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  5. "Sa couleur est vert pomme."

"Sa couleur est vert pomme."

Translation:Its color is apple green.

December 30, 2012



This is not an appropriate 'phrase' for beginners' French, even if DuoLingo were to get it correct. Might not show up in a four year course in French...


Why should DuoLingo only cover beginner french ? also, the government estimates that 600 hours of french within 6 month should be enough for fluency.... so i really disagree that it should take 4 years before we can see this kind of sentence. yes, the sentence is tricky but 4 years,,,,, o_O ?


because that is mainly the level of those who are going through the exercises, even if they all don't post in the comments sections. If you're that fluent, then you're most likely onto the translating/immersion phase of learning, not trying to figure out placement of adjectives and nouns.

And you're right--it takes far longer than 6 months/600 hours to attain fluency. A child takes how many years of school to attain true fluency without correction in grammar/spelling?


... not to mention those who never make it, in any language!


The thing is, though, most of us are not children. Most of use know at least one other language and understand basic grammar concepts. That is an advantage children don't have (though they have other advantages, in terms of brain elasticity). Ultimately, I don't think one can draw any firm conclusions about how long it should take an adult to become fluent by looking at how long it takes a child to learn their first language, but I suspect it could take less time given the right approach.


In theory, yes it could, but remember also that your ears and palate are "frozen" by the age of @12, so unless you naturally have a very good musical ear, there are sounds that you will never hear properly, hence never be able to reproduce.


Even that seems to be a debatable: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_period_hypothesis

I'd also say that I wouldn't consider native-like pronunciation a necessary condition for fluency, in any case.


My last question, my last heart and a tricky sentence... a very explosive mixture.


Isn't Sa his/her/it? Why is it "his color is apple green" and not "her color is apple green" or "its color is apple green"? I'm pretty sure I've responded to Sa in Duolingo with His/Her interchangeably and this is the first time I've gotten dinged (I wrote "her color is apple green" and was wrong).


I would think that "vert pomme" is not a common color for a human being. Therefore, "its color" is the best choice.

As you have well noticed, French possessive adjectives match the owner in their basic form and agree with the object possessed in gender and number:

Feminine noun: - je mange ma pomme, tu manges ta pomme, il/elle/on mange sa pomme, nous mangeons notre pomme, vous mangez votre pomme, ils/elles mangent leur pomme.

Masculine noun: - je mange mon pain, tu... ton, il/elle/on...son, nous... notre, vous... votre, ils/elles... leur

Plurals, feminine and masculine: - je mange mes fruits, tu... tes, il/elle/on... ses, nous... nos, vous... vos, ils/elles... leurs


Actually in North American English it would be acceptable to refer to a particular color as being her color. It is used to refer to fashion considerations and for people who are concerned about clothing style it is used frequently.

Used that way it means that green or whatever color looks good on her. It could be used when talking about men but is less commonly applied.

Because I thought that was the sense that Duo was using sa coleur I wrote her color which was accepted as correct.


So it seems that once again the caveat with crowd-sourced translation causes the first few to come across this sentence and translate it a different way to get it wrong. And the successive rest get it correct.

I think a big problem is that because duo gives a single sentence out of context, it is confusing to translate. Actual translation depends on context, and the way people think in both the host and target langauges. "His/her colour is apple green" works in English because the language allows you to fill in (what is most likely) the context of referring to a person's choice of favourite colour. However, the same may not be the case in French. Maybe in French, in order to express someone's favourite colour you would need to be more explicit (which you can do in English but it is not always needed): "Sa couleur préférée est vert pomme".


But "his color" is given as the correct answer. So "her color" should definitely be accepted too.

Usually Duolingo is good about including different gender possibilities - I've noticed that "her wife" is accepted as a translation for "sa femme", which is great.


What strikes me as peculiar is "elle est mon ami".


"elle est mon amie, pas la tienne" would be an emphatic version of "c'est mon amie" (she is my friend, not yours).


Right, I meant "mon amie" :)


Hahaha; I translated this as "Her color is green apple" which was accepted...I was so confused as to why such a wacky sentence would be used...the translation shown here "Its color is apple green" makes WAY more sense!


