"Vous êtes nos femmes."

Translation:You are our wives.

December 18, 2012

This discussion is locked.


I totally disagree that "our women" is misogynistic. In fact, the presumption that the word "our" (possessive) converts women to wives is what is misogynistic. What would I do if I were speaking at a gathering of women professionals, and I wanted to say something like: "You, the members of this organization, you are our women, and we hope..." I hear stuff like this all the time. "Wives" is clearly inappropriate in this context.

Seriously, politics aside, how could I say something like the above without calling the membership wives?


This just sounds strange to you because in English 'wife' and 'woman'' are distinct words, but in practice you will be able to tell from context weather the intended meaning is 'wives' or 'women'. I am Afrikaans and in Afrikaans we have the same word ('vrou') meaning both wife and woman, as well, and I can assure you you'll be able to tell from context. Afrikaans also has the same word for both man and husband.

English also has lots of homonyms but confusion usually only arises when they are taken out of context and any clues as to which meaning is intended are removed.


The same happens in portuguese (at least in Brasil). You can say: "minha esposa" (literally 'my wife') and "minha mulher" (literally 'my woman') in a context refering to a wife.


Same in spanish. "Mi mujer" could be refering to "Mi esposa" Depends on the context, As well, "Mi hombre" / "Mi esposo"


Yep, it's the same in Irish 'bean' = 'woman/ wife'
'mo bhean' = 'my woman/ my wife'
But unlike the people who only seem to speak English, it is always very obvious from the context, and there is only offence to be found if you go looking very hard for it. Likewise
'fear' = 'man/ husband'
'mo fhear' = 'my man/ my husband'


Same in Burmese, you can say 'main ma' for both wife and woman :-) :-)


@Prateek. "Irish, Scottish and Welsh" are versions of the Gaelic form of Celtic. Old English was much the same but it would be very difficult to understand each other. Would you believe that such a comparatively tiny area of Isles would have such an enormous range of languages, dialects and accents? Even when we're speaking English to each other we have problems understanding just what's being said. I'm sure this is why we English just agree with everyone then go turncoat and do our own thing anyway and consider all other languages Wrong basically. :)


@Jackjon thanks for the explanation, old english really is quite interesting. As for the language diversity I can actually fully relate to that. I'm from India and in that tiny space we have upwards of 1500 languages, more than 10 of which are completely different with their own different scripts. It results in some funny moments and cockups. :)


Well in indonesian we have more then hundreds laguage. In sundanesse istri = woman but in indonesian istri = wife


Same in Chinese :-) Although there are words referring only to wives. And it's applicable for the other gender.


German too: Frau = woman, wife; Mann = man, husband. There's also "weib", but just, like, don't ever use that. It means the same as Frau but is really rude. It's something a 50 yo. drunk fat*** would say to his wife when he's angry. "WIFE, COME OVER HERE"


It's amazing, how in so many languages woman kind of equals wife


Woman doesn't equal wife... MY woman equals wife and MY man equals husband in many languages. Let's not turn this into sexism where there is none.


It sounds like a polygamy right? So not make sense!


I thought so too and wrote vous etes nos "femme" instead of "femmes". The 1st one would mean "you are our wife" (which most would agree is quite twisted), the second one would mean "you are our wives" which could very well be said by a group of men to their wives - possibly to placate them after a big fight ( ...but you are our wives!!)

I realised that the first sentence was also wrong for another reason. If we were to describing polyandry in french it would be Vous etes "notre" femme instead of "nos" femme.


it seems so, based on my understanding of the sentence there are more than one person owning the "wives". But we used "you" meaning only one so it should be "wife" instead of "wives" which is more than one.


"vous" is also the french plural for "you" -- ie. when addressing a group of ppl.


Vous is the french plural for you. When it is used for "singular you" it is done as mark of respect probably for someone older than yourself or in a more senior position. This is not peculiar to french and is quite common especially in some of the asian languages.

Although i remember when i was learning french in School we were taught "vous" was spelled as "Vouz" is there a difference?


well, in Spanish, 'wife' is 'esposa'.

'esposas' also means 'handcuffs' in Spanish.

how does that make you feel???


