (masc)
- his/her daughter = sa fille (fem)
- his/her children = ses enfants (plural, both masculine and feminine form)
Kids is colloquial and enfants is standard. There might be another word you might translate to kids like les gosses (not sure how you spell it).
The best to translate "kids" is "les gamins / les gamines".
You may want to avoid "les gosses" in Canada though, for it has another meaning.
does the possessive adjective change from masculine or feminine but he noun or by the person being addressed/spoken about... so confused
French possessives used with nouns are adjectives and behave like other determiners and adjectives: they agree in gender and number with the noun they modify, which is the thing possessed.
- his/her/its son = son fils
- his/her/its daughter = sa fille
- his/her/its children = ses enfants
All adjectives, including possessives, must agree with the noun they're associated with. If it's my table, then the core noun is table, not me.
"kids" is colloquial and "enfants" is not.
Colloquial words for "kids" = les gamins, les mioches, les moutards, les mouflets, les gosses, les mômes...
how do i know if to use "petites" or "petits"? because "ses" can be her or him.
It all has to do with the noun it's attached to, which is "enfants". Since "enfants" is masculine, you need to use the masculine form of the adjective. Since it's plural, you need to use the plural form of the adjective.
So just so I'm clear here, there's no way of telling whether this sentence means "His children are small" or "Her children are small"...?
Not without greater context, no. Duolingo is teaching us individual, isolated sentences that are completely out of context. But in real life, there will almost always be context to tell you what you need to know. And if there isn't, there's almost always someone you can ask.
How am I supposed to memorize all this vocab?!?!?!? I am really getting frustrated. It seems I can't remember anything!!!
By repeating again and again. If you have managed to memorize your mother tongue, you will memorize another language with time and efforts.
Just back translate your sentence with "c'est" = it is, and you'll see it does not make sense.
thanks, I got it. But can we also translate "c'est" as there is/there are or this is ?
c'est has to be singular; it cannot be plural
c'est = it is
ce sont = they are
Not "it's" but "its", possessive, if the owner is an institution (school for instance).
The difference between small and tiny is a matter of degree. Cats are small. Insects are tiny.
If anyone knows if the following sentences with translations are correct please let me know: Se enfant est petit - His son is small. Leurs enfants sont petits - Their children are small. Leur enfant est petit - Their child is small. *This is kind of hard for me since the possessive pronouns refer to the subject in English instead of the object
You can. both "His children are small" and "Her children are small" are equally valid translations of "Ses enfants sont petits".
No. Generally, consonants at the ends of words are not pronounced unless they're followed by a vowel.
petit/petits ~ puh-tee
petite/petites ~ puh-teet
"Son, sa, ses" are the possessive adjectives matching "il/elle/on" and all three can translate to "his, her, its".
Since they are adjectives, these possessives agree with the noun they modify:
- his/her son = son fils
- his/her daughter = sa fille
- his/her children = ses enfants
You will need "son" for any masculine noun and also when it is followed by a feminine word starting with a vowel sound (to avoid the vowel sound conflict from "sa"):
- sa femme = his wife
- son épouse = his wife
- son adorable femme = his adorable wife
Is it just an idiosyncracy of French that the S at the end of Ses, in this example is pronounced?
It is called "a liaison" (une liaison):
Seeing as the use of "their" to refer to the singular 3rd person in English is now widespread, I don't see any reason why "Their children are small" shouldn't be accepted. There might not be an equivalent word in French but that's fine because it conveys the same meaning.
Using "his/her/its" as translations for "son, sa, ses" shows you have understood that in French there is no need for a plural neutral possessive since the French possessive adjectives do not agree with the owner but with the possession. Making the effort of an accurate translation will help you remember to never translate a 3rd person singular possessive to "leur, leurs".
Your translation is not correct. It is not possible to distinguish the gender in French from this sort statement . my translation ( His ( her ) children are small ) is correct
If you are typing your answer, just go with one. The course contributors are not going to input all the various "and/or"s into the database. It's only when you have a multiple choice that you must select all of the valid options presented to you.
In other words, if you are typing in the answer, choose exactly one:
- His children are small.
- Her children are small.
The following answers are not coded for and will be marked wrong:
- His/her children are small.
- Her/his children are small.
- His (her) children are small.
- Her (his) children are small.
- His (or her) children are small.
- Her (or his) children are small.
Apparently, "Ces" works as well instead of "Ses". I tried it accidentally and it worked!
If ses is plural, then why would it not accept their? Also, how can you tell it was a female and not a male (ex: could it be "His children are small")
"Ses" means the number of things owned is plural, not the owner is plural.
son = his/her singular masculine thing
sa = his/her singular feminine thing
ses = his/her plural things
leur = their singular thing
leurs = their plural things
There is no context to force "His children" vs "Her children" in this sentence. If you're typing in the answer, either one should be accepted. If you're selecting multiple choice, then if both are options, you need to choose both.
What's the logic behind why French and similar languages developed requiring context in order to determine gender? Seems to lead to misunderstandings and longer (unnecessary) communications. With English it's either his children or her children, end of discourse. Ses, lacking context, requires a clarifying question to determine if one is referring to his children or to hers.
There is no logic in language, only convention and tradition. It develops and changes as naturally and as organically as living creatures.
In French and its sister Romance languages, possessives and articles and determiners are treated like any other adjectives and must agree with the noun they work with. Therefore it is always "sa fille" because "fille" is feminine and always "son fils" because "fils" is masculine.
You're accustomed to the conventions and traditions of English because it's your native language, and so you take it all for granted and use it as the yardstick you measure everything else against. But objectively, there is no reason why it "should" be one way or another.
Would you agree though that it makes for longer conversations? That was my point. The rest was mostly relief of steam.
I think the difference in length would be negligible. Besides, it balances out. How many times has the question "Oh, boy or girl?" been asked of babies and pets?
Duolingo should include all three equally good answers here: "(Her/his/its) children are small"...and life would be much easier that way :-)
What is the difference between " ses enfants sont petites " and" ces enfants sont perites" is there a difference in pronounciation?
You don't, without greater context. "Petits" is masculine plural because "enfants" is masculine plural. It says nothing about whose children they are.