I suppose your sentence could work...maybe she is ill. ;)

Although, I think in English is still sounds slightly better as, "Her color is apple green." Duolingo accepted my translation of, "Its color is green apple," as well.


Thank you, Benjamin. You made me laugh out loud!!


I do not understand why this isn't verte pomme....


"Vert pomme" means "green as an apple", like "rouge framboise" or "bleu ciel" and in these cases, there is no agreement neither in gender nor in numbers (invariable).


Are there many other situations where this is the case, or is it only here?


"blanc cassé", "jaune poussin", "bleu lavande", "marron foncé", "mauve pâle"... how many do you want?


So it looks like, since color is usually a word that goes after the noun and describing it, whenever the color comes first and the noun/adjective combo are describing something else then they don't agree. Would it be appropriate to explain it that way?


So you mean in this chase, it is like an idioms?


"vert pomme" or "rouge cerise" or "bleu canard" or "noir ébène" or "gris souris" or "jaune poussin" are all meant to convey the idea that the colour in question compares with that of the fruit or animal which is used as a reference.

Therefore, no agreement in gender and number.


Another way to explain it is that the color is the thing modified by the noun. The color becomes a noun and the noun becomes an adjective. We do the same in English. Mouse or mousy brown. Lemon yellow. Pitch black. Raspberry red. Etc.


A simile and not a phrase with a noun and an agreing adjective then?


"Therefore, no agreement in gender and number."

Does this mean that the color is by default masculin singulier?


I still don't understand why it's "vert pomme" and not "verte pomme" Is there any method to know when this is going to happen?


It seems like a broken rule at first doesn't it... think of it like this and it might help- you only modify adjectives. In this case 'pomme' is not an adjective, it is a simile. We use adjectives to describe nouns, we use similes to draw comparison to things. So, if it's a 'green something', then green is an adjective describing the noun 'something' and you modify it to the gender of the 'something'.

However, if you want to describe the type of green you can use a simile like they do in this example- 'green like an apple' (apple green for short) or 'green like a frog' etc., 'Apple' and 'Frog' are still nouns and not adjectives and so will never be modified, they are the gender they are and will stay that way. And as it is green that is the thing being referred to (like a noun) it is not modified either, it is the subject, not the adjective.

Hope that makes sense?


Great answer, this is why I love the discussions on the questions here.


People seem to have found your explanation useful, so that's good. However to me it appears you are mixing up parts of speech (nouns, adjectives etc) with figures of speech (similes, metaphors etc).

I would describe the noun green as being modified by the noun adjunct apple. A noun adjunct is a noun that modifies another noun. It can be removed without changing the grammar of the sentence. For this reason vert does not need to agree with pomme as it is the main idea being expressed and could stand by itself in the sentence without the adjunct noun pomme - Sa couleur est vert.



Sorry, no it does not work: "sa couleur est LE vert" or "sa couleur est verte".


Thanks for your reply. In that case I would argue for your first option - "sa couleur est le vert" - and perhaps further argue that this sentence should be changed in duolingo to be "sa couleur est le vert pomme". I don't think it makes sense to use green as an adjective in this sentence because you are identifying the colour as green i.e. matching one noun to another.


But maybe in French you can't say "sa couleur est le vert pomme". Just because a particular grammatical point makes sense or works one way in one language doesn't mean it works the same in another language. Sitesurf was just correcting your sentence "sa couleur est vert", that is a sentence without what in English we would call the noun adjunct, and saying in French it can only be "sa couleur est le vert" or "sa couleur est verte". Your further argument most likely cannot be made since French and English do not work the same way, hence even the grammatical logic does not work the same.



Yes. It is also an adjective. Green is the name of something which qualifies it a noun.

Green is a common color. Green is a noun and also is the subject of the previous sentence. In that sentence, green does not modify anything. Green is a noun. Common is the adjective modifying color.



I gave you a sentence in which green is not only a noun but it is the subject. The only adjective in the sentence is the word common.

Here it is again:

Green is a common color.

Nouns are a part of speech typically denoting a person, place, thing, animal or idea. Green is the name of the idea English speakers use to sum up the total perceived effect of a small portion of the electro-magnetic field when it strikes the human eye.