Aw, that's pretty sad... :( In Brazil we also say "esposa" to "wife", but handcuffs are called "algemas". I guess that in Portugal is the same way.


Totally agree with everything you just said. Also, as a person who is against the concept of marriage in general, I shy away from using terms like "wives" and "husbands".


Don't know why you're getting down voted for respectfully stating your opinion...


femme is woman but also is a common practice to use this work referring to a wife. This is also valid in Spanish. Ma femme. Mi mujer. This is not the same in English. Similarly, for a man homme, a woman can say c'est mon homme (Edith Piaf has this working in on of her songs). Also in the Spanish language a woman can say "es mi hombre". But for the men, homme (French) or hombre (Spanish) are used normally for an unmarried couple. The context is what clarifies if are woman, women or wife, wives. In the French and Spanish (Latin-american) there is nothing wrong or offensive with this type of expression.


I dont think its misogynistic. "She is a wife in relation to me" Im sure the masculine is the same. Dependent, more than possesive.


But who, exactly, is really arguing that it's misogynistic in the context of your example? What I see is people arguing that when the context is that of a relationship, "my woman" is particularly gross. The reason is that a woman is not a type of relational role someone can be in; "wife" and "husband" are. So-called "possessive" adjectives need not imply something so sinister as ownership; this is quite obvious when you consider phrases like "my business partner" or "our vacation." When paired with "woman" though, it's hard to arrive at anything but a connotation of ownership or dominion, since it's not a role, an experience, etc.


I just use women instead of wives and it's fine


I totally agree! This sentence is crazy!!!!!!!!!!!


Why is "You are our women" an incorrect translation?


Actually, right now I entered "You are our women" and it marked my answer as correct. I guess the moderators are actually going through the comments and making corrections to the answers :D


I think it is incorrect because in french "wives" and "women" are the same word: "femmes". The difference is in the possessive form, if you say "ma femme"/"nos femmes" than it is possessive and means "my wife"/"our wives". Only if you say "femme"/"femmes" than it is just "woman"/"women".


It's teaching you how to structure sentences, not trying to be sexist/misogynistic. Calmes-vous


I don't see how I can know when I have to use wife and when woman for la femme. I think here both solutions could be correct, since the Doulingo didn't gave situation of the useage.


It seems odd, then, to use "vous" for wives. You are our... wives? Plural? That's why I went with women, though both seem odd.


A group of said women's partners trying to get their wives to stop dancing with strippers.

"Please come home. Show us respect! You're our wives!"


It sounds a little like "vous," but it's "vos," which is a possessive word. Your wife = ta femme (for singular familar; your wife - for family member/friend), votre femme (for singular polite; your wife - for someone older/of higher rank/a stranger), tes femmes (for plural familiar; your wives - with family/friends) or vos femmes (for plural polite; your wives - for people older/of higher rank/strangers).


Why is it that i havent encountered "mon mari" or my husband in these exercises. lol


Okay so I always have trouble differentiating whether it was supposed to be singular or plural. How do you know which one to choose if they both are pronounced the same?


There are a lot of pronunciations that are the same for singular/plural in French, but there are a lot of times different words (different conjugations of verbs) are used. For singular, the possibilities are:

Vous êtes ma femme. Tu es ma femme.

For plural:

Vous êtes nos femmes. Vous êtes leurs (their) femmes.

You have to listen a lot to verbs and possessive words to puzzle out the number of people speaking/being spoken to.


They aren't pronounced the same. 'nos' is the plural form of our while 'notre' is the singular.


vous and vos are different if you listen carefully... "ou" and "o" are enunciated differently. :) and nous femme as opposed to nos femme would be grammatically incorrect in that sense... :P


it almost sounds like "vous etes nous femmes" as gramatically incorrect as it might sound. It's just that the "nos" sounds like nous when you play the recording in slow. There goes one of my hearts.


'you are our women' is accepted now.


well it's contextual... and now we all know the word for wives. I am in Quebec and see some cultural differences in translation. I find it only enhances the learning experience.


I really don't understand people complaining about the literal meaning of a sentence. The purpose here is to be able to string together various words in order to construct a meaningful dialogue in the future.

