There is nothing in the construction of this sentence that would imply a plural version of "dommage". In my mind, a car might have several countable instances of damage (which would imply "dommages") but one general state of damage (so I would use "dommage"). Clearly this is wrong thinking on my part. Is there a good rule when to use "dommage" vs. "dommages"?
To phrase the question differently: Why souldn't I translate "a lot of damage" as "beaucoup de dommage"?
EDIT : My previous answer was confusing and inaccurate. I'll just replace it by what I found after some research :
The English word "damage" can be both countable and uncountable.
The French word "dommage" can be both countable and uncountable.
Therefore, "beaucoup de dommage" should be accepted.
you hear "damages" as a plural noun in English, especially in terms of litigation.
You could translate by "This car is badly damaged". The provided translation is very awkward and not idiomatic.
I think you have to apply some French logic. In English, damage in this context is always singular, no matter how many dents and scrapes you can count. In French, if there is more than one spot of damage, it's plural. So beaucoup tells you there must be a lot of damage, which in French can not be singular. Therefore it has to be dommages not dommage, even though they sound the same.
Jame-holden2 thanks for your comment but I still hold out that in 25 years of living in France and in ten years teaching English on a course for insurance law and insurance in the university of Poitiers I never saw "dommages" in the plural used for damage in the sense of physical damage to a car or anything else. I only ever saw the plural form "dommages" being used to describe "damages and interests" as in compensation awarded by a court.
I though "dommages" translated the English "damages" (in the sense of litigation and money paid out) whereas the English "damage" ie physical damage to a car would be translated by "dégâts".
Certainly, but I have never heard it used in that context in this part of France nor when I was teaching English for Insurance law in the university.
I find it unfortunate that "damages" is one of the suggestions. Damage can be any number of dents, damages is what is being (re-)paid.
Do French speakers say "...a beaucoup de dommages." or "...a beaucoup de dommage." or both? I have found more examples of "...a beaucoup de dommage." online than "...a beaucoup de dommages.", with the main entries of the latter being Duolingo! If this usage is not normally used by French speakers then this example should be removed and replaced with the more commonly used construct.
In American English one could say either damage or damages with respect to this car.
Looking the car over you say to the seller, "the headlight is broken, the fender is bent, the taillights are damaged, the line for the oil is clogged an the gas tank leaks now.
Wow! This car is damaged here, there and everywhere. It has a lot of damages!" or "the car has a lot of damage." We could say this either way and be correct.
So damage and damages should both be accepted. 8/30/2018
This sounds quite unnatural to me. Also, I had "The car has many damage." suggested as a solution. . .
It IS Aunnatural s.r.harvey. The car has many damages is proper American English in this sentence.
For this French excercise, either damage or damages should be a accepted.
I also though "dommage" would be correct so looked it up in Collins which gives it as damage and gives " dommages-interets" as damages but I assume that it is the referring to legal damages ??
Because it is not proper grammar VL594. It should be damages when used with many.
"The car has many damages," is correct American English grammar.
Since "dommages" is plural it is surely not grammatically wrong to translate it as "damages"?!
Please edit your comments if you have typos, it avoids unnecessary clutter. Thanks.
There is nothing in the oral to suggest plural damages. Why is not the singular accpeted here for the French?