Green can be a noun or it can be considered an adjective depending on it's function in a sentence. A green apple is the noun apple modified by the noun/adjective green. Apple green is the noun green modified by the noun/adjective apple so as to indicate what shade of the noun green is being discussed.

There are many who believe that nouns which are used to modify other nouns should be a subset of adjectives with their own designation when they modify a noun. That is because they retain some of the attributes of a noun even though they function as an adjective.

In the Duo example, vert pomme has the masculine noun vert being expressed as masculine as one would expect. It also has pomme retaining it's feminine gender noun structure requirement despite modifying a masculine noun.

Check vert out at larousse.com and scroll halfway down the page to the noun section. Their example is vert bouteille/bottle green. The noun green is masculine and the noun bouteille, while functioning as an adjective, retains it feminine structure.

In English, the noun/adjective always comes before the noun it modifies and receives the emphasis when speaking. It is apple green when speaking, not apple green.

All the uses of noun/adjectives I have seen in French place them after the noun they modify but that isn't much to go on since most adjectives come after the noun anyway.

Hopefully, someone versed in French usage can clarify whether or not the French resembles the English language in having a specific placement characteristic, even though such placement would likely be different.


The only sense I can think of in which green is truly a noun is "the village green", the putting green" etc. In this context it is most definitely an adjective. If you remove the word "pomme" from the sentence, it should become obvious: "Sa couleur est verte." "Green is the name of something which qualifies it a noun. " Can you tell me what is its referent i.e. what thing is it the name of? Green is not the subject of the sentence either - that would be "Sa coleur" "Common is the adjective modifying color." ?? I have no idea what you mean by this.


Makes sense, thank you :)


you're welcome!


Thanks for the explanation!


You're welcome. :-)


wow!! It really helped,thanks!! :)


You are welcome!


The question for me was one where I heard the pronunciation and had the write the French I heard. I typed "Ça couleur est vert pomme" which was incorrect. Why? If I wanted to say "that colour is apple green" in French, wouldn't it be "ça couleur est vert pomme"? Or would it have to be "ça couleur est pomme verte"?


"ça" is a pronoun that you cannot use in front of a noun.


So how would you say "That colour is..."


Cette couleur est... = demonstrative adjective, feminine singular.


I think you're wrong here; it seems to me that it would be in this case "cette couleur est vert pomme", becouse "cette" is demonstrative adjective reffering to "couleur", but it is, of course, pronounced completely differently then "sa" or "ca"


Thanks! I was wondering this, too.


So from this sentence, one could not assume the gender of the person? Sa exists only to respect the feminine nature of the apple?


"sa" in this sentence modifies "couleur", which is feminine. You can't assume the gender of the owner because possessive adjectives agree with the thing owned, not with the owner:

  • il a sa couleur; elle a sa couleur; on a sa couleur


Ohhh. OK. So, The translation in English would have been "Her color is green apple if "vert" had been "verte"?

My confusions comes from the gender specific context of the translation.


No, sorry, that does not work either. Let's start again:

1."His color is apple green" means that a given man's favorite color is the green of an apple (no man is supposed to have an apple green color of skin). So the French (wrong in the translation given) would be "Sa couleur est LE vert pomme".

2.In French, when a color is in two words it becomes invariable: "vert" remains unchanged because it is the green of a specific apple. You could also find "vert Nil" (the green of the Nile river).

3.If you are given "sa couleur est vert pomme" to translate into English, you can assume (as I said before, in point 1.) that "sa" does not represent a human owner. Therefore, the only possible translation should be: "its color is apple green".

4.Reminder: possessive adjectives agree in gender and number with the object, not with the owner, so "sa" is feminine because "couleur" is feminine, and "sa couleur" can belong to a man, a woman or an inanimate object (like a flag, in this case).


I've really enjoyed reading through all these comments because OskaLingo's brain works like mine does, and SiteSurf is incredibly patient, and apparently always right. I'm only unclear on one thing: in #4 in this post, you say that "sa" modifies "pomme." Doesn't sa modify couleur?



"Sitesurf is incredibly patient, and apparently always right."

I had noticed the same thing! :) Your observation made me giggle in agreement!


Edit done. Sorry for the mishap!


Thank you so very much. I appreciate you holding my hand through that one.


