"There are purple caps."
Translation:Il y a des casquettes violettes.
Why isn't "il existe des casquettes violettes" acceptable? I came across a similar sentence earlier...
"Il y a" and "il existe" are distinct in French, even if "il existe" often translates to "there is/are".
"Il y a" simply states that something is present somewhere.
"Il existe" (there exist) states that something is real, available or operational, depending on context.
... which would suggest that "il existe" should be an acceptable answer in this case?
Yes, how does that exclude "il existe" as an acceptable answer. Because as Evil Genius states, there is an example right before that makes this acceptable!
I thought colors as adjectives were invariable when following the nouns they describe. Why is "violettes" used here?
Color adjectives are regular adjectives and as such, they are placed after the noun they modify. They agree with the noun they modify.
But the agreement rule has a few exceptions:
when the color is also the name of a fruit or material: "orange", "marron" (chestnut), "argent" (silver) or "sable" (sand), etc. there is no agreement
when the color itself is modified by another adjective: bleu clair (light blue), rose pâle (pale blue), etc. there is no agreement
when the color is a compound noun with a hyphen: bleu-vert, rouge-orange, etc. there is no agreement
Thank you! Then I assume that "violet" not also refer to a flower in French. (What would you call the flower we call a violet?)
So now, you have to know that there are:
- exceptions of exceptions (back to the rule)
"Rose(s)" (pink + rose) and "violet(te)(s)" (purple + violet) are exceptions of exceptions! So they both agree with the noun they modify: "des chemises roses, des écharpes violettes."
"Il y a des casquettes purpres" was not accepted, yet in another exercise, someone translated "violets" as purple and was marked incorrect. Both words for purple are given in French-English dictionaries. Explanation?
Why don't you say in English, "There are some purple caps."? That would get it into our English speaking heads that you require the des.
It may not be the best tip, since "some" is far from being systematically used before a plural noun.
The best is to learn the French rule: the plural of "un" or "une" is "des".
Because "violet(te)(s)" is the common adjective corresponding to a mix of red and blue.
I put it in right, I checked when it told me the right answer and it was exactly the same as my own answer.