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  5. "Il existe des canards gris e…

"Il existe des canards gris et violets."

Translation:There are gray and purple ducks.

March 27, 2018



Why does "gris" appear to take the singular form while "violets" appears to take the plural? I'm confused!


I think because 'duck' is a masculine word, so the plural would be "gris". If it were feminine, the plural would be "grises."


But then why is violets plural, if "duck" is masculine, as you say? One adjective, gris, is not plural, but the other, violets, is plural. Is masculine gris never plural, then?


Merci for the chart, & I bookmarked it, but I still do not understand...why canard gris but also violets, plural? One adj. is plural, the other not? For the same noun?


I'm not a native speaker, so I may say something incorrect.

On the link I gave you, at the very top, in grey, (ironic) it says inflections (adj) of gris. Here is my understanding:

Gris - masculine singular

Grise - feminine singular

Gris - masculine plural

Grises - feminine plural

As you can see, singular and plural (masculine) are the same. For violet, it is:

Violet - masculine singular

Violette - feminine singular

Violetts - masculine, plural

Violettes - feminine, plural

Now, don't ask me why, because I don't make the rules of French and if I did they would make sense. Perhaps a native could reveal that mystery.


Please correct - 'There are grey and violet ducks' is marked as wrong!


FR "violet" = purple.


What's wrong with "There exist grey and purple ducks."?


What is the difference between "il existe" and "il y a?" Thanks.


I think 'il existe' means that someting exists somewhere in the world, whereas when you say 'il y a' you usually have some specific place in mind, like 'il y a un homme dans ma maison'


That clears it up. Merci!


"There exist grey and purple ducks" is perfectly correct English sentence, and should be accepted as a correct translation.


Why doesn't ils existent des canards work as canards are plural?


Because the il is not referring to the plural canards. It is a "dummy" subject for the impersonal verb existe. As when we talk about the weather: it is snowing, freezing, raining, or it is hot/cold. There is no "it". The reason we use "it" is that grammar will not allow us to construct a sentence without a subject, so we use "it" to cover our psychological need. We could say "Snow is falling", "The weather is hot" but we don't. English uses this impersonal "it" all the time. "It was van Gogh who painted that picture" What does "it" mean there? Nothing. It is a place holder. We could just as easily say "Van Gogh painted that picture".

Now, to your main point about why not plural "ils existent". Consider this sentence. "It was five people I saw, not three". See? You just can't make this plural.


Does this refer to the existence of a species of duck that is grey and purple or more than one species some of which may be grey and some of which may be purple? In english we'd use an oxford comma to distinguish-- does french follow the same rule?


You have an editor's eye! I wondered the same thing. I'm curious whether French uses commas to separate coordinate adjectives the way we do in English: There are gray, purple ducks would definitively mean "ducks that are gray and purple." But "There are gray and purple ducks" is decidedly ambiguous.


Why is "Gray and purple ducks exist" not acceptable?


Why is the English translation "There exists gray and purple ducks." marked wrong? As, it is a more precise translation of the French.

[deactivated user]

    Because in English, at least with this grammatical structure, you have to use the plural verb for the plural noun, so "there exists a duck" but "there exist ducks".


    "There exist grey and purple ducks" is still marked as wrong


    Why isn't this 'ils existent'? Does it follow the same rules as 'Il y a', are ducks in this context grouped as a singular entity (like grapes), or is it due to some generalization rule like 'il fait' or 'il faut' where the subject isn't a real subject?


    Yes, it is an set expression meaning there is / are.



    Why not 'ils existent des' etc.? Does this work like il y a?

    [deactivated user]

      We're told that where there are multiple colour adjectives they all take the singular masculine form, eg "elle a une robe noir et blanc", yet all of a sudden I'm marked wrong for "des canards gris et violet" and told I should have written "des canards gris et violets". I suppose the latter means "grey ducks and purple ducks", rather than "grey+purple ducks", but the English sentence can mean either, so I think both translations should be allowed.


