Grammar questions

AnneC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Grammar questions

1  nous avions chaussé nos après-skis: I’m guessing this means they were shod in snow boots, but was curious why après-skis is pluralised with an s on the end - nos après-ski was marked wrong. 

2 Les enfants étaient tout excités : I should know, but if the children were girls, would it be tout excitées or does the adjective have to agree with "enfants"? It was a good opportunity to revise the complex rules around "tout" modifying an adjective!

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Anne, 

Interesting questions as usual Anne, and just to add to what has been said -

1. As Maarten said both are accepted nowadays but on a personal level I would use après-skis for the shoes and après-ski for the activities that take place after a day of skiing.

2. You have obviously read the relevant lesson on tout, particularly the case when 'tout' is followed by an adjective, meaning completely.

However, I believe that 'les enfants' in this text is masculine/plural as we don't know the gender of these particular children. In grammar, if you have a mixture of gender we use the grammatical rule , 'le masculin l'emporte toujours sur le féminin'. 

A rule that upsets modern-day women and if you are interested there are a lot of articles written on the subject on the web.

Should the children in question have been only girls you might have used 'les filles' instead to avoid the agreement dilemma.

As Alan says, the noun 'enfant' is 'épicène' (gender-neutral) but the feminine is much rarer than the masculine form.

For other students who might read this question and are interested in knowing more, the lesson you will need is the following one -

Tout/tous/toute/toutes = Everything/all (of them)/whole/completely in French

Bonne Continuation !

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

For your second question, I thought at first that the answer was simple - enfant can be masculine or feminine, so of course the agreement should be with their actual sex. However, it turns out that the gender of enfant is a little complicated and a girl can be described either as un enfant or une enfant. I don't think it can be wrong to make the feminine agreement, but maybe it's also correct not to?

https://dictionnaire.orthodidacte.com/article/genre-enfant

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Anne, 

for the first question, I am not sure if you are questioning the use of plural for the possessive adjective and the use of plural for the possessions, or just the terminal ‘ s ‘ on après-ski ? 

For the first, the number of possessions determines the use of the plural possessive adjective. The ‘we’ referred to each have their own boots - resulting in ‘ nos ‘ as the possessive pronoun. (See Lawless site link if further information wanted on this aspect ).

For the 2nd part, which I think was the point of your question, after the spelling reforms either après-ski or après-skis should be accepted, I think. 

The spelling of ‘après-ski’ was considered invariable previously, but the spelling with a terminal ‘s’ added to give ‘ après-skis ‘ for the plural form, is the reformed spelling recommended by the Académie, and obviously has been ‘fed to the bot’.

See links to Académie Française site for discussion :

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

 https://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais/apr%C3%A8s-ski/4818

 https://dictionnaire.lerobert.com/definition/apres-ski

https://www.dictionnaire-academie.fr/article/A9A2295 

https://www.dictionnaire-academie.fr/annexes/rectifications-orthographe#interr-3

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Cécile,

1. It was Maarten, not me, that discussed après-ski.

2. I think Anne was asking about a hypothetical case where you know that all the children are female. Is it really true that  "le masculin l'emporte toujours sur le féminin" in this situation? You would presumably not refer to them as "ils" for example.

CécileKwiziq team member

Merci Alan, I have altered my answer accordingly.

Grammar questions

1  nous avions chaussé nos après-skis: I’m guessing this means they were shod in snow boots, but was curious why après-skis is pluralised with an s on the end - nos après-ski was marked wrong. 

2 Les enfants étaient tout excités : I should know, but if the children were girls, would it be tout excitées or does the adjective have to agree with "enfants"? It was a good opportunity to revise the complex rules around "tout" modifying an adjective!

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