Your question: What does "Je voudrais trois douzaines de pommes, s'il vous plaît" mean?
This is confusing me... in English three dozen, means three dozen or 36 but if I am reading this correctly, in French means around 3 dozen or around 36... I have been penalised for saying about 36 and not choosing the 3 dozen which means precisely 36 and should, therefore, be wrong.. or am I missing something?
I think about 36 isn't a plausible answer. If you wanted for instance three dozen eggs you would expect 3 boxes of 12 eggs.
I also think that using apples is not a great example as you don't normally buy fruit by the unit in France, ( that always surprised me when I first came to the UK, when people would buy 2 apples, 1 orange ).
You would buy
une livre de pommes = a pound of apples ( 500g)
un kilo d'oranges = a kilo of oranges ( 1,000g)
In addition to eggs, the things you buy by the dozen are -
snails (escargots), oysters ( huitres), roses, and precise numbers will be expected.
You can buy -
Une demi-douzaine = half a dozen
of those too.
Hope this helps!
Une douzaine can have two meanings in French: a dozen (i.e., exactly 12) or about 12. It depends on the context. However, the other numerals with -aine all mean "about that much".
Une dizaine, etc. -- about 10, etc.Une douzaine -- about 12 / a dozen.
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