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"Marc fume une vingtaine de cigarettes par jour."

Translation:Marc smokes about twenty cigarettes a day.

April 24, 2020

9 Comments


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

Why is it "de" instead of "des"?


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

It is "de" because the twenty is "une vingtaine," a singular amount.

This is the same as in English, when we talk about "a" dozen (12), or "a gross," (144).

I hope this helps.


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

PS. If you think the word "dozen" has its origins in the French "douzaine," then it is pretty safe to say you are right!


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

Sorry but I have to disagree. I don't think the choice of de has anything to do with whether (une) vingtaine is singular or plural. (In passing, I think une vingtaine de cigarettes is arguably a plural noun phrase.) You wouldn't claim that de, rather than des, is used in beaucoup/trop de cigarettes because beaucoup/trop is singular, would you?


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

Well, I would argue that "beaucoup de" is singular. Duo consistently translates it as "A lot of," even if my personal preference is for "lots of," "A lot" is also a singular term in the auctioneering trade, even when the lot in question consists of multiple items.. ... in precisely the same way as it does for "A dozen," or "A gross," or, for that matter, "A flock" of seagulls. All singular, IMO.


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

If all your examples are singular in terms of the grammatical category of Number, then in English, as well as in French, the (auxiliary) verb would take the singular form in agreement with the singular subject noun phrase. Do you say, e.g., ”A dozen (of) eggs costs $ 1.00 here”? What I was trying to say in my previous comment was that though dozen and vingtaine may themselves be singular in form, the choice of de over des has little to do with the Number of the quantifier or noun that precedes it (and that in passing, the whole noun phrase une vingtaine de cigarettes will arguably be plural). According to your reasoning, when vingtaine is pluralized, say, quelques vingtaines, you would predict that the appropriate preposition that follows it is des and not de.


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

You can't compare "a lot of" with "beaucoup de", but with "un grand nombre de" to get a singular noun as part of a prepositional phrase.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CarlGraing1

Because une vingtaine quantifies the cigarettes - as in "un kilo de pommes" or "dix bouteilles de cidre".


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

I cannot work out where the 'about' comes in. Why isn't 'environ' used here. After all 'an amount of twenty' is not the same as 'about twenty'

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