https://www.duolingo.com/Ruairi

Les grandes robes des femmes

Why is "les grandes robes des femmes" not "the big dresses of some women" ?

August 30, 2012

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/olimo

"des" here is the contraction of "de les" = "of the".

August 30, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Good question ! I'll take it the other way round : "the big dresses of some women" translates to "les grandes robes de certaines femmes" (meaning : of a number of them). Not far away in terms of eventual meaning, but a slight one though. With "les grandes robes des femmes", you take the whole feminine population (or women in general) and you talk about their big dresses, the emphasis is on "big", because they also have "short" dresses. With "les grandes robes de certaines femmes", you talk about an identified group of women, the emphasis is rather on "certaines" (that group).

August 30, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Yes in theory, no in practical terms. On a sign in a department store, you would find "Robes longues" and that's it, because few men wear dresses and "grande robe" is not really something you would use anyway, frankly I don't very well figure out what a "grande robe" would be (except a lawyer's gown?)

August 31, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/lpacker

So, grandes robes would refer to long dresses, not dresses for overweight women?

August 31, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/lpacker

Thanks for the explanations! Oh, and nice double chin!

September 1, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/lpacker

Wouldn't the sentence be translated: "women's large dresses", as in a sign you might see in a department store?

August 30, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/emmanuelhonore

As said earlier by Olimo "des" = "de les" = "of the" basically (so it can't be translated by "some"). As for the meaning, "les grandes robes" should be translated by "the long dresses" or "the huge/big dresses" but here the adjective only refers to the noun "robe".

Dresses for overweight women could be translated by something like "robes pour femmes en surpoids" (in order to stay politically correct :) )

August 31, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Yes, let's talk about "big dresses" meaning 'oversized dresses' for "femmes en surpoids". In any catalogue or store, you would most certainly read (very politically correct) : "grandes tailles". At the end of the day, "grandes" is not very meaningful when applied to "robes". That's my conclusion...

September 1, 2012
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