That's the syndrome of "exceptions of exceptions"...
Note that "j'ai une robe cyclamen" (another flower) does not agree because it is a real-life object, a flower.
so the architecture is as follows:
RULE: color adjectives are regular adjectives and as such, they agree in gender and number with the noun they modify: vert, verte, verts, vertes.
EXCEPTIONS: color adjectives derived from real-life objects are invariable: marron, argent, orange, chair, sang, neige, charbon...
EXCEPTIONS OF EXCEPTIONS: adjectives "rose" and "violet", derived from real-life objects (une rose, une violette), follow the general rule: des robes roses; des sacs violets, une robe violette, des robes violettes.
The (color) adjective "marron" is invariable, that is it does not change with gender and number like most adjectives do: http://www.larousse.com/en/dictionaries/french-english/marron/181367
I found this site helpful: http://french.about.com/od/mistakes/a/ces-ses.htm
From what I understand, ces (these) is specific for the object, and ses (his, her, its) is specific for the owner. I'm not sure how you'd be able to differentiate it from a recording without context, I'm afraid. They are homophones, so there is no difference in sound.
Here is a list of invariable adjectives: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/adjectives_inv.htm And a very colourful chart of the most common colours: http://french.about.com/library/begin/bl_colors.htm I've found french.about.com a big help for grammar questions like that.
Sorry if I sounded rude, I didn't mean to.
You don't understand the rule. The problem is not to know whether it was first a noun or an adjective: since it represents something, it cannot be put in a plural or feminine form. However "rose" and "violet" can be put in a plural or feminine form because they are exceptions to this rule. We could say these words also got a status of adjective, in addition to their status of noun.
We have the same conclusion but your explanation is wrong. They are just exceptions, and you can't explain exceptions. If what you think was right, I could say: "marron" is an adjective in its own right, derived from the name of the fruit: "un marron" (a chestnut), itself derived from italian 'marrone'. But can "marron" agree in gender and number with the noun it goes with? No, it can't.
By the way the sun light spectrum goes far beyong violet otherwise without ultraviolet you wouldn't tan! I guess you meant the visible light spectrum.
What you say doesn't make any sense and your use of "so" is completely absurd. Exceptions don't have logic, by definition. May I repeat the rule: "The colors which represent something in the real world, ie which are also nouns (like marron or orange) do not have a plural form (when they are used as an adjective of course). "Rose" which is a flower and "violet", the masculine form of "violette" which is also a flower SHOULD STICK to this rule. But they don't because they are EXCEPTIONS.
You explained this all very well! Thanks. Just to be perfectly clear though, I CAN say something like:
Les chemises roses
But NOT something like:
Les chemises marrons
Because although both "rose" and "marron" can be nouns, "rose", like "violet" is an exception, while "marron" is not. And also, "violet" is the masculine form of "violette" so if I want to say "The violet (flower)" I would say "Le violette" NOT "Le violet". Correct?
Hi briony. Yours is a fair queston but the "Why" is not possible to answer. However this seems to be the case: Duo will only allow typos in English. In French typos will be marked down. Only lack of/inappropriate use of accents are allowed. Spelling has to be perfect in French and that, though a little harsh, actually seems good practise to me.
In French, color adjectives agree to the gender and number of the noun unless they are also nouns of real-life objects. That is the case here, because "marron" is also the name of a fruit (chestnut). For further info: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/adjectives_inv.htm
"ses" is plural masculine or feminine of "son" (masc) or "sa" (fem), they agree with the object owned (here, chaussures, fem plural).
all of them indicate that the owner can be a man or a woman.
so Duo should accept "his" shoes or "her" shoes as a translation of "ses chaussures".
Son = masculine singular... the form must agree with the object ie: the noun not the subject. If the noun is masculine singular then son must be used regardless of the gender or number of the subject.
Sa = feminine singular....again the form must agree with the noun it modifies.
Ses = masculine/ feminine plural...again it must agree with the noun. It is _ses chaussures_ because chaussures is plural therefore the plural form of son/ sa/ ses is required despite there being only one subject.
Had there been only one shoe..la chaussure... then it would have read sa chaussure even though the subject may have been male.
This sentence could have been translated as Her or His shoes are brown. Sometimes Duo likes to mix the subject form and the object form so that you notice it is the object that determines agreement not the subject.
Absent any context you can choose whatever gender you want when you translate it to English. But in French it has to agree with the noun.
What you have said is exactly what I thought, which is why I was so confused. In English if you don't know if someone is a man or woman you would say "their" eg there was someone standing in the shadows, all I would see was their feet sticking out.so why would my reply of "their shoes are brown" be wrong?
In this case leur/s = their is not used in this sentence. It would be perfectly correct to use such a construction but not if you were translating a sentence that said something else.
This sentence says his/her shoes are brown, not their shoes are brown. It is natural for English speakers to try to deal with what they see as possible gender confusion in French because of the necessity to assign gender to what seems like every word.
In English it is common to use masculine when referring to a situation where gender is unknown. It is so widespread that there are now groups that dedicated to abolishing the practice, with some success. Chairman is now becoming chairperson, fisherman turning into fisher etc. But not because English speakers felt confused when hearing the original phrases and stopped to wonder ..How do I know what gender the person being spoken about really is?.... They (the listeners) dealt with it because either it was clear from the context or it didn't make any difference and they just moved on.
Same with French. Either you know from previous conversation whether it was male of female or it doesn't make any difference. Alternatively, in either language, you can always stop the conversation and ask...Hey, wait a minute it's not clear, I need to know if it was a man or a woman who chaired the meeting....was it a man or a woman who was doing the fishing...was it a man or a woman who was wearing brown shoes.
Otherwise, you just accept what the person is saying. Especially if you are making a best effort to translate what he actually said or wrote without any real need for it to fit into any larger context. His/ her shoes are brown. That's all it says. It could say more but it doesn't. We might prefer that it say more but it doesn't. That's all it needs to say.
I understand what you're saying, however ... Many people now use "their" as a catch-all when they don't know whether it should be "his" or "hers". Grammatically, it isn't accurate but it is common parlance now and doesn't necessarily imply plurality.
In the example we were asked to translate, the gender of the person owning the shoes is not certain - so, to avoid sounding sexist, many people would use "their shoes" implying neutral gender.
Their is a correct usage in English. But their is leur which is not in the original sentence you are being asked to translate. Ses is in the sentence which translates to his/ her/ its.
Son/ sa/ ses do not take their form because of the number or gender of the person/s they refer to. They take the form of the noun they are attached to. Ses refers to only one person whose gender is not known.
The answer to this question is above on this thread
Cut & Paste
There is no difference in hearing but "c'est" is irrelevant in this sentence: would you say "it is shoes are brown" ? Probably not.
The only alternative so "ses" could be "ces" (these/those: demonstrative) because it could also make sense.
- Note: other homophones: sait, s'est
In Haiti French "It is brown" is "Li se Mawon". French changes around the world. Even Arcadian and Louisiana French are different for Brown. We are learning French French and isn't it nice when we have a cup of tea and make things as simple as can be? By the way, You have "Meg_in_Quebec" right there who is on Duo and also learning French language right there in Quebec. Stream her, she is very forthcoming and surely will love to help with the differences. Much love et Bon chance. JJ
Yes Que A. As I posted above, the French language drastically changes around the world where it is used. I am sorry but I have forgotten the guide to Marron vs Brun inFrance's french. I have searched for a site to explain it and failed. Until a more knowledgeable one comes to enlighten you, just stick with Marron for brown while you are in the "PresentTense" lessons.