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  5. "Ma propre femme est seule !"

"Ma propre femme est seule !"

Translation:My own wife is alone!

December 16, 2012



I thought propre was "clean" ?


I'm guessing based on my knowledge of Spanish that when propre comes before, it means "own" and when it comes after, it means "clean."


Doesn't that still break the BANGS rule? (For those who don't know, adjectives regarding Beauty, Age, "New"ness, Greatness, and Size only go in front of the noun). Not sure how "own" fits into any of those.


"BANGS" is a guide, not a rule. There are ALWAYS exceptions!


Yeah, Emma. That's French in cube.


Propre after noun=clean, Propre before noun=own.


I thought that N stood for "Number", and that G stood for "Good/Bad", but that works too.


Anything that doesn't go into bangs comes after (that's how I do it and [so far] it has never failed me). For example: a black dress doesn't fall into B, A, N, G, or S so you would say "Une robe noire". BTW, N is number not "Newness". Newness would be age, new/old.


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.


Propre is one of the adjectives that can go either before or after the noun. The position changes the meaning of the sentence.


I think you meant ‘novelty’. ;)


Thanks for new and useful information!


It means both "clean" and "own" (the adjective)


propre = (english) proprety, too.


I second denstar. when "propre" comes after the noun it's proper or clean, but when before it means own.


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.


It's easy to see how they rationalize the two meanings, though. If your room is clean, everything is in its "propre" place. So if, for example, your horse in in it's "propre" place, then it belongs to you.


I submitted "My clean woman is alone" at first, even though I knew it couldn't be right. Enjoyed learning about the sentence in this thread, though! One of the most useful parts of Duo is the fact that we can discuss -every- sentence presented.


I misheard it as Ma propre femme est sale, my clean woman/wife is dirty...


For who didn't get it :

If the word propre comes before it means own.

Example :

%ma propre chat is noir% = %my own cat is black%.

But if the the word propre comes before it means clean.

Example :

%ton chapeau est propre% = %your hat is clean%.

Hope you understand now :-)


why does femme mean woman sometimes and wife others? How do you know when you should be writing which is which?


I think if it's "ma femme" then it's safe to assume "my wife". We wouldn't say, "My woman" in standard English.


We also wouldn't say, "My own wife" ... is this a common thing in French? Why not just "Ma femme est seule"? Or does "propre femme" translate as wife? If so why is "own" accepted in the translation. Shouldn't it just be "My wife is alone".

Totally do not get that. Thanks.


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.


One school of thought on the learning process is that if you aren't making mistakes you aren't really learning.


Thanks for your reply, northernguy. Helpful explanation. I'm mostly enjoying learning a bit of French and I don't need to agonize quite so much!


We might. You could say something like, "His wife is here with us while my own wife is at home alone."


My friend I submitted "my wife" and Duo tell me that the answer was right. I assume using "my wife" as the translation of "ma propre femme" is acceptable


I'm glad you posted this because I have trouble with the english sentence. "My own wife" is a bit 'clunky'. So I am glad to hear that "My wife" is acceptable as the english translation.


for some reason i find this mildly depressing


Isn't "ma" the feminine possessive?


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!!!!!!!!!


Many words have more than one meaning and duo is presenting an alternative here. You are finding that placing the word before or after the noun changes its meaning from "own" to "clean".


"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.


A way you can think to remember - propre - proper - property - ownership - it's my OWN. Nnnnnot that I would like to get the idea of people being someone's property in everone's head... But you can use it for other things too! I hope?


Surely this is a tautology. It is unnecessary to define "my wife" with the addition of "own".


Depends on context. Read above comments.


Does he have another wife who is not his own?


What's the difference between my wife and my OWN wife?


can "propre femme" mean "cleaning woman"?


I think that would be "une femme de ménage"


I would never say "my own wife". By saying "my wife" says she is my wife and not anyone elses

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