Leur - agreement in number/accent in conditional tense

JamesC1Kwiziq community member

Leur - agreement in number/accent in conditional tense

Why is it not "les champignons pointent le bout de leurs nez" to make the possessive adjective plural?  I have a French spelling guide that shows "reconnaitrais" with an accent circonflex over the first "i".  Which is correct?  


Asked 4 weeks ago
AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

So I think the real reason for using the singular here is similar to the following Q&A:

https://french.kwiziq.com/questions/view/ils-sucent-encore-leur-pouce

Each mushroom points its own "nose". Just a different way of thinking about things in French compared to English.

CélineKwiziq team member

Bonjour James / Alan,

Thank you for pointing this out, Alan. I agree with you.

le bout de leur nez’:

Alan’s explanation is very good indeed. Well done!

Note also that:

Singular ‘leur’:

when only one object is “possessed” by a group of possessors:

Ils aiment leur mère = they love their mother

Ils habitent dans leur manoir en été they live in their manor in the summer

 

Plural ‘leurs’:

a. when the possessors have each several of the objects:

Les fermiers vendent leurs vaches the farmers sell their cows

Les poules s’occupent de leurs poussins = hens take care of their chicks

 

b. when the noun doesn’t have a singular:

Ils ont cassé leurs lunettes they broke their spectacles

Ils ont ri à leurs dépens they laughed at their expense

 

When every single possessor only possesses one object, it can be in the :

a. singular form = the type of each object instead of the collection of objects:

les hirondelles font leur nid dans les granges = sparrows make their nest in stables

les hommes choisissent leur destin = men choose their destiny

 

b. plural form = the multitude or the varieties of objects:

les hirondelles font leurs nids de ce côté de la maison = sparrows make their nests on this side of the house

les soldats montrent leurs fusils = the soldiers are showing their rifles

 

2. The circumflex accent is not compulsory anymore (since a 1990 reform) in verbs ending in -aître. Therefore the correct grammatical spelling is without the circumflex accent although it is still acceptable to use it.

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée!

Leur - agreement in number/accent in conditional tense

Why is it not "les champignons pointent le bout de leurs nez" to make the possessive adjective plural?  I have a French spelling guide that shows "reconnaitrais" with an accent circonflex over the first "i".  Which is correct?  


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