"I would like to change hairdressers."

Translation:Je voudrais changer de coiffeur.

June 14, 2020

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Why is coiffeur singular? Aren't we changing hairdresserS?


It's just a difference between English and French. Plural is usually used after "change" in English (in American English at least), singular after "changer de" in French.

Note that it's possible to use plural after "changer" without "de" though. The difference between "changer" and "changer de" is that "changer de" implies a relationship of ownership, possession, or usage of what follows by the subject. So for example, in this exercise, "changer de" is used since we're talking about the hairdresser that I use. If instead it's something that I don't have such a relationship with, "changer" without "de" is better. For example, "Je change les ampoules" = "I'm changing the light bulbs". I might not own the light bulbs, and even if I did, I normally wouldn't want to emphasize my possession of them, similar to how in English you might hear "I'm changing the light bulbs," but you would much less commonly hear "I'm changing my light bulbs." All this to say, it's in this context of using "changer" without "de" that you can see the plural used for the noun that follows "changer".


The English text refers to hairdressers (plural). Shouldn't it accept a translation in French that refer to more than one hairdresser ?


If the speaker of the English sentence is really talking about changing from one set of multiple hairdressers to a different set of multiple hairdressers, then yes, I think it would be okay to use the plural "coiffeurs". As an analogous example, "to change clothes" = "changer de vĂȘtements", with the plural being used to refer to multiple items of clothing being changed.

However, the tricky point here is that in English, we use the plural in this context even if we're really only talking about a single instance of the noun. So in this exercise, even though the speaker is using the plural "hairdressers", it's possible (and probably even likely) that they're referring to a singular hairdresser. As an analogous example, someone might say "I'm changing jobs" or "I'm changing schools", using the plural for the noun, but they only have a singular job or attend a singular school at any point in time. In this case where the speaker is talking about changing from a single hairdresser to another, the singular should be used in French.

You can find some related discussion of this in other threads, in particular see Sitesurf's comments:

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