Knowing spanish really helps. It works very similarly. Example: ENG: I can't believe you've done this to me, my own son! / SPA: No puedo creer que me hayas hecho esto, mi propio hijo! / FR: Je ne peux pas croire que tu m'as fait cela, mon propre fils! // Propio (SPA)/Propre(FR) work the same way. There's really no equivalent in english, but you can avoid forgetting this by remembering the phrase 'a proper attire' (Une tenue appropriée) ((Kind of tricky since the keywork, prope changes place)) I hope this helped.
Non descriptive adjectives such as possessive adjectives come before the noun.
Analytical descriptive adjectives come after. That is they classify the noun in certain ways.
When you are comfortable translating spoken French on the fly, it should become automatic to take the right meaning from its placement and conversely to place the adjective based on your intention.
Needless to say, I am not anywhere near that point.
In English ...All wives can be contentious at times. A possible response...My own wife is not like that.
Using this sentence: Ma propre femme est seule
Duo introduces ..Ma must agree with femme...ma and femme taken together turns femme into wife....propre can also mean own....être must be rendered in third person singular to agree with the subject ....seule must be in feminine form to agree with the subject....seule placed where it is means alone and not lonely.
You are correct to wonder if this is a typical conversational construction in French. However it is possible under some circumstances.
Also it introduces a lot of teaching in only five words.
You obviously know a lot of French...how would a beginner (that's me!) have known that "ma femme" means "wife" and not woman? AND that "propre," previously introduced as "clean," suddenly means "own!" Obviously "my woman" isn't standard English, but it seems a leap, without any hint or instruction, to intuit that "ma femme" means "wife." I guess I just don't like those big red Xs!
That is Duo's system of teaching French.
Rather than burden you with a lot of rules and exception, colloquial expressions and uses that don't directly translate into English they give standard uses in short phrases. Then when you think you have got it down, they throw in an exception or variation that you couldn't possibly know based on what they have presented previously.
Losing your heart in this way draws your attention and therefore facilitates retention. The more surprised and annoyed you are at losing that heart the more likely you are to make a point of remembering the error.
This is what I find quite upsetting about Duolingo - clean and proper cannot mean the same thing. Very very confusing for somebody who is trying to learn french. Can we get an answer from Duolingo rather than an answer from a word warrior? This is becoming more and more frequent. I am here for help, but honestly, I am looking for other French courses now!!!!!!!!!
"Ma femme est seule" would mean "my wife is alone," and "Ma femme est seule" is in fact accepted as a correct answer. My question is what nuance or emphasis does the "propre" add? Why would someone opt for "Ma propre femme..." instead of just "Ma femme..."?
Thanks in advance - I have skimmed through the 149 comments and didn't see an answer.