But for those who lack creativity and imagination............. imagine that an Army Colonel is addressing a group of women at some kind of ceremony. And that these women happen to all be the wives of his subordinates. And that his subordinates, who those not in the armed forces would generically call "soldiers" are overwhelmingly male.

The Colonel may refer to his "soldiers" as "my men".

If he is making an address on behalf of his men, to their wives, is it really unreasonable for him to say something like "My men are courageous and brave, but they can't do it without you. You are our wives. I'd like to thank you on their behalf for your tremendous support." ?


learning language is not all about structures. it`s also about learning how to use the words correctly, and learning the contexts and how it can or may affect another culture. Academically that is . And Duo is partially academic instead of being just for fun. :)


So many comments !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:-o


Better add one more!!!!!


A couple of days ago Duolingo recognised that I'd typed the translation, instead of the French I heard, and gave me a second chance. What's happened to this?


For me, it gives me a second chance when I'm using the duolingo site from my laptop browser. But it doesn't give me that second chance if I made the same mistake on the duolingo app on my phone or tablet. Is it the same for you?


I have a crappy phone so use Duolingo on my desktop only.


same happens in Nicaragua, mi mujer and mi esposo my wife and my woman.


Interesting, as esposo sounds like spouse.


Seems here like for êtes... the final s was pronounced. Since it was "...êtes nos...", there isn't any liasion between êtes and nos. Why would the final s in êtes be pronounced here?


how do i know that it was plural? "vous etes" could be singular and femme is pronounced the same as femmes...Was i just supposed to assume that is was plural because of the "nos"? otherwise it could have translated to "you are our woman"


Yes. And read above posts. nos pertains to a plural object. :)


I dont the logical of the sentense...Vous is singular, why is femme plural? You (singular) are our wifes?


"Vous" can be either singular formal/polite or plural "you".

Vous êtes jolie. = You're telling one woman that she's pretty.

Vous êtes jolies = You're telling more than one woman that they're pretty.


Aww just realised that is just like portuguese... Merci!


In Persian we have "zan" for woman, "mard" for man and "hamsar" for both wife and husband.


Excellent! That's the way to do it.


You should invent two new words zamsar and mamsar ;)


i am a hardcore feminist and you cannot own a woman!!!!! this is sexist!!! thanks obama


@Eddsworldboy. Respect. It is specific: "My Wife" , "My Husband". To differentiate between any body else's wife or husband. I, too am a feminist, albeit a bloke. I never said "My wife", I called her "Perfect partner" but I did still use the possessive "My" to differentiate her from any old perfect partner. How would you grammatically resolve this dichotomy then? Am I allowed to say "My Dad"? "My Mum"? "My Brother"? "My Sister"? But not "My Wife/Husband"? Please help me to be perfect.


what is the difference between vous and vos? I got this one wrong!


vous = you (formal or plural), vos = your (possesive).


Why the sentence "You are our ladies" is considered incorrect by duolingo? Even when I hover over 'femmes' it hints ladies, is there a proper way to say 'You are our ladies' in french that does not include word femme?


Vous etes nos dames. (Circumflex over first E of etes)


In the 'type in french' type of question, 'femme' and 'femmes' sound the same. Why is singular 'femme' not accepted? Might there be some sort of sentence structure I am misunderstanding... Is 'vous êtes nos femme' a grammatically accurate sentence? — 'you (singular) are our woman (singular).'


No. Notre femme (singular) Nos femmes(plural)


I'm having difficulty hearing the difference between 'femme' and 'femmes.' Can anyone help with this?


Hi tepiahona. There is no perceptible difference between Femme and Femmes. Listen out for the article: LA Femme (singular) and LES Femmes (plural). La as in "Laughter, Ask, Part". Les as in "Lay, Pray, Fame", etc.


thanks so much. This helps a lot. In this sentence, I wasn't familiar yet with 'nos' to differentiate the two. But now I know how to listen for the difference between la and les. Thanks : )


To expand on what Jackjon said, always remember that the posessive words change depending on how many objects are possessed, not how many people possess them.


When do I use Avez and Etes?


