Plural or singular "leurs"

JimC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Plural or singular "leurs"

Because "gens" is "people" - plural - I put "...les gens qui sortent constamment leurs portables de leurs poches". Is there anything in the pronuncation that I missed that showed it was definitely singular? Or is it a rule in french that you would always say "they took their phone from their pocket" unless they all owned several phones and were taking them out of more than one pocket each? Or...was my answer plausibly a correct hearing?

Asked 6 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Jim, 

Just to add to Maarten's excellent answer, it is simply because all those people would take just one mobile from one pocket in French.

If you had said -

Jacques et Marie ont sorti leurs portables de leurs poches et les ont mis sur leur table J. and M. took out their mobiles from their pockets and put them on their table.

You are then talking about two separate mobiles from two separate pockets and one 'shared' table.

Hope this helps!

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Jim, you are right that the plural adjective ‘leurs’ would indicate that the multiple possessors each have more than one of the possessions following the adjective - plurality being defined by the possession in French.

In speech this makes no difference, so context and likelihood would determine how to transcribe this when listening. Of course in a conversation, clarification is easily sought. 

The multiple combinations of multiple possessors and multiple possessions are tricky to describe concisely and precisely in both English and French !

See ‘The tricky part’ in link

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

Plural or singular "leurs"

Because "gens" is "people" - plural - I put "...les gens qui sortent constamment leurs portables de leurs poches". Is there anything in the pronuncation that I missed that showed it was definitely singular? Or is it a rule in french that you would always say "they took their phone from their pocket" unless they all owned several phones and were taking them out of more than one pocket each? Or...was my answer plausibly a correct hearing?

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