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"Ses petits-enfants sont nombreux."

Translation:His grandchildren are numerous.

March 28, 2018

30 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NatashaSam2

Many and numerous can be used interchangeably


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

Agreed, and that has been the case even in Duolingo in other exercises. I did the same thing and will report it.


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

He has "many" grandchildren is accepted. However, "his grandchildren are many" sounds a bit awkward and unnatural.


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

For sure. But it reminds me of Sunday school back in Texas, with the story about the possessed man: "I am Legion, for we are many." :-)


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

Let me get back to you after I discuss this. Keep in mind that the KJ bible is not the best source of modern English rules and conventions. ;-)


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

Ha! True, indeed. Thankfully, no one goes around talking in KJ English these days. (Can you imagine?) It just reminds me of that verse since Duo sometimes will take that type of construction with many. Man, language is fun, though!


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

"His grandchildren are many," will be accepted. Bear in mind that it sounds a bit "literary." Yes, language is fun!


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

"I am Legion, for we are many" is the exact Greek translation! It has nothing to with the source of the King James Bible and modern English. Good job GabeDC, the MOD notwithstanding.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wanda655505

Well, ask any normal speaking American and you will get that several means alot. It would not be considered as meaning a little. And, I promise you they won't go running for a dictionary to see if it says more than 2 but less than numerous. If we use it the wrong way, so be it. To us several means many. If someone learning English said to a native English speaker here, he had several grandchildren trying to convey that the man doesn't have many grandchildren, people woudn't understand it that way. Period.

About how many is numerous supposed to represent anyway? It represents like too many to count.

Sorry, we would not normally use the word numerous in this context anyway. The word is not down to earth enough for people talking about the amount of children or grandchildren one has.

Sorry, in my humble opinion, it would be best to accept several alternatives to numerous e.g., many, many many, a lot, loads, goo gobs (just kidding) and yes, several.


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

I think you are making an over generalization here about what "any normal speaking American" would say. What's more, the dictionaries disagree that several means many. Several means more than two, but not many. Numerous means many.

A couple = two
several = more than two, a few
numerous = many or a lot


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

While I agree that many should be accepted, I (as a normal speaking american) would confidently say that several is smaller than many. I would say my wife's grandparents have several grandkids, but if I said my grandparents have several grandkids, I would consider that trying to make the family sound smaller than it is.

If nothing else, numerous is meant to have the connotation that it is a large number. There are lots of English words that have that same implication, but several is certainly a small number.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/amharris1962

How do you know if "ses" means "his" or "hers"?


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

Unless there is context, it can mean either for the purposes of Duolingo. In real life, context will tell you whether ses means his or hers.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PennyFoste1

I think when there's no indicator to masculine or feminine, always choose the masculine.


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

As a rule, the contributors add both masculine and feminine options when the English sentence is ambiguous. Being human though, sometimes correct translations are forgotten. Please report any problems.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wanda655505

I wrote "He has several grandchildren", but it was marked wrong. My sentence means exactly the same thing as the so-called correct sentence.


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

Sorry, several = plusieurs and numerous = nombreux. Several implies a small number, while numerous means meany. These words aren't synonyms in French or in English.


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

Sorry but several doesn't mean small number it means many. I think it's equivalent just not a literal translation of the French here.


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

No, several does not mean many according to Cambridge Dictionary

some; an amount that is not exact but is fewer than many

Nor Oxford

More than two but not many


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

Reminds me of the ill-defined border between oligo- and poly-peptides. But that's another story. I think where the dictionary definitions are particularly useful is in a situation where you use 'many' and 'several' in the same sentence and, as you have pointed out, rely on the fact that 'several' is always less than 'many.' Thus, 'I have many teeth and several of them are filled.'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/frudolf1

system doesn't accept grandkids


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wanda655505

This flawed excercise marked wrong my answer of: He has NUMEROUS grandchildren.

They corrected my answer by writing: He has MANY grandchildren.

So much for numerous vs many. Lol "I can't win for losing." (an idiom) This excercise should be made decent or scrapped.


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

If there is a problem with the sentence, please report it. This alerts the course contributors that a translation is missing or something is wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/frudolf1

still doesn't accept grandkids


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PennyFoste1

The proper term is grand-children. WE can call them grand-kids however thats a personal choice and not whats accepted here. Really makes me stop and think.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PennyFoste1

The sentence is about how many the grandchildren are (sont) and not about how many grand-children he, she or have.


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

Amusing coincidence that 'rabbit' is a word choice ;-)


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

Nobody would say this. People would say, "He has a lot of grandchildren. "


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

That is another accepted translation. However, the best translation is the one that is closest in structure to the French sentence while still being grammatically correct. The reason we picked it as the best translation instead of a more natural one in English was to aide with the reverse translation when you take the English sentence and translate it back to French.

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