Absolutely, Sitesurf!


This formation may not make much sense grammatically (it seems only logical that "green" should agree with "apple") but it could be explained phonologically, because often languages develop patterns based entirely on ease of pronunciation.

When "vert" or "verte" is used as an adjective, it usually comes after the noun and the pronunciation of the final "t" is easy. When it comes as a qualifier before the noun and that noun begins with a consonant, the French habits of "liaison" kick in and the final consonant of "verte" is dropped... leaving us with what appears to be a grammatical contradiction.

That's my two cents, coming from a linguistics perspective (which is my field).


The formation makes sense to me grammatically.

Let's start with the simple sentence - Its colour is green. In french - Sa couleur est vert. Two nouns equated using the copula; no need for agreement.

Then we provide more detail by refining the type of green with the use of an adjunct noun - apple. In english we say apple green, in french the word order is around the other way and it is vert pomme. But in both, the adjunct noun apple/pomme is modifying the noun green/vert. Because green is the main idea (and can stand alone) it does not need to agree to anything.



I appreciate your comment, but in this instance, the example of vert/verte does not work so well.

masculine "vert" will always be pronounced VER, whichever its place in the sentence (no liaison needed) feminine "verte" will always be pronounced VERTT, because the presence of the -e feminine mark has to be heard.

in plural, you may find "vert/verte" placed in front of the noun it qualifies, only rarely, since the general rule of placement after the noun should apply.

"vert pomme" is not an exception to that general rule because it means (lit.) "of the green of an apple", where "vert" is not an adjective but a noun.

one last point on liaisons: in the poetical expression "nos vertes années", you should hear [VERTEu-Z-ANé]


This also did not make sense to me at first. However, upon reflection, I think that the logic is that green refers to the color of the gentleman, and apple is the shade of green.


Duolingo is wrong in this exercise; it was reported a long time ago but apparently, we have to live with that mistake.

"sa couleur est LE vert" refers to a human being; it simply means : HIS/HER (favorite) color is green.

"sa couleur est verte / vert foncé / vert pomme" refers to an objet, it means : ITS color is green / dark green / apple green (a shade of green indeed).

I have already explained that issue a number of times "sa couleur est vert pomme" CANNOT translate in "his color is apple green".


I was thinking it meant in the sense that apple green was a good color for that person to wear; does that not work here gramatically, either?


There are at least three contexts in English where you would use his/her and not be talking about someone's favorite color.

  1. You could be talking about an inanimate object that you've gendered, like a ship or car.
  2. You could be taking about a pet, e.g. her (the parrot's) color is apple green.
  3. You could be making a metaphor, say, about how some looked when they got seasick.

Would any of these cases translate into French and give this sentence, thereby justifying Duo's translation?


Whether the 'owner' of the color is a human being, male or female, an animal, or an inanimate object or a conceptual notion, the possessive will be "sa" because "couleur" is feminine.

So, in the case of "her, his or its", for any real or figurative owner, the root possessive will be common to all kinds of 3rd person: son, sa or ses depending on the gender and number of the possession.

Therefore, "sa couleur est vert pomme" can be interpreted as:

  • la couleur du bateau (ship/boat), de la boîte (box), de la voiture (car), de la feuille (leaf/sheet), du drapeau (flag), de l'espoir (hope), de la grenouille (frog), du perroquet (parrot), du passager (passenger), de la femme malade (sick woman)... = sa couleur est vert pomme.


I'm was already clear on the rule about agreement. I was just asking if "sa couleur est vert pomme" could refer to animate owners in cases where you're not talking about favorite colors, but rather about the shade of color they are, which, metaphorically, can even apply to humans (he's so sick, his color is apple green or she's was so starved for oxygen, her color was purple). The second half of your answer seems to imply that it can. So why did you say earlier, "Duolingo is wrong in this exercise" when (I guess) it used to say the correct answers was "His color is apple green"? It seems Duo was right as long as you interpret it like my examples.


"vert pomme" is not a human skin color, whichever sickness they can suffer. So, my answer was theoretical to show you how it would work. Again, for human beings, you would really have to change "vert pomme" for another more suitable color.


i do not understand deference between ca and Sa can someone explain me ?