      A thorny issue, a Dhroigeann, a chara.

      In my view this is about the difference between gris et violets (grey and purple) and gris violet (purplish grey or greyish purple). Perhaps this makes the Oxford comma reference elsewhere in these comments redundant? "Gris et violets" could mean a mixture of ducks, some of which a grey and some purple. It could conceivably mean ducks that have blocks of grey and blocks of purple on the same bird. "Gris violets" on the other hand must mean ducks of a uniform colour that we could call a greyish purple or a purplish grey.

      That's my take on it, but I'm more than happy to be corrected.

      [deactivated user]

        Go raibh maith agat, but my problem is that this page https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/compound-colour-names-and-colour-names-derived-from-things-are-invariable (by "a professional French teacher, translator and linguist") tells me that "a black and white dress" counts as a compound colour adjective, so it keeps the masculine form, "une robe noir et blanc" - surely it's not a dress of a uniform whiteish black or blackish white colour, but a dress with blocks of white and black, so I would expect ducks with blocks of grey and purple to similarly keep the singular form, "des canards gris et violet". I don't say I'm right, I say if I'm wrong I don't understand why.


        A chairde.

        I may be wrong but it seems to me that the English sentences are derived from the non-English originals and this can lead to ambiguities in the English sentence that were not in the source sentence.

        Anyway, in this particular case, I think the French is referring to two distinct sets of ducks of different colours. At least, according to this advice about agreement of adjectives of colour on ac-versailles.fr

        dictée n°2 : 3ème1

        c) Il faut faire également attention au sens que l'on veut donner à la phrase car ça fera varier l'orthographe des adjectifs qualificatifs

        ex : des chats blanc et noir (chaque chat est blanc et noir), des chats blancs et noirs (il y a à la fois des chats noirs et des chats blancs).

        [deactivated user]

          Thanks a lot, that confirms my initial idea. Interesting reference generally by the way, will have to look at other things it says as well!


          In the light bulb instructions, it says if there are two adjectives, they both take the masculine singular form. Why is gris that way but violets took the plural? It should be violet, right?


          As I see it, the rule you refer to doesn't apply here because we are not dealing with a compound adjective.

          This sentence is, it seems, talking about TWO groups of ducks, one with grey plumage, the other with purple. i.e. "grey ducks and purple ducks" as opposed to "grey-purple ducks".

          I repeat here a quotation from my post from a month ago:

          des chats blanc et noir (chaque chat est blanc et noir), des chats blancs et noirs (il y a à la fois des chats noirs et des chats blancs).


          How do you say something is violet?


          violet / violette → it is the same word.


          There are ducks grey and purple...why is it wrong


          In English, the adjectives - or colors, in this case - always come BEFORE the noun.


          pourquoi pas grises?


          Another question - does the audio on "violets" sound strange to anyone else? Perhaps it's just my computer, the microphone is situated in a bad place.


          Since the work 'exist' is proper English, shouldn't the translation 'Gray and purple ducks exist' should be correct since it closely adheres to the meaning of the words in both languages. Marked incorrect by D, malheureusement..


          So we first use the noun and then the adjetives even if we have to use more than one adjetive? I'm still kinda confused


          Terrible audio on violets, no v! The male voice can be clear to a fault, but no v?! I quite like ducks, they are cute, but I do not like this wretched sentence tonight.


          or - There are grey and purple ducks, since the English spelling of the color can be grey or gray


          pronunciation very poor here


          cannot hear whether it is singular or plural. does anyone have any tips as to what to listen for?


          Pardon me, but doesn't "exister" also mean "to exist"? So shouldn't "There exist grey and purple ducks" also be accepted?


          Annoying that the British spelling grey is marked as wrong....Should accept both the American spelling gray and the British grey.


          Why when you give a right answer it is rejected as wrong?


          What was your rejected answer?


          There are ducks that are gray and purple was marked wrong.


          I thought that if you have two colours explaining a noun then both colours are male and singular. So why is grey singular and purple plural?

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