How do I tell if it is 'femme' or 'femmes'? Certainly not by listening to the pronunciation. What would the sentence be if it was just one woman/wife? I can just be polite and use 'vous'. What if I wanted to say ' you are our woman'?


Then you'd say "Vous êtes notre femme". In this case, you can tell the difference between singular and plural based on the preceding word - 'nos' for plural and 'notre' for singular.


I was going to write the correct answer but I thought it sounded way too sexist. Guess not.


Based on the pronunciation alone, couldn't this also be "vous et nos femmes" (you and our wives)? "Vous et" and "vous êtes" both seem to make sense.


No. Pronunciation "ET"= Eh. Pronunciation "Etes"=ET (as in Bet) Sorry I have no accents.


Duolingo want u to translate the word or meaning of some sentence,not giving them some sentence..yes,its true some word are not so logically to be use in daily life but duolingo just want to give u understanding some word in french..u can redo ur sentence if u have known some meaning of the word..just my opinion..


Out of curiosity, how would you say "All of you are our wives"? I know that both "vous" and "you" can be singular or plural depending on the context, but I was uncomfortable translating this as "you are our wives"


I'm not sure what part of the sentence confuses you, but here's the advice I can give you based on what I understood to be your concern. It's true that vous can be both singular polite and plural (both informal and polite), but not vos, the possessive article, which can only be plural (informal and polite). If one meant "you (singular polite) are his wife" (I changed my to his on purpose because it would sound strange, even if not impossible, to be this polite with one's own wife), it would translate as "Vous êtes sa femme". Compare it to "You (plural) are their wives" : "Vous êtes leur femmes".


Thanks for the clarification. Essentially, I didn't like the English translation. When I translated the French sentence, I tried to get around "vous" being singular or plural by translating it as "all of you" instead of "you (plural)" and got the sentence wrong. What would the French translation of "all of you" be?


Sounded like "Vous "et" nos femmes"... Can someone tell how to differentiate ... Et... Est... Etes ???


Et is not a verb ! It's a coordination conjunction (meaning and), so it doesn't make any sense here ! For the others, here's a chart, which I think is way more effective in explaining the situation.

Être conjugé au présent de l'indicatif


I'dd add that et and êtes are absolutely not pronounced the same. Et is pronounced "ay", whereas êtes is pronounced "ett".


what is the difference btween 'nos' and 'notre'???


what is the difference btween 'nos' and 'notre'???


Notre=Our followed by a Singular noun. Nos=Our followed by a Plural noun Our child... Notre enfant. Our children.... Nos enfants. Look here: "www.about.com/fr/possessive adjectives" Dont just click on this link here. Type it in full (all that is within the " "). Everything is explained there.


I think that is what your meant.


Is notre the masculin version of nos?


What Meg_in_Quebec said is exact, but I'd add, to make it clear, that both notre and nos are used with masculine and feminine nouns, so (for once) you don't have to worry about the nouns' gender (hurray !) ;)


Exactly. Very good point, and one I forgot to mention. :)

It is the same with "votre" and "vos," (possessive for "your"-formal and/or plural, or "your"-singular) one of those rare cases in which gender is not important. The number of objects being possessed is still important (the dog that belongs to you and your spouse - Votre chien, the dogs that belong to you and your spouse - Vos chiens), but votre and vos work the same for masculine and feminine nouns.


No. Notre = our/singular. Nos = our/plural. Voici notre chien = here is our dog (dog is singular). Voici nos enfants = here are our children (children is plural).

[deactivated user]

    it's thhe singular version


    LOL, knew the first comment would have something to do with misogyny!




    come on guyyys... love the language how it is not how it should be, particularly easily... Le francais is fabulous just because not everybody knows how to deal with it,ha?


    Could somebody please explain possessive case pronouns? If somebody has done so already please provide me link.


    There are a bunch of good discussions to help you with French grammar, including possessive adjectives and pronouns. Yo can start with this discussion with references to many other French grammar tips discussions and that one with charts for different grammatical parts of French. Then, outside of Duolingo, there is this site which is very interesting for English speakers learning French, particularly this page and that one about possessives. And finally, for plenty of other external resources, have a look at this page from the unofficial Duolingo wiki.


