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"Drengen og pigen finder en ost."

Translation:The boy and the girl find a cheese.

August 30, 2014

33 Comments

Sorted by top post

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

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.

November 7, 2014

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

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.

May 9, 2016

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

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.

May 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidHarri227108

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.

October 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobertJ.Ed

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

May 21, 2016

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

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."

June 11, 2018

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

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

August 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jtd102018

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"

August 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ScottFerg88

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!

September 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/p8c
  • 407

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.

October 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidHarri227108

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

October 31, 2018

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

Why can't you have 'a' cheese? I think the translation is correct. For example, see saveacheese.com

August 30, 2014

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

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.

September 16, 2014

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

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

October 6, 2014

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

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

October 7, 2014

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

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.

October 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

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

January 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mrcurtis.english

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

March 15, 2016

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

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

May 8, 2015

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

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.

December 3, 2014

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

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

September 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jytte465010

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.

October 16, 2014

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

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

November 25, 2014

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

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.

December 18, 2015

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

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).

May 9, 2016

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

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

May 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/beaumains13

This sentence sounds...cheesy.

August 29, 2018

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

Who cut the cheese?

September 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ria784062

I don't know, but you should really put that cheese back because it's N a c h o cheese

February 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LinhCao11

Hope not on the floor

August 24, 2017

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

¨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.

April 30, 2019

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

Why is your app always lying?

May 30, 2019

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

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

August 13, 2019
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