"Un couple d'éléphants"

Translation:A pair of elephants

December 23, 2012



The real question is why this is in the Family skill

April 24, 2014


Because of the word "couple". Duolingo often has unrelated sentences that use the words in the Skill in different ways. I think it helps to connect the language together.

November 8, 2014


Elephants have families too.

June 1, 2017


so are they a couple of elephants or an elephant couple?

February 2, 2018


my try "an elephant couple" has failed.

April 16, 2018


Well, yeah, so do all animals.

July 7, 2018


Maybe the couple is really good at languages and they have a memory like an elephant.

December 27, 2017


This is not a sentence, this is a noun phrase made of article + noun + "de" + noun.

December 24, 2012


Or "noun phrase" or "syntagme nominal", if we're getting linguisticky ;)

February 12, 2013


In any case, a noun phrase can stand on its own as a sentence, if its an independent clause, like "un couple d'elephants".

September 25, 2014


It's still not a sentence. A true sentence needs a verb. It can stand by itself as a meaningful utterance or phrase, perhaps a response to "what did you see at the zoo?" "A couple of elephants."

November 5, 2014


You've made this editor very happy, gabewithafender. Please accept a lingot!

April 29, 2018



April 3, 2019


Does it mean a couple of elephants in the sense of a pair, or in the sense of a small group? Or both?

April 30, 2013


Yes, in French it is a pair in the male+female sense.

April 30, 2013


Is it only in the male+female sense, or can it be any two, such as male+male or female+female?

Or perhaps I misread you, and you mean that it is a pair as in a 'pair-bond'/ 'romantic/ sexual relationship pair' ?

I don't know if this expresses it well. I mean a couple as in a pair who would attend a dance together, say, as a date?

August 18, 2014


for humans, it can be any couple linked by romantic/sexual relationship (any gender)

for animals, it will be male+female.

if 2 male animals or 2 female animals, we would say: deux éléphants.

note that "a couple of days" = un ou deux jours.

August 22, 2014


If it is strictly the romantic sense, shouldn't "an elephant couple" be the only proper translation? "a couple of elephants" has no romantic connotations at all--"couple" seems like a pretty clear-cut faux ami, so "a couple of elephants" should be discouraged.

May 29, 2016

  • 1663

The French "couple" means "pair" when used in the context of animals. It is understood that this pair consists of a male and a female. It would not be translated as EN "couple". Source: Oxford French Dictionary.

August 15, 2016


Sitesurf -

Could the English phrase "A pair of elephants" be accurately translated as either "Un couple d'éléphants" or "Une paire d'éléphants"?

If so, would "Un couple d'éléphants" mean a male+female pair
and "Une paire d'éléphants" mean any two elephants?

(There is some discussion on this at a related comment thread.)


November 24, 2015


Actually, I don't think I have ever heard "une paire d'éléphants". Either they are "un couple" (male+female) or they are "deux éléphants".

However, if you said "une paire d'éléphant(e)s", you would be understood.

"Une paire" is more often used for 2 identical or symmetrical things, like shoes, glasses, horns... or pejoratively, like "une paire d'escrocs" (crooks).

November 25, 2015


According to the dictionary paire can have either of these meanings. Is this then not representative for how it's used nowadays?


November 26, 2015

  • 1663

When used in the context of animals, "un couple" refers to "a pair".

August 15, 2016


If elephants is plural wouldn't the proper use of 'de' be 'des' not d'

February 2, 2014


No, because this formula is a "noun of noun", where the article is dropped.

In a "noun of noun" nominal group, the second noun adds information on the first one.

  • a sheet of paper = une feuille de papier (material)

  • a bottle of milk = une bouteille de lait (content)

  • a pair of elephants = un couple d'éléphants - "de" is elided to "d' " because éléphants starts with a vowel.

Note: "des" is never elided, because elision is supposed to solve a vowel conflict. Since "des" ends with a consonant, there is no ground for any elision, which is replaced by a liaison: "des [Z] éléphants".

February 3, 2014


In the case of compound nouns with the structure:

noun + preposition + noun

the second noun, connected to the first noun by a preposition, is usually not preceded by an article (le, la, les).


une tasse de café - a cup of coffee

une guide d'ordinateur - a computer guide

une histoire d’amour - a love story

une sale de bains - a bathroom

un verre de vin - a glass of wine

April 8, 2015


@Sitesurf: Can we translate "un couple d'éléphants" to become "a couple of elephants" in English too? Merci beaucoup de votre response.

February 24, 2014


You can, no problem.

February 24, 2014


It accepts this translation, August 2014.

August 18, 2014


Lucky me :)

September 5, 2015


Should "an elephant pair" be accepted? Didn't work for me.

April 12, 2015

  • 1663

Not every combination produces natural English. "A pair of elephants" is the most natural.

