Please would a moderator comment. There is a massive difference between English and French. One can say 'he eats his cheese' in English. But 'il mange son fromage' does NOT tell you if it is HIS cheese or HER cheese. Son fromage simply refers to a masc noun and 3rd person singular. There is no particular context here. This is a really important point about French Grammar.
To specify "He is eating her cheese" you would need to use the disjunctive pronoun elle after the preposition à to indicate possession:
Il mange son fromage à elle → "He is eating her cheese".
Otherwise, you just take it as read that the subject is acting on their own behalf -i.e he is eating his cheese.
You can read more about disjunctive or stressed pronouns here:
That's most helpful! As an editor who strives to avoid ambiguity, I never was sure how to be explicit in French. Thank you!
Why was He eats HER cheese rejected? It is a correct variation. Simon is still hungry. Susan is full. He eats her cheese. Il mange son fromage.
Because while "son" (and "sa") may grammatically be used as with "his" or "her", each will be understood to refer to the subject of the sentence. Therefore, "il mange son fromage" will be understood as "he eats his cheese". If you want to be clear, you can say "il mange son fromage à elle" = he eats her cheese.
I have a question. Regarding the audio "listening" exercise, how is it possible to know the speaker is not saying "they are eating his cheese"? "Ils mangent son fromage" ?
You cannot know that since "il mange" and "ils mangent" sound identical. We are constantly told that French is a very precise language. Here we see the opposite where ambiguity reigns.
And how about 'il mange sans fromage' (he is eating without cheese)?
I think that sounds the same no? Assuming it is sensible....? Is the only way to know just to know that we are meant to be on possessives???
I tried “It is eating its cheese.”, because I thought of “il” being a dog. However it was rejected. Am I right?
i was going to write, he eats her cheese, but that sounded a bit lewd, so i put he eats his cheese, and got it right, but yeah how can we differentiate if the words are the same for masculine and feminine? I scrolled down and couldnt find a sufficient answer for this conundrum
This should have been made clear in the conversation between Kate_Joy and Ripcurlgirl. Scroll once more and come back to ask, if there's still anything unclear.