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  5. "Le soldat nettoie ses outils…

"Le soldat nettoie ses outils."

Translation:The soldier is cleaning his tools.

September 11, 2013



Why not "The soldier is cleaning its tools", which also appeared in the multiple choice question?


Because the soldier is a person, not an "it". You could say the robot is cleaning its tools.


Yes but a ant can be a soldier, in their community there are workers, soldiers ....


"an ant" ;) True, but that is really stretching it, and we don't want to teach people that "its" can be used for "his"

And I have heard of "worker ants", but I've never heard of ants being soldiers. Maybe others have, but again, this is going too far


Sorry, I answer at n6zs. You are right in general case, but I juste write my coment for to know if it was possible in english in this case. I ll see reportage on ant's organisation and there are ants who protect the others and the speaker name them "soldat". thanks I have read lots of your messages, they often help me to learn english. Good job, for n6zs too.


And it takes a lot of courage and desire to learn a new language for you to ask questions in English here. Congratulations on your progress Robert! :-}

I remember your help on the French to English section, and thank you!


The soldier is in possession of a robot. The robot has a number of tools attached to it. From time to time, the soldier is required to clean the robot's tools.

What is the soldier doing to the robot? The soldier is cleaning its tools.

Is there any reason why the French sentence provided wouldn't be the correct translation here?

Similarly: The woman has brought her tools to the soldier. The soldier is cleaning her tools.

Is there any problem with the given French being the translation here? (I've read the discussion below about "soldate" and "femme soldat", which is why I've presented a scenario in which the soldier and the woman are different people.)

Edit: I've come to see this differently as I've learned more French. I think the answer to my questions is that in the absence of specific context, the presumption in French as in English is generally that the possessive pronoun refers back to the sentence's subject, rather than to some other person or thing. Therefore "ses outils" are most likely "les outils du soldat".

Translating to "her tools" would therefore strongly suggest that the soldier is a woman, and to "its tools", a robot or other non-human.


"The soldier is cleaning her tools" is accepted.

Your example re the robot is really stretching it, and we don't want to teach people that "its" can be used for "his" or 'her".



I suppose we can say its is technically possible, but not the best choice.

Of course if you allow it, you know you'll get complaints in the comments saying things like "A soldier is not an it!"

  • 1931

The hypothetical context about robots really does not help. Just know that unless you conjure up some additional context, "ses outils" is "his/her tools".


Maybe, the * "its" fans * are making the discussione a little too unrealistic and sofisticated, making it lose its practical and functional utility here, could it be George ? This is not a course where one is learning how to write French fairytales or how to create a theater play in the (absurd) Eugène Ionesco style...


Presumably it's a course to teach a language available to communicate all the things communicable by a language. The fact that it's the language of Beckett and Ionesco is simply a bonus. ;-)


With the use of droids and the robots that defuse bombs, is saying the soldier is cleaning its tools really that far of a stretch?


Shouldn't it be "ses utils" i.e. his tools, Doesn't "ces" mean "these"?


It doesn't work this way in French. Possessive pronouns agree in gender with the modified noun, not the gender of the one who possesses.

E.g. In English you can say "The man loves her son" (some woman's son) or "The man loves his son" (his own son, or some other man's son), or even "The man loves their son." But in French you can only say "L'homme aime son fils"--NOT "L'homme aime sa fils" or "L'homme aime ses fils." And "son fils" could mean "his son" or "her son" or "their son": it's ambiguous.


I put "ces utiles" could he not be cleaning "those tools"?


if you got an audio practice, it's definitely correct.


I don't think in English we'd use the word tools for a soldier's outils. Maybe it is a translation of the word but not of the sense. I'd use kit or equipment. Just saying


"The soldier cleans his equipment" it is wrong?


Equipment/gear/kit consists of more things than just tools.


It read tools for the kids, they actually ment guns


I do wish DuoLingo accepted "eqipmemt"


DL said 'her tools'. why is 'her' not 'their' ?

  • 1931

There is an occasional use of what is called the "singular they" to refer to an unknown individual. It is not appropriate here. Stick with the conventional translation to ensure your success. "Le soldat" refers to a male, "la soldate" refers to a female, so it is reasonable to say "the soldier is cleaning HIS tools". La soldate nettoie ses outils = the soldier is cleaning HER tools.


Juste for information "soldate" is a good french word, but rarely employed. Prefer "femme soldat" when we speak. certainly because "soldate" sound not good


My question is the distinction between "laver" and "nettoyer". Would it be wrong to assume that "laver" is used when talking about a general washing, like for the body, clothes, and dishes, while "nettoyer" is used for more meticulous cleanings, such as for tools, weapons, and precious things?


Very useful the links of Rogercchristie ! To make it simple, "nettoyer": rendre net, propre [CLEAN, whatever how and what, very general ]. "laver": nettoyer avec un liquide [WASH, launder, bath, mostly using soap].


You are right laver = wach and nettoyer = clean


What is the difference between nettoyer and propre?


In English "clean" can be used as an adjective ("the soldier's tools are clean") or a verb ("the soldier is cleaning his tools"). In French "propre" is the adjective ("les outils du soldat sont propres") and "nettoyer" is the verb ("le soldat nettoie ses outils").


Why "le soldat"? I thought professions in French have no articles...


A profession only has no article when it's used in a way that's sometimes described as adjectival.

For example, there are a couple of grammatically correct ways to say "he is a soldier". One is "il est soldat", which sees "soldat" used in an adjectival way, and the other is "c'est un soldat", which sees it take the clear form of a noun. (Sometimes it's called a modified noun in the latter case, because it's modified by the article "un".)

When used as the subject of a sentence, and in most other cases, it maintains its normal characteristics as a noun, and is treated just as any other noun would be.


Why the solder cleans his tools is false?


"The soldier cleans his tools" should be accepted.

(Note that in English the correct wording of your question is "Why is 'the soldier cleans his tools' wrong?" The verb and the subject get inverted, and we don't use "false" in this context.)


The soldier cleans her tools. is the correct answer according to the website. 'le' says the soldier is masculine and 'ses' implies neither male nor female - simply plural


Although the terms "la soldate" and "la femme soldat" exist, "le soldat" on its own apparently doesn't necessarily imply a male person.


I'm surprised "his equipment" is not correct.


"Gear" instead of "tools", correct?

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