So, sa is feminine, ses is masculine, and son is either?? Help, please!
Each "person" has a specific possessive adjective. Possessive adjectives agree with the thing owned, not with the owner.
- je => mon (masculine object), ma (feminine object), mes (plural object)
- tu => ton, ta, tes
- il/elle/on => son, sa ses
- nous => notre, nos
- vous (polite and plural) => votre, vos
- ils/elles => leur, leurs
Non! « Sa » = feminine (singular), « son » = masculine (singular), and « ses » = plural (for both masculine and feminine). Therefore, you have « son père », « sa femme », « ses pères », and « ses femmes ».
Reading the discussion below, I guess my question is then how the dickens does one tell if it is 'her dog' or 'his dog'? It seems like rather pertinent information to be able to communicate.
Son/sa/ses is probably more accurately translated as "their", since it conveys no detail of the owner's gender.
"Their dog" would be fine in english, and determining gender would require context.
On this course, you will never translate a 3rd person singular pronoun or adjective to or from a 3rd person plural pronoun or adjective.
the translation to this says it is "her father is tall". Was there a way to tell that 'Son' here referred to her and not his? Could it not also be 'his father is tall'?
It is sometimes misleading when we look at the given translation and say it is "THE translation". As ZuMako has said, "son" can mean either "his" or "her". Both are correct (with no weird conjuring of explanation) and both are accepted. It is only when you have a sentence like "il a donné à manger à son chien". (He gave his dog something to eat) that the hearer will understand "son chien" as "his dog". Another example I like to use:
- Il est tombé de son cheval = He fell from his horse
- Il est tombé de son cheval à elle = He fell from her horse
- Elle est tombé de son cheval = She fell from her horse
- Elle est tombé de son cheval à lui = She fell from his forse.
Understood, thanks. I guess I should have read the page as "another possible solution" as opposed to "THE solution".
It can be either. Only by the context of the conversation can one distinguish whether « son » means "her" or "his."
You have to be aware of the difference in usage between "père" and "papa" and this is why "father" and "dad" are not interchangeable in translations from French.
"Son père" can mean "his father" or "her father", and even "its father".
"son" is masculine and singular because it agrees with "père", masculine and singular.