I really enjoyed this exercise. Maybe I still have a bit of that young child in me, but I found it very useful in learning some of the vocabulary. And, fun, too.
My question: "Les livres etalent leur savoir..."
Since one cannot tell from the dictation if "savoir" is singular or plural, would it be incorrect to write, "Les livres etalent leurs savoirs..."? This was the only mistake that I made, and I hesitated as to whether or not I should use the singular or the plural. I chose the plural, "leurs savoirs" since each book would have its own individual knowledge to show off rather than the books showing off a shared knowledge together.
Maybe both could be correct: "leur savoir" and "leurs savoirs" in this case.
Merci pour votre aide !
Dictation exercise A2
No, it can't be plural. Apart from savoir as a noun (knowledge) existing only in the singular, in French one generally takes the viewpoint of the individual of the group (i.e., singular) and not the group (as you would in English).
Here's another example showing the difference:
Tous les bébés sucent leur pouce. -- All babies suck their thumbs. Note that in English you have the plural (thumbs) as there's more than one Baby. But in French you use the singular (pouce) because each baby only sucks one thumb.
Bonjour N. Hilary,
Thank you for your kind feedback on this exercise! We're glad you enjoyed it that much! It's always nice to get such positive feedback from our users.
Also, Chris is correct here! ;-)
Merci et bonne journée !
Chris et Celine,
Merci a vous deux !
Chris - your explanation and example were really very helpful. I understand the use of the singular with an uncountable noun or a body part, but still wonder about other cases.
Can you clarify these sentences?
"Tous les etudiants lisent leur livre." This would apply when every student has one book to read.
But, if each student has more than one book to read or study in preparation for an exam, would you say:
"Tous les etudiants lisent leurs livres." ?
And, with another example of a countable noun - which is correct:
"Chaque matin, les voisins promenent leurs chiens ensemble."
or "Chaque matin les voisins promenent leur chien ensemble." ?
From your explanation I would understand the second sentence to be the right one.
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Test your French to the CEFR standard