    Amazing. How do you know of these sites? Thanks. I am a Millipede yet I still cannot type fast enough! Why, when I suggest a site does Duo quote some of it in blue highlight and chop off some of the site's address and then delete your site addresses, place the reference in thin type so if I click on it up comes the site, yet the full address links I give are mostly unobtainable/go nowhere? How do you folks control this world?


    Well, Some of these discussions I actually made myself, or I read about on other discussions. For the links, some characters are considered special by the Duolingo discussion engine to allow formatting, like bold and italic text, so if it sees it in a link, it will break it in parts. to avoid it, use this syntax : [Text displayed](Actual link with "optional alternative (mouse over) text"). No space between square brackets and parenthesis !. For the complete list of formatting you can do, search for "markdown", it should be the first result. Remember that all of it may not be supported by Duolingo.


    Bastou, thank you so much. I am not young and I'm also computer illiterate. I am so sorry but I just don't understand the language you've used. Really and truly I think that I was i bit silly to ask.... I might have known the lingo-istic answer I would receive. (Please know that I mean I do not understand computer-language..) I don't have a mouse, this is a laptop. Truly, bless you for your willingness to assist me. I am so sorry, I just don't understand the words you've used. I was a fool to make this post. Please forgive me, I have wasted your time. After nearly a year since my first use of a computer and 9 months online I should know better than to make such an open post. Thank you so much for your time.


    Don't worry about it, the ony thing you have to remember if you want to make links (clickable text that leads to another website or web page) in the Duolingo discussion area is to write them this way : [this example](http://french.about.com/) will be transformed to this example.


    What happens in Vegas, STAYS on Duolingo.


    i couldnt hear anthing


    I am not getting the differences between the singular and plural forms of the words. please help!

    [deactivated user]

      As if they don't know... The only possible situation I can imagine using this sentence is if I had friends and we all were married to women and suddenly they all had amnesia


      Ha Ha Ha - unless of course the wifes rebelled and became the wifes of some other men ?:^)


      Well then it would be: "Vous êtes les femmes de tout le monde".. Who would blame them?


      ..how can a person ever say- our wives/nos femmes..


      How can a person ever say-our wives/nos femmes..


      A person can't, but a group can. YOU (more than one person) are OUR (more than one person) wifes. "This is me and my friend Jack, and these are our wifes".


      What is this? Duolingo is seriously testing our listening skills lol


      You know mate, I kind've think that they are. I've tried listening to French news and sport commentaries. Gimme Duo's worst everytime.


      zut alors...doesnt anybody here read previous posts? its like reading a book full of repeat pages...sorry, I can`t help but say this! :O


      Even in Setswana (same word for wife and woman, and man and husband) the context drtermines the meaning


      I got it right! Now the hard part will be finding the appropriate situation


      Why is vous not vos? would that be "vos sont nos femme"? To my understanding vous already has the ability to address multiple people.


      "Vos" is a possessive adjective, used for plural items, and is either formal (the things are possessed by a single person who you are addressing formally/politely) or plural (the things are possessed by a plural "you"). Vos chassures sont sales. Your shoes are dirty. Vous is a pronoun meaning you, either plural or formal. Vous devez les nettoyer. You must clean them.


      How would you say "you are our women" in French?


      Grammely, can this sentence be translated to 'you are my wives?' I think it uses 'nos' here instead of 'ma' because of 'femmes', it is plura, rather than the number of speakers. Is that right?


      That would be «mes». «Nos» is the plural of «notre», not «ma».


      right, thanks for your reminder!


      I got this right, but no matter how many times I listen to it, it sounds like she is saying "mu femmes". I know that does not make sense, but that is what it sounds like to me.


      Nothing gets done here on this discussion thread but empathy. Please go to Report a Problem.


      Just because I say something in the thread doesn't mean I didn't report it. No way to find out if it's just me or other people are having the same problem if I don't post.

      I've been on Duolingo long enough to know how it works. Thanks for the lesson, though.


      Understood and I aplologise if my post upset you at all, michisjourdi. I'd not have posted it if it was clear that you wished to find out if others were having the same problem as you were experiencing.


