Ingénieur vs un ingénieur

The task is to select the translation for "The man is an engineer."

The options are:

L'homme est pauvre.

L'homme est ingénieur.

L'homme est un ingénieur.

I had noticed that one usually doesn't use articles when speaking about occupations, so I checked the second answer. But Duolingo said I should select both the second and the third. Is it right?

July 7, 2012


I speak french, it's my native language and duolingo is right you can say both ways.

July 7, 2012

The same is true for German, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, and probably other languages. Slightly different meaning with article vs. without.

May 19, 2013

I think both are correct, because you could be talking about a man who is an engineer by profession (your understanding), or you could be talking about the role that he carries out, meaning: "That man is an engineer. He is one of several we employ here, who specialize in electronics, mining, computers ... ."

July 7, 2012

I think that Duolingo should not post such questions because it does not give any explanations. From all the previous exercises I got that I need not use the article in such cases, and then it says I'm wrong not to select that "un ingéneur". That's a little inconsistent, isn't it? :)

Anyway, I'm glad you guys explained the "un" and non-"un" cases to me :)

July 8, 2012

I agree. In multiple choice questions, they should think not only about what is correct, but also about what is helpful to the student. This question would be better off without that alternative. I report things like this sometimes, but I don't know if they ever do anything about it.

July 2, 2013

It would be good if it added an explanation for that. It does do that sometimes.

June 19, 2013

florala, I didn't want to be mean. it's just what every grammar book says about it. An exception could be if the profession is followed by some more elements related to it:

Il est le dentiste de notre ville.

Il est un professeur renommé.

But this is not the case of the sentences above mentioned, is it?

July 8, 2012

No worries

But it's not because every grammar book say so that you can't say both ways. Duolingo is not wrong on this ;)

July 8, 2012

So... is this situation specific to the occupation of engineer for some reason?

April 4, 2013

No, it is valid for all the occupations.

April 4, 2013

Thanks Florala

July 7, 2012

marco87c, i guess you are a native speaker as well?

Because i am and both are correct.

July 8, 2012
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