August 15, 2016


Is the French "couple" only used in a romantic, sexual, or procreative sense? Can it be used like the English noun "few" and be applied to unrelated people and inanimate objects?

May 30, 2016


to your first question: yes.

to your second question: you can hear people use it with inanimate objects, but this is technical jargon (un couple de colonnes, de phares, de rouleaux...).

May 30, 2016


Ahh, merci beaucoup!

May 31, 2016


Is this masculine "un couple..." because "éléphant" is masculine? E.g., would it be "Une couple des souris"? Or is it always "un couple" regardless of the gender of the noun that is being coupled?

February 7, 2014


"un couple" is always masculine (in France), sometimes feminine in Quebec (une couple de...)

February 8, 2014


Duo accepted "Un couple d'éléphant" (no s) from me - is this right?

March 6, 2014


Logically, a couple = 2 individuals

March 7, 2014


Having read all the comments here, I believe "a pair of elephants" is the best translation. In English, "a couple of elephants" to me just means two of them, no relationship implied. That is, a "couple" is two of anything, just as a "few" is three to six of them.

January 12, 2016


Do you have a reference that asserts that a few is 'three to six' of something? I've never seen a prescribed value for a few. If you are talking about something like the stars and describing a very small fraction of them, you could still be talking thousands of individual things, and a few would apply quite nicely as it's a small quantity compared to the whole.

May 23, 2017


Could "couple" be used, like in English, when you say something like "I have a couple pencils"

May 13, 2016


No, you could not. "Un couple" is 2 people in love, married, etc.

May 14, 2016


Can I use "couple" talking about years?

June 19, 2016


No, you will have to use "un ou deux ans".

June 19, 2016


I typed the exact answer, and it gave me "Oops, it doesn't seem to be in French! Try again!" Would not let me continue until I threw random extra accented letters in, and, of course, it was wrong. Odd glitch.

October 14, 2016


I thought it translated as a couple of telephones

April 13, 2017


What's wrong with "A couple elephants", without the "of"? Is that not acceptable English? i'm a native speaker fwiw.

April 26, 2017


No it's not.

April 26, 2017


Oh ok

April 27, 2017


the dropped 'of' is seen in some dialects (I am from northern England and dropped it too, as most people there would in my experience) but it is not correct in standard English. I wouldn't say it's unacceptable per se though, but I can see why duo wouldn't accept it as in most dialects of English it wouldn't be correct

January 6, 2018


True enough: the major style and usage manuals in the United States (the Associated Press and Garner's Modern English Usage, for example) maintain that the of is inherently part of the phrase and that to drop it is nonstandard. But jakejanus is right about dialects that drop it, especially in oral conversation—people from my native Texas almost always do.

April 29, 2018


Lol, I thought it said "On coupe de l'éléphant." My bad :p

May 31, 2017


is '2 elephants ' acceptable

June 16, 2017


just curious: if you saw two elephants, how would you say " there are a couple elephants" or in a recipe "add a couple cups of sugar"

September 14, 2017


When it comes to recipes, "a couple cups" may not be accurate enough, but let's say that it means 2 = "ajouter deux tasses/verres de sucre".

"Un couple" is only a pair of humans or animals, married or the like.

So either "un couple d'éléphants" = 2 elephants.

Or "A couple elephants" = quelques/plusieurs/ deux ou trois... éléphants.

"Une paire" is used for things: une paire de ciseaux, une paire de gants, une paire de chaussettes... and it means exactly 2.

September 14, 2017


Merci beaucoup

September 15, 2017


In English, although it is not TECHNICALLY correct, it is far more common to simply say "a couple elephants" rather than "a couple of elephants". This should be accepted.

June 13, 2018


This is a sweeping generalisation. It might be common where you live, but I have NEVER heard it.

June 13, 2018


An elephant couple should also be accepted, as would a French couple, a tall couple, the elephants could be a couple

August 11, 2018


One difference I immediately see: "French" is an adjective, "tall" is an adjective. "Elephant" however is a noun.

August 11, 2018


Why is "One couple of elephants not accepted?

October 24, 2018


Well, it sounded like "Un couple de le fonts"

January 5, 2019


I think that saying "A couple elephants" has the same meaning as "a pair of elephants," but it is counted as a mistake in the lesson!

July 4, 2015


Because you forgot the preposition of.

September 5, 2015


Why is 'An elephant's pair' incorrect?

January 20, 2014

  • 1663

The expression is not one of possession. In this case, the natural expression in English is "a pair of elephants".

August 15, 2016


An elephant's pair = la paire d'un éléphant

March 1, 2014


Why not 'herd of elephants'? That is more apt than 'couple of'.

December 31, 2016


"un couple" is 2 individuals, that is "a pair" not "a herd".

December 31, 2016
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