      Haha 207 comments once i translated it i knew this would have so much heat


      Was vous always an implied plural subject?


      Vous is formal reserved for not known people... Your wife is known to you so wouldn't tu be used?


      No. Vous is the plural form of Tu and this sentence is plural.


      Take this sentence out, you chauvinists


      same in Chinese,you can say"女人"referring to both woman and wife


      I was correct in the grammar of the sentence. But under what circumstances would it be used? It doesn't sound like something most husbands would say unless they don't respect their wives. A wife is not a property, but a person.


      This statement is a little weird to me. Yes, we understand that the purpose is simply to learn how to structure and construct our own sentences but, I want to to also believe that cramming is an important aspect in learning a new language. If duolingo can use sentences that are readily used on a day to day basis it would go a long way to help facilitate the learning process because not only will one learn to construct the language but also cram it and use that sentence directly in practice for example, instead of using 'woman' or 'wives'
      I think one is likely to hear "You are our child" than "You are our wives"


      This is so confusing. So, like, more than one person share a wife? What?


      No. If more than one person is sharing one wife the sentence would read "Vous etes notre femme". (Sorry, no access to accents currently)


      Whether you like it or not!

      [deactivated user]

        I could understand this sentence being okay if vous were plural, but they use it as singular.


        The whole sentence is plural. "Vous etes" =both singular and plural. The rest of the sentence is plural, turning the whole context plural.

        [deactivated user]

          Oh, that makes sense. Thanks for clearing that up.


          Is "you are MY (formal on self) wives" not correct?


          No, Tasdeeq. The sentence uses "Nos"=Our. To use "My" as you've queried would use "Mes"=My.


          Of course but what if you're implying formality/respect on yourself? Let's say you're the king of France and you have two wives? Why is Nos to imply singular self incorrect then?


          It doesn't. Nos=Our, so we are many and there are many wives; one of each belongs to one of us. When I was the last king of France (God it was so good then) I, the one singular person may have had many wives and they would have been "Mes Femmes" not "Nos Femmes" because they were "MY wives" not "OUR Wives". (Oh bugger, Kings and Queens refer to themselves as "WE" don't they? I saw what you did there! Very clever. Wont't change French grammar for usage nor learning unless you are next in line to the throne and I so hate to disappoint you, there aint no frone no moor in Frarnce. Ooo, common as muck inn I?)


          Either you're missing the point or I'm a slower learner than I thought lol. Ok forget kings and multiple wives. How about a proud general talking about his soldiers? Is "Nos hommes" viable or is it always strictly "Mes hommes"?


          Why is the audio pronouncing the "s" in "êtes"?


          I'm sorry, but I don't hear it.


          To anyone who finds this even remotely misogynistic, you should know that there are some major languages in the world where one word can mean both 'husband' and 'owner'. Go figure that.


          Well the whole concept of marriage is misogynistic so it doesnt really matter.


          Hmmmmmm So when gay men/women marry, what is misogynistic?


          That sounds stupid in English


          What is the difference between nos and notre?


          I passed this level but when i signed out it comes from here


          When could I possibly use this phrase?


          "You are our women?" Wut...


          What is the difference between "nos" and "notre"?

          And how can you tell whether they are saying "femme" or "femmes"? Are they pronounced differently or do you just have to infer from the context?


          It is the same in Serbian:,,Moja žena" for my wife or my woman.


          What is the difderence in pronunciation between nos and nous? In this app they both sound the same


          Nos sounds like Know and Nous sounds like Noo. Bit more subtle than that but close enough.


          Umm, why would someone need to be told this?


          Umm, why would someone need to be told this?


          One wouldn't. I certainly wouldn't, I'm a bloke. However I am learning a language for free.


          I mean... it works in the context of a group two married couples. Two men at the same time say to the two women « Vous êtes nos femmes » meaning that each one is a wife to one of the men.


          You're having a laugh Chris; if you are referring to Caleb's post.


          I heard vous etês une femme. How so i distinguish the two? Please help.


          Bizarre sentence....


          You are our women should be accepted!


          You are our women should be accepted.


          You are our wives should be accepted!

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