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Back to "prouesse/prouesses"

PaulC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Back to "prouesse/prouesses"

Cécile has answered a couple of questions on the noun "prouesse" but I don't quite understand the subtlety here. I put "leur prouesse sportive m'impressionne sans cesse" (i.e. in the singular), which I think sounds the same as the plural "leurs prouesses sportives m'impressionnent sans cesse". Cécile said the plural is correct in this case as it referred to both twins, but "leur dynamisme", "leur esprit d'indépendance" and "leur passion" all equally referred to both twins and these were all in the singular. Why is it only their sporting prowess that is plural here? Thanks. 

Asked 4 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Paul,

Just to add to Maarten's comment I will try and make things clearer.

The word 'prouesses' which is rarely in the plural in English unless you are talking of multiples accomplishments (and then doesn't always take the plural -es from what I understand) is slightly different in French.

Originally it would have been used to describe bravery and acts of valiance on a battlefield ----> les prouesses d'un chevalier 

but you would say of this knight 

ce combattant fait preuve de prouesse = this fighter shows prowess/ valor 

describing a quality rather than a specific act.

But you would talk of prouesses technologiques /sportives as there are many.

In that sentence and applied to the children, 'prouesses sportives' refers to several acts of expertise, maybe in different sports so the plural is used unlike for dynamisme and esprit d'indépendance which refer to specific quality applicable to each child so the singular is used.

Hope this helps! 

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Paul - I think this is due to the fact that in French prouesse is usually used in the plural - avoir des prouesses (not dissimilar to the French use of 'efforts' in plural where in English we often use 'effort' in singular). 

You are correct that according to the linked explanation below, it is not 'leurs prouesses' if each twin has only 'prouesse' singular, it can only be 'leurs prouesses' for each twin having 'prouesses' - unless Laura Lawless is incorrect. And as you note, the other examples in the dictation accord with the explanation Lawless has given.

https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/possessive-adjectives-plural-possessions/

Back to "prouesse/prouesses"

Cécile has answered a couple of questions on the noun "prouesse" but I don't quite understand the subtlety here. I put "leur prouesse sportive m'impressionne sans cesse" (i.e. in the singular), which I think sounds the same as the plural "leurs prouesses sportives m'impressionnent sans cesse". Cécile said the plural is correct in this case as it referred to both twins, but "leur dynamisme", "leur esprit d'indépendance" and "leur passion" all equally referred to both twins and these were all in the singular. Why is it only their sporting prowess that is plural here? Thanks. 

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