Why is it not "les champignons pointent le bout de leurs nez" to make the possessive adjective plural? I have a French spelling guide that shows "reconnaitrais" with an accent circonflex over the first "i". Which is correct?
Dictation exercise B2
So I think the real reason for using the singular here is similar to the following Q&A:
Each mushroom points its own "nose". Just a different way of thinking about things in French compared to English.
Bonjour James / Alan,
Thank you for pointing this out, Alan. I agree with you.
‘le bout de leur nez’:
Alan’s explanation is very good indeed. Well done!
Note also that:
when only one object is “possessed” by a group of possessors:
Ils aiment leur mère = they love their mother
Ils habitent dans leur manoir en été = they live in their manor in the summer
a. when the possessors have each several of the objects:
Les fermiers vendent leurs vaches = the farmers sell their cows
Les poules s’occupent de leurs poussins = hens take care of their chicks
b. when the noun doesn’t have a singular:
Ils ont cassé leurs lunettes = they broke their spectacles
Ils ont ri à leurs dépens = they laughed at their expense
When every single possessor only possesses one object, it can be in the :
a. singular form = the type of each object instead of the collection of objects:
les hirondelles font leur nid dans les granges = sparrows make their nest in stables
les hommes choisissent leur destin = men choose their destiny
b. plural form = the multitude or the varieties of objects:
les hirondelles font leurs nids de ce côté de la maison = sparrows make their nests on this side of the house
les soldats montrent leurs fusils = the soldiers are showing their rifles
2. The circumflex accent is not compulsory anymore (since a 1990 reform) in verbs ending in -aître. Therefore the correct grammatical spelling is without the circumflex accent although it is still acceptable to use it.
I hope this is helpful.
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