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  5. "Drengen og pigen finder en o…

"Drengen og pigen finder en ost."

Translation:The boy and the girl find a cheese.

August 30, 2014



These comments don't really explain why this is funky in English. It's called a plurale tantem. Cheese is an already plural noun, like pants. You can't REALLY say, "the boy and the girl find a pants." because the noun needs to be shown to exist as a part of a whole or as an indefinite quantity, hence "some", "a slice of", etc.

You can make it work without attribution (or added adjective), but only through attaching it to other things: "I'm looking for a cheese to pair with a vintage Cabernet Sauvignon."Or "There was a cheese that he had not tried yet." It works with pants too. "I'm looking for a pant that slims my physique."

Ultimately, you can say "a cheese" but most of the time you wouldn't.

Sorry to add clutter, but I know there are other people that are interested in this kind of thing.


I agree, generally.

I probably would say "I'm looking for a pair of pants ...", but this may be a British versus American English distinction (although I'm from Canada - we Canadians started to get too much American television over the years o_o).

I think when we say something like "I'm looking for a cheese to pair with ..." or "There was a cheese that he had not tried yet", we really mean "a kind of cheese" or "a type of cheese". I think that we like to drop words that can be easily implied and inferred by context.


Yeah, I'd normally say "a pair of pants" too. Or even "some pants to go with..." My sister works in fashion, and so she says "a pant" to me on occasion, but I wouldn't say it's common whatsoever.

Context and structure of the target language are important. We like to think of things such as "a water fountain" as two nouns and an article, but in reality "water" describes the fountain and not vice-versa, and so is therefore an adjective. Which, I think, makes a case for the importance of synthetic language structures and declension.


A similar expression is "the student bookstore", where "student" is further defining "bookstore". I'm not sure that makes it exactly an adjective, though. Maybe some sort of adjectival noun?

Anyone care to weigh in on that? I'd be very interested in how such a structure is analyzed linguistically.


Tld;dr: Yes.

In linguistics we usually call them attributive nouns. Adjectival noun also works. This subject is extremely complicated and somewhat unresolved in linguistics. I'm sure there are people still writing papers on it. The words you cited above are definitely nouns, but also have properties of adjectives. Adjectives can also act like nouns (nominal adjectives): "The apple is red." The baseline distinction between nouns and adjectives seems to be whether or not it can take intensifiers (e.g. very, really, too):

The apple is very red.

The very red apple.

The pot is clay.

The clay pot

*The really clay pot

*The pot is too clay.

I think it's worth noting that this is really only a debate in English. The other Germanic languages don't really have this problem because they always (or nearly) combine the words into one, where English only does it sometimes. Your example of bookstore is a case where it is one "word" (syntax shies away from using the term word, and prefers other terms such as morpheme, since word is mostly determined by orthography rather than actual speech). Student bookstore could just as easily be studentbookstore. From a phonological point of view, student and bookstore are probably two different words because of the way they are stressed. But that isn't an area I'm strong in, so I'll leave it at that. (As an aside people think I sound funny when I say Trader Joe's because I stress it like it's one word.)


This is what we (an ESL instruction course) referred to as "countable vs. non-countable" nouns, is it not?


Cheese is a mass noun, not a plural. In fact, "s" can be added to it, to indicate types e.g. "Many aged cheeses are used in this recipe."


You can't have "a cheese". Wouldn't it be "some cheese" or "a piece of cheese"?


You can say it in English, I think we would just normally qualify it with something, i.e. "The boy and the girl find a cheese with holes" or "I need a cheese without a rind" etc. But it's still correct to say "a cheese"


I agree. You can say "a cheese", but it sounds very high-end/fancy. I think it's the same with wine. Casually, we'd say "We have some/this/that wine", where as a wine-taster/maker might say "We have a wine here from...". I don't know, it's hard to explain!


Yes, but you literally always mean a kind of cheese and never a piece or chunk of cheese.


In the context of the answer in question, it is grammatically incorrect to say "a cheese".


One way it could work is if you're talking about a type of cheese. But, without any context here, that does seem like maybe it's a stretch.