"ça" is a pronoun, as a familiar abbreviation of "cela" (= that)

  • ça, c'est une clé

"sa" is a possessive adjective, meaning his or her, to be used in front of a feminine noun:

  • il a sa clé, elle a sa clé


thx for explnation


Can it be phrased another way? The first thing I though it said was "Her apple is the color green," but I typed "The color of the apple is green" and got it wrong... Help?



The trick is to identify the noun.

If apple is the noun then it would read Her color is a/the green apple. But the French sentence does not have un or la placed in front of apple. In addition, vert is spelled with masculine form rather than feminine verte indicating it is not modifying pomme. Also it doesn't make much sense in English.

If vert is the noun then it should be in masculine form and pomme becomes the modifier. That makes the translation read Her color is apple green. as compared to neon green etc. This sentence does make sense.


That does make sense... I'll just have to get used to the strange way of phrasing things in French. Merci beaucoup!


This is definitely not an appropriate sentence for early French learning. Very confusing referring to an unknown antecedent, let alone introducing the concept of phrases like "vert pomme" to mean "green like an apple" as opposed to the literal "green apple."


Would "It is green-apple coloured" be an appropriate translation as well?


no, because then the French would be "sa couleur est pomme verte"

the color itself has to be "apple green" (vert pomme) and not "green apple" (pomme verte)


the info says couleur can mean paint but tells me I'm wrong for using it


"this paint is apple green," is actually a far more likely sentence than the real one, I agree. Generally speaking, the top hover definition is the one they want.


Hey dudes 'colour' is acceptable in olde English (i.e. British English).


Color is accepted everywhere they use Microsoft spell check libraries. That is a lot of people. That is especially a lot of people who use English as a second language and accept the offered correction.

Eventually, the u will disappear just as it has in a lot of English words. Just as the double ou has disappeared from almost all English words. The double ou was an artifact of presenting the appearance of an education containing Classic Greek. The original transliteration of Classic Greek contained many double ou constructions. There was a time when all advanced education in the English speaking world assumed a lot of Classic Greek training.

Classic Greek

Humouousness = same as

Humousnes= like

Catholic church spells it humouousness. The communion is humouousness. The wine and the wafer are literally the same as the blood and body of Christ. Consuming the literal blood and body of Christ completely purifies you.

Protestant Church spells it humousness. The communion is humousness. The wine and the wafer are like the blood and body of Christ. You should try to be pure after having consumed something that is similar to the blood and body of Christ.

Many, many, many people have died as a result of the difference between the meaning of the occasional extra ou in original New Testament texts that were written by people for whom Classic Greek was a second language.

However, on Duo I don't think we need to go to war. Everybody can just use their preference since Duo accepts both.


And Canada, Oz, New Zealand etc.


Is there an audial difference between ca and sa? or are we just supposed to guess?


It is not about guessing but about knowing:

  • if you don't confuse "see" and "sea" or "four" and "for", you will not confuse "ça" and "sa":

  • ça = cela = demonstrative pronoun meaning "that thing"

  • sa = possessive adjective (3rd person singular) meaning "his" or "her", to be used in front of a feminine singular noun.


On the other hand, "This color is apple green," is as valid a sentence as "its color is apple green," and arguably less contrived than "his color is apple green." So I would submit that in some cases, the whole "context" excuse isn't enough. Especially as the sentence has no context, meaning that, yes, you have to guess which one they mean.


I agree. In general it is easy to disambiguate "ça" and "sa", however in this case, when only given the verbal prompt, it is not obvious how to disambiguate the two. Sitesurf, any thoughts?


demonstrative pronoun "ça" means that, never in front of a noun

possessive adjective "sa" means his/her/its, in front of a noun


Thanks, that is very helpful :)


It's is gender neutral, when a sentence is gender neutral it defers to the masculine


so, "vert pomme" est une couleur and it can be used for any noun without changing its form?


Yes, it can: une feuille vert pomme / un stylo vert pomme / des tasses vert pomme


Oui, je vois. Merci beaucoup!


is there a difference in pronunciation between "vert" and "verre"? To me, both sound like 'varh'


Both are /vɛʀ/.


I didn't know that nouns could be used as adjectives in French! good to know


Nothing like that in English!

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