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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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?
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").
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.