1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Elle a un portefeuille."

"Elle a un portefeuille."

Translation:She has a wallet.

March 28, 2013

60 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lucykeating

In british english you would never say 'she has a wallet', women have purses


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ThanKwee

In American English one can say "she has a wallet". But a wallet is something that you put in a purse or handbag.

http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/wallets-for-women?segmentEngine=Default

http://www1.macys.com/cms/slp/2/Womens-Purses

This explains the confusion.

QUOTE: "In British English, a purse is more of a wallet and that’s the meaning I’ve been accustomed to my whole life. So I carry a purse in my handbag, like you might say that you carry a wallet in your purse. You can imagine how funny it was when I first heard people saying that they like to fit a bottle of water in their purse. That’s one giant purse."

http://youlookfab.com/2009/04/17/a-wallet-is-a-purse-which-is-also-a-handbag/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sumemon

But in American a purse is a handbag


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2306

If you are looking at it from US English, then un portefeuille is a billfold or wallet (for a man) or a woman's wallet (not to be confused with un porte-monnaie, a coin purse), which you can put inside your "sac à main" (handbag or purse, that is the larger bag, not the little one). To further confuse things, some men may carry a man's "purse", similar in function though smaller in size than a woman's sac à main, handbag (UK, US) or purse (US).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ThanKwee

This explains the confusion.

QUOTE: "In British English, a purse is more of a wallet and that’s the meaning I’ve been accustomed to my whole life. So I carry a purse in my handbag, like you might say that you carry a wallet in your purse. You can imagine how funny it was when I first heard people saying that they like to fit a bottle of water in their purse. That’s one giant purse."

http://youlookfab.com/2009/04/17/a-wallet-is-a-purse-which-is-also-a-handbag/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2306

The issue is not what you might prefer to say but what does the French sentence mean. THIS sentence "Elle a un portefeuille" means "she has a wallet". The meaning of "portefeuille" does not depend on what British speakers might be thinking. If you want to say "she has a purse" (meaning a purse for keeping one's coins), that is "elle a un porte-monnaie". This "purse" is to be distinguished from "un sac-à-main" (a handbag, also called a purse). Think of it this way:

  • un portefeuille is where you keep your folding money, credit cards, driver license, etc.
  • un porte-monnaie is used to keep your loose change/coins, though you might put a bit of currency in there as well, even though it is not designed for that.

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Peter00000001

In British English a purse is where a woman would keep credit cards, driver's licence etc and coins. A wallet is the same, but for a man.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/oscitare

"Portefeuille" can also mean "briefcase" or "portfolio."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WolkZayets

I wrote "briefcase" in my answer and it was counted wrong, even though I translated "portefeuille" as "briefcase" in two earlier sentences and it was counted right then.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

There was a mistake: a briefcase is not correct to translate "un portefeuille".

A briefcase is "une serviette, un porte-document, une mallette". Minimum size: enough to hold A4 papers, whereas "un portefeuille" should hold in your pocket.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheC4Defuser

So women can't have wallets then? Why not?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2306

The point is the "un portefeuille" is the thing that you put your folding money and credit cards in. Some people call it a wallet, others call it a billfold, some call it a purse. Most women put their "portefeuille" inside of their "sac à main" (handbag or purse). Sometimes ladies carry a « porte-monnaie » which is a "coin purse" which also goes inside the sac à main. So sometimes the same word (purse) is used in different ways.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/toxanix

Buying school supplies I learned that portefeuille can also mean portfolio... I don't use the word often but it'd be a nice thing to add to suggestions under the word.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"Un portfolio" is typically a big book used by photographers or illustrators to show their work.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/philipo79

I know a girl that carries a wallet since she doesn't like handbags and can put it in her pocket. But I think it would be a little harder to explain that in French. Google portefeuille and images of wallets and purses (uk english) comes up


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2306

Pas de problème, c'est encore un portefeuille.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/francophoney

It's so strange that this compound word is masculine, while its constituents are both feminine.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

No, "porte" is not a feminine constituent, it is verb "porter" (carry).

