"I have zero books."

Translation:J'ai zéro livre.

January 24, 2015

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À mon avis le pluriel en français commence à partir de 2 , donc il faudrait écrire , "j'ai zéro livre", "j'ai un livre", "j'ai deux livres". Ou bien : "je n'ai pas de livre(s)" , singulier ou pluriel suivant le contexte.


It is the same in English


Not really. First, it is not accurate grammatically to equate the negative with zero. Zero by its is an affirmative, absolute absence. The question with zero is how people think about value represented by zero. In English, zero is plural since it can be created from taking away plural items. Zero goes with a singular noun in French since it is considered a single set of containing nothing.

A negative is describing an opposite. Therefore, whether or not the following noun is single or plural is contextual to the conversation.


In a previous question I translated this as ' I have no books' and was marked wrong. Can you please explain why? I have never used the expression ' I have zero books'!


Yeah, this is awkward in both languages, I believe. Just humor the Owl and learn its quirks.


The only time I've heard it used is when the speaker is emphasizing the fact that there are no books.

"Do you have any books?" "No, I have no books." "Are you sure you don't have even one book?" "No! I have zero books! Quit bugging me!"


French uses singular for number zero. A different language usually comes with a different grammar and a different way to interpret the world. French-speakers just happen to consider that zero must be singular because if there is zero something, there definitely cannot be several of it (which to me seems the most logical way to think). Every time you learn a new language you just have to be open-minded. In Finnish the noun is always singular after any number, and in Russian the noun is singular up until four and plural for five and above.


Why not "Je possède zéro livres"?


That would be "I own zero books". "Have" and "own/possess" can mean the same thing, but they don't always mean the same thing. "I have zero books (with me right now), but I OWN hundreds of books."


how come books is singular?


In French, "zéro" is used with singular nouns, rather than plural nouns, as in English.


Would have been helpful to have the fact that zero is singular explained in the "Tips and Notes".


Because I have a Kindle instead


Why is "J'ai zéro roman" not accepted?


"Un roman" is a specific type of book, namely a novel. The books could be dictionaries, or field guides, or history books, or Bibles, none of which are novels.

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