It could also work if you a talking about a whole cheese, usually round, before it gets cut up into smaller chunks to be sold to us in shops and supermarkets.


true. good examples. but without qualification, think about the many things that may be permissible in a language are not necessarily used, and i think this example is one of them as it stands. of course if used in the context of your examples, then it makes sense.


In English when we can count something individually we use a/an. For example: an apple, a car, an egg, an airplane.

When we can can not count something individually we use helping words like some or we otherwise specify a form of measurement. Some cheese, a piece of cheese, a block of cheese. We usually don't speak naturally in the context of this sentence unless it is only a fragment. Like "The boy and the girl find a cheese" (that goes well with wine).

I have noticed this same problem in the Danish section with ice cream and juice. Anything that can not be counted including liquids and powders unless they are packaged or otherwise separated.

Do you want an ice cream? An Ice cream what? An ice cream sandwich? An ice cream cone? A bowl of ice cream?

This will all get worked out in time. We are still in beta.


First off, you can say "a cheese". Second, you can say "an ice cream", and it's suuuuper common. These are nowhere near wrong.


Just to clarify, cheese is an uncountable noun, as are milk, wine, bread and an assortment of other foods.


Are you American or English? It's not correct in American English.


I am American. I live in Minnesota. English is my native language (although my native dialect has some quirks -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjr2CexQ5V4 ) It is completely correct. Everyone here says "I'm going out to get an ice cream." Usually that means a cone, but it can also mean a cup. I don't know how it would differ from part to part. I would say "a cheese" if it is a prepackaged cheese, such as a wedge of cheese or something like that.


Oooh, do you think that they found a whole big round wheel of cheese? That would be an exciting find, not just a wedge!


Yeah, when saying "an ice cream," what form its in is implicit ^^;


A cheese is quite fine as long as it is the whole thing (like a whole ball of Edam) or it is qualified (like a cheese that goes with wine).

As for an ice cream...nothing wrong with it.


some cheese also makes sense to me. but that's an opinion more than anything else.


I don't feel that it is so much that a cheese would be wrong, although it isn't common around here but "some cheese", a piece of cheese" or "cheese" would also be a correct translation.


In Spanish "un queso" -"a cheese" also means the whole piece. Is it the same in danish?


Un fromage (French) also sounds as wrong as the English; some cheese or a piece of cheese sounds better to my British English ears. I have also reported it.


Yup, the French love their partitives! They would say "Le garçon et la fille trouvent du fromage" (The boy and the girl find (some) cheese).


Why can't I say "The boy and the firl look for a cheese."?


because firl is a wrong word! it should be girl! LOL


This sentence sounds...cheesy.


Hope not on the floor


¨The boy and girl find cheese¨ would also sum this up despite the translation, It would seem the way it is said varies from comments though.


Unless referring to types & categories (as opposed to physical pieces) in American English we wouldnt say "a cheese."

My question: in Danish do you also use the singular article (en/et) for things like bread or wine? Is "Drengen drikker en vin" correct?


that just doesn't sound right


Me and my brother looking for snacks in the middle of the night...


For sure 'a cheese' is correct. Cheese is a variable noun, that can be either mass/uncountable or not. More to the point, why and where did they find this particular cheese? Is 'Hide the cheese' a Danish sport? We need to be told.


A type of cheese sounds better, but "a cheese", "one cheese" or "two cheese(s)" are not correct in UK English. You wouldn't say "some cheeses", rather "some varieties of cheese"- cheese like milk, sugar, tea & coffee are nouns described in mass, not number ie, amounts of. Some have been changed more recently, like "a coffee with 2 sugars" (an abbreviation of "a cup of coffee with 2 teaspoons of sugar". A couple of centuries ago, people wouldn't have said "a coffee with two sugars".


"A cheese" can be correct in UK English, meaning either a type of cheese (Edam, Stilton, Cheddar, etc.) or a whole cheese when it is originally made.


Please see my explanation. The problem is people on here write stuff that is pants, which I think is what you were replying to.

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