"She had hair on her arms."

Translation:Elle avait des poils sur les bras.

April 2, 2018

This discussion is locked.


Why is it "les bras" and not "ses bras". The sentence to translate was She had hair on her arms. Using 'les' seems like it would be She had hair on the arms. Can someone help me understand this better?


Sure thing. In French when the owner of the body part is obvious, the definite articles le, la, les are used instead of possessive adjectives, mon, ma, mes, ton, ta, tes, son, sa, ses, etc. If it is unclear or there is room for ambiguity, then a possessive adjective is used.


i.e. in this case "Elle avait des poils sur ses bras" is not incorrect, just redundant?


Well, it would not be as natural in French. It would sound redundant and odd to a native speaker.


I am a french canadian and in my opinion, "sur ses bras" sounds more natural than "sur les bras".


Why plural poil? You didn't say plural.


2019-03-19 Au contraire ! DL didn't say singular. To "have hair" never means to have a single hair. That's described as to "have a hair". As in, "Ick, this soup has a hair in it!"


Why is it "des poils" and not "du poils?"


it could be " du poil " ou " des poils " we normally say " avoir du poil aux jambes"


Duolingo gives "du poil" for the chest and "des poils" for the arm. Are they interchangeable?


It all depends on the quantity of hair "du" if you can't count them (too many) and " des" if you can count them. A big guy will have "du poil " but a pretty lady will have " des poils ".


Thank you for a clear explanation of something that was completely confusing.


@Claude295345 That's incredibly helpful thank you!


Makes sense. Thanks.


This makes no sense except as pure overly-polite sexism. Many men have a lot less hair on their chest than many women have on their arms. I'm still confused as to why "du poil" is marked wrong in this exercise.


does "avait" means that she had hair on her arms in the past but she doesn't have it right now but "a eu" would mean that she had hair on her arms in the past and she still has it now ?


Here I would say it is more an example of the "descriptive" use of the imparfait. When telling a story you may describe the setting, scene and people using the imparfait. These are things where the beginning and end are undefined or unimportant, unlike the passé composé.



Avait - l'imparfait = similar to past continuous (something lasting quite some time, a situation here) A eu - passe compose = similar to past simple ( a definite action, here it would be she shaved/removed her arms hair or something like that, to indicate action, something being done)


Why is "cheveux" not accepted ?


Cheveux means the hair on the head, poil(s) is for body hair.


Any idea why "elle a eu" is not accepted? But "elle avait" is? With different emphasis "she had hair..." could mean both


2019-03-19 As CommeuneTexane said a few months ago, this is a story-telling use of the imparfait, but I believe both should be accepted. Report if it isn't.


There was a previous translation of "he had hair on his chest," with the correct answer being "du poil,", not "des poils," so which is right?


Thanks Claude, du poil sur la poitrine and des poils sur les bras is really confusing! You have an explaination, I think....?


"Ses poils" is also true.


Why would anyone pick fur(poil) over hair(cheveux)?


That brings a little clarity to it. Mind you, I would never make such a personal remark.

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.