Singular adjectives with singular collective nouns in French

N. Hilary (Shamrockhill)C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Singular adjectives with singular collective nouns in French

After reading the page: "Is this English Correct", which I found to be very informative and interesting, I have a question regarding some examples given:

"Tom's family are farmers" and "Tom's family is wealthy."

First of all - what a great example of the ambiguities of this particular grammatical issue! And, I agree that both of the sentences sound correct to my native american ear. 

Given that "la famille" is singular in French, I would assume that the adjectives would also be singular. 

"La famille de Tom est agriculteur." and;

"La famille de Tom est riche."

Both of these phrases sound right to my ear. 

I suggest that adding a few examples such as these to the lesson might be helpful. It would underline how the adjectives are singular in French with the singular noun, even when we might use the plural in English. ("Tom's family are farmers.")

Merci !

Asked 1 month ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

In French, la famille refers to the abstract entity of a family, not to the family members. Therefore, I don't think the sentence La famille de Tom est agriculteur would work. You'd have to say something along the lines of Les membres de la famille de Tom sont agriculteurs.

CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour N. Hilary,

Thank you for your feedback and suggestions. It will be passed on to the French language team. ;-)

"La famille de Tom est agriculteur" is not how you would say it because in French, and as Chris mentioned, you can't say that a family has a job but you say that members of a family do have a job.

In French, you could say the following: 

La famille de Tom est une famille d'agriculteurs

La famille de Tom est dans l'agriculture 

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

Singular adjectives with singular collective nouns in French

After reading the page: "Is this English Correct", which I found to be very informative and interesting, I have a question regarding some examples given:

"Tom's family are farmers" and "Tom's family is wealthy."

First of all - what a great example of the ambiguities of this particular grammatical issue! And, I agree that both of the sentences sound correct to my native american ear. 

Given that "la famille" is singular in French, I would assume that the adjectives would also be singular. 

"La famille de Tom est agriculteur." and;

"La famille de Tom est riche."

Both of these phrases sound right to my ear. 

I suggest that adding a few examples such as these to the lesson might be helpful. It would underline how the adjectives are singular in French with the singular noun, even when we might use the plural in English. ("Tom's family are farmers.")

Merci !

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