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Do you really need three words to say "the man"?

Beginner here, just wondering about sentences such as this one:

Nguoi dan ong uong nouc.

Apparently "nguoi dan ong" means "the man", in the sentence "he/the man drinks water". Is this a particularly formal way to write, or do I really need three words just to write "the man"?

April 16, 2019



I'm living here in Vietnam and do use the term to refer to a man not of the group I am with. Likewise with the term for woman If the man is with your group then you use one word, a family term to refer to him. This is very over simplified but if he is younger than you, call him em, older call him anh. After six months I have yet to know all the terms, they are extensive and beyond this course.

April 16, 2019


Well, to say "a man" you even need 4 words (4 syllables, to be more precise): một người đàn ông. It's not something surprising. In Spanish, for example, it requires 3 syllables too: el hombre (el-hom-bre). Words in different languages can have different lengths.

"Người đàn ông" is not something that is used that frequent. Generally, in reality, one would use a pronoun (anh ấy, ông ấy, chú ấy, bác ấy, bạn ấy, ổng, ảnh, nó, etc.) or name (if it's known) if possible. I can only think of cases in literary writing where it's used even when it's possible to be replaced with a pronoun. This is a downside of DL and many other apps - it expects closest translation(*) instead of telling how one would say in a real situation.

(*) By "closest translation", I mean translation that is almost word-by-word, and one can infer the translation by looking at the dropdown hints.

April 21, 2019


Yeah, I guess that makes sense, what with words being so short. Either way, there are sentences and words in Norwegian that are far longer than in English, too :p .

April 21, 2019


Vietnamese is different from English, so you must need three words to write "the man".

Người = the (in this case not in all case)

đàn ông = man

April 21, 2019
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