une douzaine = ?

Melody

Kwiziq community member

23 October 2016

3 replies

une douzaine = ?

I looked this up in Larousse online, and Collins Fr/En dictionary online. I was trying to figure out how to say "I want a dozen eggs" instead of "I want about a dozen eggs". --- http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/douzaine/26535 douzaine [duzεn] nom féminin 1. [douze] dozen 2. [environ douze] une douzaine de a dozen, around twelve une douzaine d'escargots a dozen snails une douzaine de pages about ou roughly twelve pages ---------------------------- http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/french-english/dizaine English translation of douzaine douzaine (duzɛn ) Translations feminine noun (= 12) "dozen" " ⇒ une douzaine d'œufs" "a dozen eggs" (= environ 12) une douzaine "a dozen or so" une douzaine de "about twelve", "a dozen or so" une douzaine de personnes "about twelve people" --------------------------------------------------------------- From above: une douzaine d'escargots a dozen snails (Larousse) une douzaine d'œufs a dozen eggs (Collins) (Unfortunate that both items start with vowels, thus d' instead of de. I doubt that makes a difference between "about a dozen" and "a dozen.) -------------------------------------------------------------- Help appreciated her. Thanks.

This relates to:
Une dizaine = Ten or so (approximate numbers) -

Melody

Kwiziq community member

23 October 2016

23/10/16

p.s. It would be nice to be able to preview one's comment. It was a lot clearer b/c of line breaks I put in while typing, and as they appeared before I sent it off- not all mushed together as it appears. (Also, one could have a second look to correct typos: her = here

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

24 October 2016

24/10/16

Bonjour Melody !

The fact is that "une douzaine de" carries exactly the same nuances of meaning as "a dozen" does in English. In some cases, it can mean exactly twelve , and in some other cases it can be more of an estimation.
The difficulty here is that whereas in English you only use "dozen", in French, we have equivalent terms for other quantities (dizaine, quinzaine...).
A way to emphasise the "estimation" sense could be to say "environ une douzaine de", but it would sound redundant, as the approximation is already carried in "douzaine". The context is key here.

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Melody

Kwiziq community member

24 October 2016

24/10/16

Hi Aurelie,
Thanks for the answer. It is very helpful. I'll stop driving myself crazy about this issue!
So many words in French (and in English) depend on context. But not necessarily the same words! I saw that some had asked in the Qs how to know if "son frere" (sorry I can't type accents) meant his brother, or her brother. I've learned enough French to know that the answer to this is one "context is key", as you say.
As to the English use of "dozen', I hadn't thought of it this way, before I read your comment. If say I "I want a dozen eggs", that means "I want exactly a dozen eggs, no more no less."
But reading your comment I thought about me, Melody, saying "There were a dozen people at the meeting". I realized that my meaning would be "There were a dozen people at the meeting, more or less." I would not be saying (=meaning) "There were a dozen people at the meeting, I made an exact count." If I wanted to emphasize the exact number, I would way "There were twelve people at the meeting."

Thanks again, as ever, for your helpful reply.
Melody


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