But indeed all compound words with "porte" are masculine.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/francophoney

Of course. That makes much more sense. Thank you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ThanKwee

Yes, that is accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-OliviaD-

I thought is was a binder. Oops


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/toxanix

It can actually mean portfolio as well, binder is similar to portfolio correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/atoxique

I believe a portfolio refers to those display-book things with the clear plastic sheets, whereas a binder is a cardboard folder with rings in it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2306

A portfolio (EN) for displaying artwork is "un dossier". The portfolio that may be used as FR "portefeuille" is a financial portfolio, i.e., the collection of one's stock market investments. A binder for putting papers in is "un classeur".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2306

A binder (usually a 3-ring binder) is called "un classeur".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

For your info, in France, "les classeurs" usually have 2 or 4 rings (des anneaux).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jenni442559

If you write the wrong translation "she is a wallet" the rocommended translation is "she's a wallet". She's is not a contraction of she has.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/atoxique

It can be, actually. As with "I have a wallet", you can shorten it to "I've a wallet".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2306

Many people do this but it is problematic. Better to use "I have got ..." or "she has got ..." rather than "I've" or "she's" when referring to possession. Contrary to certain regional use, "has/have" should not be contracted when it means "to possess", but only when it is used as an auxiliary verb, hence "she has got" (typically BrE).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WolkZayets

She's been working overtime = She has been working overtime


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2306

It's fine to contract "has" when it is used as an auxiliary verb as shown in your example.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tootie-Mae

The program translates le portefeuille as wallet or billfold. I chose billfold, but the program said it was incorrect and should be wallet? The noun itself if masculine. Does it matter if the owner of it is a female? Or is it just a program glitch?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/5clothilde7

Tootie-Mae, The gender of nouns in French (and in other languages as well) is assigned. So, nouns have a quality, as it were, of "he-ness" or "she-ness". It does not matter who is using the thing, holding, wanting, cleaning, etc. This is a source of fun for all who learn with English as a mother language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tootie-Mae

Thanks for the reply, but it doesn't answer the question which is: "Why was wallet correct but billfold deemed incorrect?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"billfold" is correct and accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbhishekMa815100

If pursw is wrong, then what is the French translation of purse?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Un portemonnaie (coin purse for anyone, because "monnaie" = change/coins) or une pochette (British English purse for ladies).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sumemon

My dictionary gives three meanings for pochette''petite poche placee en haut et a gauche d'un veston.2-petit mouchoir de fantaisie que l'on met dans cette poche,3 sachet de papier,d'etoffe dans lequel on place des photographies, des cartes etc (please excuse lack of accents)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

There is one definition missing: a small handbag, which would be good to translate the British English "purse".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sumemon

Perhaps you should send a message to DFC telling them their entry is deficient


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WolkZayets

That can also be called a purse in American English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rory445430

Purse and wallet have the same meaning in UK English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WolkZayets

They don't have the same meaning in American English.

"Purse"-- Handbag used by women

"Wallet"-- usually (but not always) foldable container for money and credit cards, driver's licenses, etc. Mostly associated with men but women can have wallets, too.

"Coin purse"-- small receptacle for carrying coins, used by both men and women


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fussydussypoo

I thought the french word for purse/wallet was 'portemonnaie'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

purse (for coins) = un portemonnaie / un porte-monnaie (monnaie means "change")

wallet (for cards, bank notes) = un portefeuille (feuille means "leaf/sheet").


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MartinAaro12

What the hell is a "billfold"?!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GeorginaMa967371

In England there is no such thing as a billfold


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2306

When you are on Duolingo, you have entered a broader world of English and will be exposed to other words. In AmE, "wallet" is used but "billfold" is commonly understood as the same thing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HughMcGarr

And I'd certainly never use the word 'billfold' that is a purely American word. Is this not the word for briefcase? As in 'carry paper?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

You are on the wrong track here: "un portefeuille" is not a briefcase, but a "carry bank notes".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marko246521

"She has a purse", should be accepted as an answer. Does Duolingo want its users to come exclusively from the USA? In the UK ladies carry money and credit cards in purses not wallets. If Duolingo accepts "des frites" as "chips", it should accept that in British English "elle" would "a" a purse and not a wallet.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WolkZayets

There are retailers in the UK that sell wallets for women

https://uk.burberry.com/womens-wallets/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WolkZayets

Not in American English, where purse = lady's handbag and wallet is a container for money, credit cards, etc., that can be carried in a purse (or often, in a pocket).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hassan323496

I wrote "she has a purs" and I was wronged, then why wallet? I only know men to carry wallet not women

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