"Their hat is warm."
Translation:Leur chapeau est chaud.
Several owners can be said to have one thing, which will conventionally mean "one each":
- notre/votre/leur chapeau = each individual has his/her own hat
By the way "votre" is also the possessive for the formal singular "vous", so the address can be made to one person only, who has one hat.
That is another difference between English and French. There is no way that a 3rd person singular pronoun can be changed to a 3rd person plural in French or people will not understand whom you are talking about.
The only exception is with "on" (3rd person singular) which can come with a 1st person plural possessive (or adjectives/past participles). It is not correct but it is very frequent, especially in relaxed speech:
- on a pris nos affaires et on est parti(s) = we grabbed our stuff and we left.
That totally makes sense, but I wasn't speaking about French here! My point is only that the original english sentence "Their hat is warm" could refer to a singular subject.
Because the original english sentence is ambiguous, it could be translated as either singular (with "son") or plural (with "leur").
FWIW, my first interpretation of "their hat is warm" was a singular subject. I personally think it's awkward phrasing for a plural subject and only works for somewhat contrived examples. (particularly because "hat" is singular, so must refer to some completely uniform collection of hats or hat design.)
Now, you will know that when Duo proposes "they/their" they expect a plural translation...
The first reason as I said is that we do not avoid genders in French (and certainly not by using a plural for a singular) and the second reason is that a plural subject can easily have a singular object (hat and not hats) because it allows variations:
leur chapeau est chaud = one each
leurs chapeaux sont chauds = several each
With people: "j'ai chaud" means "I feel warm/I am warm" - this is an inner sensation.
With people again: "le bébé est chaud" means "the baby is warm" when you touch his/her skin with your hand.
With any inanimate object: "le radiateur est chaud" = "the radiator is warm", ie like the baby example.
I've read all the comments here, but am still not completely clear on the relationship between plural subject and singular object as expressed en Français. In English, the sentence seems to refer to a warm hat that multiple people share, or possible multiple identical hats that one company sells. Would it be correct to imagine the same sentence, en Français, referring to the warm hats of a couple and their child? Three people with three different hats sharing the common quality of being warm?
I believe that, for English speakers, the confusion over this sentence comes from its unnaturalness; In English, If we are referring to multiple people, each with his or her own similar object, subject and object would agree in number. So, "THEIR hatS are warm." I think this is just a poor translation from the French.
leur chapeau is singular
leurs chapeaux is plural.
Remember that French possessives used in front of nouns are adjectives and as such, they have to agree in gender and number with the noun they qualify.
Therefore both "leur" and "leurs" mean "their" (= plural owners), but "leurs" is used when the possession is plural.
You have to understand the French sentence before you translate it to its most probable meaning in English. Once you have understood the French convention that a plural subject can be said to own a singular object with the meaning of "one each" or "one shared", you can translate a singular to a singular and a plural to a plural.
- leur chapeau = one each or one belonging to a collective group (a shop for instance)
- leur voiture = one each or one shared
Depending on the context, the English sentence "Their hat is warm" could mean 1) that the hat is warm to the touch or 2) that the hat does a good job keeping someone's head warm. I think the French sentence has the first meaning. What is a natural way to express the second?